Drunk driving has long posed a hazard to roadways throughout the country. When we hear the term “impaired driving”, alcohol tends to be the first substance that comes to mind, as everyone is very familiar with the phrase “Don’t Drink and Drive.” However, more recently, drugged driving is becoming an increasing problem. In fact, according to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) results of interviewees age 12 and older, 10 million people reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs.

If your company oversees a fleet of vehicles or employs a mobile sales force, implementing a corporate driver training program is vital.  These programs can save the lives of your employees, but they can also protect your company’s financial resources and guard you against liabilities associated with any accidents due to any sort of impaired driving.

Drugged Driving Facts

According to crash statistics from the Ohio Department of Transportation, drugged driving crashes have increased by 25 percent over the last four years. You may have noticed new drugged driving statistics posted on highway signs across the state; these signs were designed to raise awareness about the growing problem here in Ohio. 130 of these electronic message boards have been implemented across the state to date.

In 2016, there have been over 3,500 drugged driving crashes, a number that equals around 33 percent of all impaired driving crashes. Around 4,000 drivers are killed each year with drugs in their systems. While ODOT doesn’t have a complete breakdown of the types of drugs are involved in these fatal crashes, knowing that drugs or a combination of drugs caused around one-third of all impaired driving crashes is enough to realize that action must be taken.

The difficulty with drugged driving is that it can be more difficult for law enforcement to recognize. Drunk drivers are generally easy to spot, but someone under the influence of drugs may display much less obvious signs and symptoms.

Talking to Employees about Impaired Driving

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, and you know your employees will be out and about celebrating the season with friends and family.  Encourage them to make smart decisions while they are out celebrating. If your employees are driving a vehicle impaired in any way, they are putting not only their own lives at risk, but all those sharing the roadways with them. Have a conversation about the recent drug epidemic.

You should also consider implementing a corporate driver training program to educate them about safe driving techniques they might have little to no knowledge of – a lot may have changed since they first obtained their driver’s license!

It’s vital that employers implement these types of programs within their organizations, including addressing impaired driving.

The costs of setting up these programs can be minimal when you compare the cost an accident will incur to your company. Create a clear and concise policy regarding driver safety and communicate it to all employees.

When it comes to a policy regarding alcohol and/or drug use and working, OSHA provides a sample statement to implement company-wide, which says:

“(Name of Company/Organization) has a vital interest in maintaining safe, healthy, and efficient working conditions for its employees. Therefore, the consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs by any employee during “duty hours” is prohibited. Duty hours consist of all working hours, including break periods and on-call periods, whether on or off company premises. The consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs while performing company business or while in a company facility is prohibited.”

This can be the first step in talking to employees about working while impaired, and these rules should of course apply to employees who drive as part of their job.

There’s no time like the present to consider implementing a driving program for your employees.  Drive Team offers corporate driver training courses to teach your employees how to be responsible, safe drivers throughout the year. Leave us a comment below or tweet us @DriveTeamInc to let us know what types of programs have worked for your company.