By John Kudor
If your employees drive in order to complete vital job duties, they’re professional drivers. And without the proper training, they’re putting themselves, others, and your company at risk.
According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States. This has cost companies millions of dollars. Worse yet, it’s caused thousands of people to suffer injuries or even lose their lives. It’s not just truck drivers either. These numbers include light-duty, non-CDL vehicle drivers.
Whether your employees drive to a construction site, visit customer homes to spray for pests and rodents, or pickup dry cleaning, they face tremendous risk out on the road. By investing in light-duty vehicle safety training, you can save lives while saving money in the process.
Driving is the most dangerous thing your employees do. Even if you have linemen fixing downed telephone poles, driving is more dangerous because employees are more likely to have an accident while behind the wheel.
The CDC has shared some valuable statistics to back these claims:
- Motor vehicle crashes are the first or second leading cause of death in every major industry group.
- Work-related motor vehicle crashes are not just an issue for truck, bus, or taxi drivers. In 2018, 57% of workers who died in crashes on the job were not employed in motor vehicle operator jobs.
- From 2003 to 2018, nearly 30,000 workers in the US died in a work-related motor vehicle crash.
- In 2018, over 1,000 US workers driving or riding in a motor vehicle on a public road died in a work-related crash (that’s 24% of all work-related deaths).
The fact is, these accidents happen to workers in all types of industries all over the country. It could happen to one of your people any day. Driving should be treated seriously by every company.
The risks don’t stop at the people behind the wheel, though. Companies face tremendous financial risk from their non-CDL drivers. According to the CDC, in 2013 alone, work-related crashes cost employers $25 billion. Companies spent $65,000 per nonfatal injury and $671,000 per fatal accident.
When it comes to an accident, you face the possibility of lost time from workers, rising insurance claims, large fines from court, and a bruised reputation. The costs of accidents are widespread and severe.
If you employ a work truck fleet, chances are accidents are common, costly, and deadly in your industry. The good news is, accidents are entirely preventable. You just need to educate your drivers on safe defensive driving habits.
Effective safety training reduces your drivers’ unsafe behaviors. The less unsafe behaviors, the less chances they have an accident. But, where does one begin with driver safety training? There are two options:
- Make it yourself. Invest time and resources into creating homemade PowerPoints, safety resources, and lectures. This option saves some money upfront, but it takes up a lot of time. Results will vary depending on the effectiveness of your materials.
- Invest in professional safety training. For many companies, the upfront investment in professional safety training is worth it. It saves time and resources, plus it’s guaranteed to reduce accidents and injuries. This means the training will quickly pay for itself and then some.
WHEN TO TRAIN
All of your drivers need safety training—newbies and veterans alike. So, what’s the best way to implement safety training, and when should it happen? It’s important to remember that safety training isn’t a single event. It must be a continual aspect of your company. It allows you to make safety an integral part of your company culture.
That said, one of the best opportunities to implement safety training is when you first hire a new employee. Safety training as part of new-hire training sends the message that being a safe driver is one of the most important job responsibilities. It is recommended that you assign online defensive driving training to new employees directly after orientation.
Have employees take this training on their own and outside of work, but pay them for the time. With new-hire safety training implemented, follow up with re-training and monthly safety meetings. This ensures that your employees will put essential defensive driving practices to use through their entire career with your company.
Whether your drivers are behind the wheel of a big rig, a pickup truck, or a sedan, they face serious risk. Accidents are common, costly, and deadly in nearly all industries. But that doesn’t have to be the case for your company.
Investing in defensive driving training now could save money on insurance premiums, workers’ comp, and court visits later. Most importantly, it could save employees from pain and suffering. By investing in defensive driving training, you’re protecting your bottom line, your employees, and the motoring public.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Kuder is a senior instructional designer at AvatarFleet, the creators of the non-CDL safety training course, The Fleet Safety Course. Find out more, visit www.avatarfleet.com.