3 Ways to Take Employee Defensive Driving to the Next Level and Beyond

September 7, 2016 Dave Anderson

Am I a safe driver? if not, please call__
As an employer, how do you keep your employees and fleet of vehicles safe on the road? Shockingly, someone dies in a vehicle crash every 12 minutes, and every 10 seconds someone is injured in a car-related accident. And, every 5 seconds, there is a crash involving a driver, passenger or pedestrian on our roads.

It's no secret defensive driving and safe driving go hand in hand when it comes to employee safety. Additionally, employers generally bear the costs of injuries and more. In fact, employers pay out $60 billion annually in loss of productivity, medical expenses, legal fees and property damage. However, employers can take action. From defensive driving to critical maintenance, these are the safety tips you should be following.


Driving Defensively


Do you have a clear understanding of what it means to drive defensively? Do your employees know what it means to drive defensively on the open road? Members of your workforce should always have a defensive-driving mindset each time they get behind the wheel. Habits like checking on driving conditions before heading out, keeping a safe following distance, activating low-beam headlights during the day, and simply avoiding driving during inclement weather are all examples of defensive driving.

Defensive driving, however, should not be mistaken for aggressive driving, which includes tailgating, speeding, passing on the shoulder, honking and even making rude gestures. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to keep your workforce and others on the road safe. You can do this by encouraging your drivers to be patient, move out of another aggressive driver’s path, and even accept tardiness or lateness when driving conditions on major thoroughfares and highways are beyond their control.


Reward Safe-Driving Habits


No cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle
Creating an employee safe-driving program will not only reduce injuries caused by vehicle accidents, but it can also save the lives of people who make up your workforce. Teaching your employees safe-driving habits and then rewarding safe-driving behavior can help both your company and your employees.

In-vehicle notifications that remind drivers about company smoking and cell phone policies can also keep them safe behind the wheel. Additionally, you may want to consider placing vehicle bumper stickers, which have your company's contact information, on your vehicle fleet so other motorists can report any unsafe or unruly on-the-road behavior. To increase employee engagement, make sure to reward good reports and any positive feedback you might receive about your workforce.


Perform Routine Maintenance


What goes on under the hood plays a big role in drivers' on-the-job safety, and performing maintenance is a crucial element toward achieving and maintaining that standard. With that in mind, make sure your fleet of vehicles undergoes routine inspections, including oil changes and tire rotations, all of which is dependent on how often these vehicles are driven.

Additionally, Consumer Reports cites a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, indicating worn and under-inflated tires increase the likelihood of car crashes by 25 percent or more. To lessen that statistic, buy highly rated tires and have them routinely checked and rotated. This simple act could potentially save lives.


Conduct Regular Driver Safety Training


The National Safety Council reports the most dangerous part of an employee’s workday is when they are on the road. That's why the National Safety Council has created a driver’s safety curriculum, which includes online defensive-driving courses that are NSC-certified and taught using proven and researched-based methods. These standardized course exams are offered across the country and are regularly updated to reflect the most current behavioral and traffic data. In fact, Don J. Frazer of OmniTrans cites this training as having set a high standard, allowing his company to reach an all-time low accident rate of 0.74 per 100,000 miles.

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