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According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, transportation incidents are the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the U.S. Additionally, recent data from the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety found that U.S. traffic crashes cost employers over $72 billion annually, demonstrating that drivers can create major liabilities for a company.

Companies must take steps to ensure their employees are operating as safely as possible while driving. Doing so can not only help prevent injuries and property damage but it can also help organizations reduce the risk of facing liability claims and improve the company’s public image by demonstrating a commitment to roadway safety.

Happy truck driver with backpack and water bottle in front of his vehicle on parking lot.
1. Assess risks

Each company has unique risks, depending on its size, location, and industry. Regular risk assessments can help businesses identify their exposures related to motor vehicles.

2. Understand who is a company driver

Individuals considered company drivers for business purposes include those hired with the primary purpose of driving and who operate a vehicle, including rental and personal vehicles, on behalf of the business.

3. Maintain written policies

Understandable and enforceable motor vehicle safety policies that are regularly communicated can help convey a business’s expectations and standards. Topics to consider covering include driver eligibility requirements, safety expectations, disciplinary procedures, and seat belt use.

4. Vet drivers

Businesses should conduct background checks and evaluate motor vehicle records before hiring drivers. They should also verify work histories and certifications and ensure the prospective drivers pass written and road tests before driving for the company.

5. Train drivers

Businesses should provide in-depth training to their drivers regarding the safe operation of motor vehicles. Topics may include defensive driving, proper use of safety features, weather monitoring, trip planning, and accident response.

6. Promote healthy, restful lifestyles

Good health is an essential component of safe driving. Businesses should educate drivers on how physical and mental health conditions may affect their driving performance. They should also provide resources to address these issues.

7. Monitor drivers

It’s crucial to have systems in place to review driver performance. Businesses should review all accidents, incidents, and roadside inspection reports, along with occasionally riding alongside drivers to assess habits. If unsafe drivers are identified, businesses should have procedures in place to remove them from the road.

8. Maintain vehicles

Businesses should ensure their vehicles are properly maintained. Regular inspections by certified mechanics are necessary, and procedures to immediately address safety issues are paramount to reducing risks.

9. Provide incentives

It is advised to provide safe driving incentives to individuals who adhere to the company’s safe driving guidelines. Bonuses, additional paid time off, and public recognition can provide positive reinforcement and encourage exemplary conduct.

10. Ensure companywide buy-in

Involvement from all levels of an organization is necessary to help ensure a program’s success. Senior managers can demonstrate their commitment to safe driving by ensuring adequate resources are available, setting a good example  when driving themselves and regularly communicating safety expectations.

Reduce your risk with safe drivers

Employers have a duty to ensure safe working conditions for their employees and ensuring steps are in place to foster safe driving is essential to achieving this objective. Implementing measures to create a culture of safe driving can not only help prevent injuries and fatalities to those on the road, but it can also mitigate liabilities a business may face.