impaired drivingAccording to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), every 12 minutes someone dies in a vehicle crash – the majority of which occur during the normal workday commute.  Motor vehicle crashes can cost companies $60 billion annually in legal expenses, medical care, property damage and lost productivity.  Most of these crashes are preventable; especially if an accident occurs while a driver is under the influence.

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 the accidents.

Impaired Driving Facts

Most of the motor vehicle crashes that occur are preventable, especially if an accident occurs while a driver is under the influence. The National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2013, one in three highway deaths was the result of alcohol-impaired driving.

Statewide, new strategies are continually being implemented in an attempt to reduce or prevent impaired driving. Drunk driving laws vary by state, but nationwide it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration at or above .08%. Also, sobriety checkpoints in high traffic areas allow police to randomly screen drivers to see if they are driving under the influence.

An alcohol level as low as .02% can make it more difficult for an individual to use reason and caution, or to respond appropriately to his or her surroundings. Impaired drivers tend to have shorter attention spans and can become easily distracted.

Plus, reaction time can become severely impacted when under the influence, causing drivers to not be able stop in time should the car in front of them brake suddenly or a child run out in the road.

Talking to Employees about Impaired Driving

Sharing some of these impaired driving facts with your employees is an important step in making them aware of the problem.  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.

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 has 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.  DriveTeam 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.