A company that uses vehicles for its business needs should have a driver safety program. This is true whether the company has a fleet of cars or just one employee who regularly drives a personal vehicle for work.
A good program includes periodic insurance verification, MVR checks, and individualized training based on assessing problematic driving behaviors.
It’s Good for Business
Regardless of the industry, fleet drivers are susceptible to occupational injuries and accidents. These incidents can lead to lost productivity and costly downtime for the company. Transportation incidents are the leading cause of workplace fatalities.
A comprehensive driver safety program will help to mitigate these incidents, saving companies money. It will help to reduce costs associated with workers’ compensation claims, insurance premiums, and vehicle maintenance costs, among others. A well-designed and enforced driver safety policy will also show that the company is serious about its employees’ safety, which can help to attract top talent when recruiting new drivers.
Training courses can also help drivers improve their knowledge of defensive driving skills and understand the importance of adherence to traffic rules and regulations. In addition, the best driving safety training should provide photo-realistic examples of unsafe driving situations and the correct response.
Lastly, an effective driver safety program should include a rewards program recognizing drivers for meeting specific milestones and behaviors, such as clean inspections or accident-free miles. This type of program can be particularly beneficial for companies with fleet vehicles, where replacement or repair costs are a significant expense. Tenstreet’s DriveAwards program, for example, enables drivers to track their performance and redeem points for various prizes.
It’s Good for Employees
The cost of a motor vehicle accident can set a company back by a significant amount, and that’s before you factor in lost workdays due to injuries or property damage. A well-planned driver safety program can reduce those costs by decreasing the number of injured employees and reducing the frequency of accidents involving company vehicles.
A good driver safety program will include periodic insurance verification and policy compliance checks. These can help prevent your drivers from driving without proper coverage, which is a common cause of costly negligent entrustment lawsuits. In addition, consider running a system of rewards for safe driving. This is a great way to incentivize safe behavior and increase employee engagement with the program.
The overall driver safety program must have a clear senior management sponsor. This is not necessarily someone who manages the company fleet but should be a board-level individual who feels ultimately responsible for driving safety. This will allow them to prioritize the program in their department and ensure it is seen as a key aspect of the organization’s operation. It will also remove the perception that the program is being imposed on them and make it feel like a natural part of their role.
It’s Good for the Community
Motor vehicle incidents are the leading cause of death and injury on our nation’s highways, and they also result in huge costs for trucking companies. These include medically consulted injuries, lost productivity, vehicle damage, and the cost of administrative expenses.
While many accidents are unavoidable, reducing the number of incidents is possible by implementing a driver safety program. The first step is training your drivers. The initial driver orientation is important but should be followed up with regular refresher courses and requalification. Continuous training helps improve your drivers’ skills, and it shows that your company values their hard work and dedication. This can also help to build rapport and loyalty among your fleet’s drivers.
In addition to driving skills, your drivers will learn to stay current on the latest trucking regulations. This includes new rules around distracted driving, reducing fatigue, and recognizing when they need to take a break. This will help them avoid costly fines, nuclear verdicts, and bad DOT inspections.
However, accidents will still happen even with the best training and policies. A driver safety program should include clear processes for reporting incidents and collisions immediately. This will give you full visibility into your fleet’s driving behaviors, allowing for targeted intervention based on crucial program insights.
It’s Good for You
A well-implemented driver safety program helps your business reduce potential liability risks, lower insurance premiums, and reduce legal claims. It also allows for a longer life for fleet vehicles and service trucks. When drivers are trained and financially rewarded to drive safer, they’re less likely to damage vehicles and hurt themselves while on the job.
A vehicle accident is costly for any company. Still, even a single incident can have long-lasting effects that cost your business in terms of lost workdays, repairing damage to vehicles and equipment, and higher insurance premiums. It can also hurt your reputation in the community, leading to increased customer dissatisfaction and loss of revenue.
One of the most effective preventative measures is implementing a safety program offering individualized training for each employee. These programs start with an assessment that exposes problem-driving behaviors. Then, the best ones deliver safety training customized to those problematic behaviors using realistic photo examples and real-world scenarios. Another way to improve your business is by changing the conversation from “fleet safety” to a more personal discussion about “driver wellness.” This change will help make the driver safety conversation easier for all employees, including commuters and those driving the “grey fleet.” In addition, making the discussion more about the individual than the vehicle can help increase employee buy-in.