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Keep your workplace drivers safe

June 7, 2018

By Susan Chance, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Did you know that except for December, the summer months are more dangerous than winter months for driving?  Many organizations have employees that drive as part of their job, so it’s important to keep them educated and safe on the road.

Every 12 minutes someone dies in a motor vehicle crash, every 10 seconds an injury occurs, and every 5 seconds a crash occurs. Many of these incidents occur during the workday or during the commute to and from work. The average automotive crash costs an employer $16,500. When a worker has an on-the-job crash that results in an injury, the cost to their employer is $74,000. Costs can exceed $500,000 when a fatality is involved.

Whether your organization has a fleet of vehicles, employs a mobile sales force, or employs commuters, implementing a driver safety program can greatly reduce the risks faced by your employees and their families while protecting your company’s bottom line.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), after a 24-year study of driving accidents:
 

  • In descending order, August, July, October, June, September, and May are the months with the most traffic fatalities.
  • December is the next highest, and the only winter month on the list of six most deadly months.
  • The summer months of June, July, and August have 29% more deaths than the winter months of December, January, and February.
  • Summer driving leads to 20% more miles driven than winter months.

While these are often referred to as “accidents,” 94% of serious accidents are linked to poor “human choices” according to the NHTSA. What are these poor choices? According to the 2016 national data:
 

  • Distraction-related deaths (3,450 fatalities) decreased by 2.2%
  • Drowsy-driving deaths (803 fatalities) decreased by 3.5%
  • Drunk-driving deaths (10,497 fatalities) increased by 1.7%
  • Speeding-related deaths (10,111 fatalities) increased by 4%
  • Unbelted deaths (10,428 fatalities) increased by 4.6%
  • Motorcyclist deaths (5,286 fatalities – the largest number of motorcyclist fatalities since 2008) increased by 5.1%
  • Pedestrian deaths (5,987 fatalities – the highest number since 1990) increased by 9.0%
  • Bicyclist deaths (840 fatalities – the highest number since 1991) increased by 1.3%

If you have employees that drive during work hours for work reasons, remind them to be safe with the following tips:
 

  • Don’t text and drive. Many people have a false sense of security if they haven’t been in an accident. Inform your employees that they are not to check email while driving and that if they are on the road you will not expect an immediate response from them.
  • Wear a seatbelt. Seatbelt use is a law in Michigan and buckling up can save your life. More than half of people ages 13-44 who didn’t use their seatbelt died in crashes in 2015.
  • Check tire pressure.  Check your tire pressure as blowouts are more likely in the hotter weather.
  • Be aware. Watch out for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians as these types of traffic are at a higher volume in the summer months.
  • Plan your route.  Reduce stress by planning your route ahead of, allowing plenty of travel time, and avoiding crowded roadways and busy driving times.
  • Get your sleep.  Be well-rested before driving.  Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
  • Don’t over do it.  Set a realistic goal for the number of miles that you can drive safely each day.

According to OSHA, motor vehicle crashes cost employers $60 billion annually in medical care, legal expenses, property damage, and lost productivity.  Instilling safe driver policies can keep your employees safe and save your organization from costly accidents.  For more information on how to create a workplace driver safety program, visit https://www.osha.gov/Publications/motor_vehicle_guide.html.

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