Auto crashes – both on and off the job – can have major consequences for employers. Whether it’s time missed from work, the financial costs associated with the crash, or potential liability, the effects can be widespread and can often impact a company’s bottom line. OSHA reports that motor vehicle crashes cost employers $60 billion annually in medical care, legal expenses, property damage and lost productivity.
What can company executives do to ensure their employees and drivers remain safe on the road and mitigate their risk? Taking a proactive approach to driver training will give your staff the skills they need to handle potentially dangerous scenarios.
How Corporate Driver Training Can Help Your Company
Requiring employees to go through a corporate driver training program before they are handed the keys to a company vehicle can benefit your company in several ways, including:
Keeping employees safe. Your staff is the lifeblood of your company and their health and safety should be of paramount concern, especially when they are driving as part of their job duties. Advanced driving skills training saves lives.
Keeping your company running more efficiently. Crashes can cost your company not only money, but also time spent dealing with the aftermath, police reports, paperwork, insurance and possibly even court dates and lawyers. A damaged company vehicle may be out of commission for a while. Injured employees will be out of work for an unknown amount of time. Any crash involving an employee affects the ability of your business to function optimally.
Keeping vehicle maintenance costs low. A damaged car can be expensive to fix and maintain. And of course, the worst-case scenario is when a car in your fleet is completely totaled and a new one will need to be purchased. When drivers are well trained to follow safe driving procedures, the number of yearly crashes declines.
Save on fuel and service costs. Safer driving equals less wear and tear on vehicles, which means fewer repairs and maintenance. And when an employee knows how to drive economically, your fuel costs are reduced as well.
Reduce insurance and/or legal claims. The more crashes that occur, the higher your insurance premiums. And some employees may pursue legal action if they are injured on the job, which can lead to huge headaches and costs for your business. Insurance companies understand the value of driver training and many offer both corporate and employee discounts for those who participate in such programs.
Adopt a Corporate Distracted Driving Policy
In addition to special skills training, it’s recommended practice to have all employees who drive as a function of their job sign a corporate distracted driving policy.
Distracted driving is a nationwide epidemic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2017, over 3,100 people were killed in a crash involving a distracted driver. Distraction-affected crashes caused 9% of the total fatal crashes that year.
What to Include in Your Corporate Distracted Driving Policy
When creating your corporate distracted driving policy, the most important aspect is to ban employees from using handheld cellphones while operating a vehicle. This should include engaging in phone conversations and reading or responding to texts or emails. In fact, any work-related communication should be banned while behind the wheel whether in a corporate or personal vehicle.
The policy should clearly state that if employees need to use their cellphones for any reason, they should pull over to the side of the road or wait until they have arrived at their destination.
Additionally, you should require employees to:
- Turn phones off or on silent mode when they enter the vehicle.
- Adjust voicemail greetings to indicate they are unavailable while driving.
- Inform clients, vendors and other business partners of your distracted driving policy so they understand why phone calls and messages may go unanswered for a period of time.
- Sign and date the policy and keep a copy in the employee’s personnel file.