Did you know that according to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the number 1 cause of work-related deaths in the US? Unfortunately, rates of distracted driving and subsequent accidents and fatalities have risen over the last few years. The National Safety Council reports that work-related motor vehicle crashes accounted for more than 40,000 deaths in 2016 alone, an increase of 14% from 2014. This change is the largest recorded increase seen in over 50 years — making it imperative for employers to get serious about driver safety.
In our first Distracted Driving blog, we outlined some tips that everyone can follow to drive safer and smarter. Here are a few tips specifically for business owners to help keep your employees safe on the road.
1. Talk about the dangers of distracted driving
Just as you talk about workplace safety and cyber risks, distracted driving should be a topic you discuss with your employees. While distractions from devices like cell phones, laptops, and navigation systems should be a major focus, make sure to go over all sources of distraction. You may see that some of your employees engage in dangerous driving behaviors without even realizing it. For example, employees on the road may try to save time by eating on the go, but eating while driving is another example of distracted driving. Similarly, employees who drive for work are more likely to be preoccupied thinking about work while driving. This action of being ‘lost in thought’ is yet another example of a cognitive distraction.
Learn more about cognitive, manual, and visual distractions in our first distracted driving blog.
2. Create a safe driving policy
You likely already have some sort of driving contract for your employees, but you should make sure it includes restrictions on distracted driving. The level to which you ban distractions is up to you, but more and more businesses are choosing to enforce a total cell phone ban, which covers both handheld and hands-free devices. Your safe driving policy should apply to all employees who are driving for your business, whether they are driving a company vehicle or their own personal vehicle.
As you create or modify these policies, take the time to assess other company rules to make sure they aren’t interfering with your safe driving policies. For example, if you require employees to check in periodically throughout the day while they are on the road, make sure they understand they shouldn’t be doing this while driving.
3. Be consistent
When it comes to enforcing a safe driving policy, it’s important to lead by example. Make sure managers and other higher level employees are adhering to safe driving policies themselves, while also making sure all employees are following them. If you realize that distracted driving is a problem for specific employees, make sure to address this with them directly. Talk about the dangers of distracted driving, along with the expectations your business has for all employees.
We know that employee safety is a priority for you as a business owner, and hope these tips help keep your employees safe, no matter where they are. If you have more questions, you can always reach out to a Bearingstar Insurance agent — visit our website or give us a call today!Back to Blog
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