Establishing a culture that keeps employees safe on the roads

Reduced prices in gas will likely fuel significant increases in road travel in 2017. More motor vehicles on the road mean a greater possibility of collisions. Businesses with employees who travel as part of their jobs must take necessary steps to ensure their safety.

Transportation-related deaths top the list of workplace fatalities nationwide and abroad. Commercial vehicle crashes accounted for 40 percent of all occupational deaths in 2016.

Proactive steps by employers can help reduce the risk their employees face.

Safety starts with thorough vetting of prospective employees. The most effective policies and cutting-edge training program will not overcome a new hire that is unqualified. Employers must ensure that the person behind the wheel has a valid driver’s license and a safe driving record. Annual reviews are also imperative.

Employees must get to know the car they are driving. Initial training and annual refreshers should emphasize new equipment, safety features, and in-vehicle monitoring systems. Behind-the-wheel instruction is necessary to evaluate skills. Any unsafe behaviors require coaching and the possible remedial driver training.

Vehicles with high safety ratings should be the sole focus in all purchases and sales. Manufacturers’ timeframes should dictate timely inspections and maintenance. The employees who use the car should also follow safety procedures. Employers should also provide emergency supplies should breakdowns or accidents occur.

Have a safe driving policy in place. Educate employees on the use of technology, specifically cell phones used for texting and calling. Encourage the use of seat belts already mandated by almost every state and discourage driving while drowsy or impaired. That includes prescription medication.

Exercise an ounce of prevention. Effective trip planning can limit driving time and reduce the chance of an accident. Determine the best and most efficient way to get to a destination and check for road conditions and closings prior to departure. If driving is unavoidable, workers should provide themselves enough time to get to their destinations.

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