Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S. with more than 29,000 workers in the U.S. dying in a work-related motor vehicle crash between 2003 – 2018. And even when crashes (thankfully) aren’t fatal, there are still the attendant costs to employers. In 2013 alone, work-related crashes cost employers $25 billion.
It’s Not Just a Trucker Issue
Work-related MVCs are not just an issue for truck, bus, or taxi drivers. 57% of workers who died in MVCs in 2018 were not employed in motor vehicle operator jobs but were driving on the job in some other capacity. Crashes are an issue in all industries, not just the transportation sector.
Your employees are your most valuable asset, and employers have an obligation to protect their employees and others with whom they’re sharing the road. When your company utilizes cars, vans or trucks driven by employees on a regular basis, it’s vital to provide training and guidelines for the safe operation of these vehicles.
Hands-on driver training by professionals is the first step in making sure your employees are confident, safe drivers. You can also greatly reduce the chances of your staff getting in a crash by enacting a clear and mandatory driving policy.
Why Create a Corporate Driving Policy?
The statistics on work-related crashes offer plenty of compelling reasons to enforce a driving policy with your employees. And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) even requires that employers ban texting while driving. Many states, Ohio included, have already made texting while driving illegal, period. However, it’s still recommended to formalize rules such as no texting and other best practices with your workers.
A driving policy or vehicle use agreement is a great way to reiterate driving safety protocols for staff and enumerate the disciplinary actions that will result from non-compliance.
Some items to include in your corporate driving policy:
Personal Use Terms
Spell out your policy on taking the vehicle anywhere outside of driving to and from work sites, like to and from home, out-of-town conferences, lunch meetings, etc.
Logging / Documentation Requirements
Delineate any mileage logging, maintenance checks, expense logging or other documentation the driver needs to adhere to, and reporting procedures.
Here is a sampling of the types of rules you may want to include in your corporate driving policy:
- Obey all traffic laws.
- Do not use foul language or rude gestures towards other drivers.
- Check gas, tire pressure, and fluid levels before you begin driving for the day.
- Report any damage or problems with your vehicle immediately.
- Any changes to your driving privileges, such as driver’s license suspension, must be reported to management immediately.
- Always keep vehicle locked.
- Use of alcohol, drugs or medication that affects your driving ability before or while driving is absolutely prohibited.
- Do not drive while overly fatigued.
- Smoking in company vehicles is prohibited.
- Do not use a phone or text while driving.
- No eating while driving.
- No pets or unauthorized passengers allowed in company vehicles.
- Do not allow unauthorized drivers to use a company vehicle.
On Cell Phones
When it comes to cell phone use, you may want to have a section specifically devoted to a detailed phone use policy. Some extra rules you may want to include:
- Put phone on ‘do-not disturb’ or silent mode when you enter the vehicle, unless you will be using the GPS navigation on your phone.
- If you must use the phone, pull off to the side of the road while talking, texting or using other apps. Return to driving only when you have finished using your phone.
- Adjust voicemail greetings to indicate that you may be unavailable while driving. Make clients, vendors and other business partners aware of your driving policy so they have an understanding of why phone calls and messages may go unanswered for a period of time.
(You might be worried that banning cell phones will affect your employees’ productivity, but the National Safety Council (NSC) states that most employers who have created such policies have seen no reduction in productivity; in fact, many companies have reported that productivity has actually improved.)
Have a clear written policy on what the employee is to do in case of a crash. This should include who they should contact first, what to communicate with other passengers or drivers involved in the crash regarding the company and insurance, and so on.
Explain what actions may be taken if it is discovered that the employee has broken the stated driving rules. Have the employee sign and date that they have read and understood the policy.