Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From 2003 through 2017, more than 27,000 people lost their lives in a crash while on the job—approximately 1,800 per year.

And that’s not all. Work-related vehicle crashes also cost employers more than $60 billion per year.

Help employees stay safe behind the wheel

Now is a good time to address traffic safety with your employees—especially those who drive as part of their employment. The first full work week of October is set aside as Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW), sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS). It’s a reminder to promote safe driving with your employees.

NETS numerous resources help promote safe driving. Resources include fact sheets, job aids, posters, and presentations.

Developing safe driving policies for your company and providing awareness training to your employees can help improve the safety of employees, their families, and the community by preventing traffic crashes that occur both on and off the job.

Some things you can do right away

  • Enforce the use of seat belts. Reducing the risk of death by 45 percent, seat belts also cut the risk of serious injury by 50 percent.
  • Prohibit the use of handheld devices. Cell phone use is the top distraction while driving. California law does allow the use of hands-free systems to make calls. Be sure your employees are aware of California’s latest cell phone law that took effect in 2017.
  • Maintenance. Make sure your vehicles are on a regular maintenance plan to ensure that they are in proper working order. Provide employees with a check-out sheet to document damage, low tires, or other problems that may occur during use.

Provide safe driver training

Provide training for all new employees, as well as refresher training for current employees. Topics to cover include:

  • Driving distractions: In addition to cell phone use, changing radio stations, GPS use, eating, and grooming all take the driver’s attention away from the road.
  • Obeying traffic laws: Follow speed limits, traffic signs, and signals. Be aware of surroundings when passing other motorists. Remember to yield when you don’t have the right-of-way.
  • Defensive Driving: Plan ahead, keep a safe distance, scan for hazards, be prepared to react, and respect other motorists.
  • Fatigue driving: Be well rested and in the appropriate mindset to drive.
  • Tailgating: Leave a three-second cushion between your car and the vehicle you are behind.
  • Driving in extreme weather conditions: Slow down and allow more time to reach your destination in the rain, fog, and snow—especially since winter is just around the corner.

Your employees represent your workplace when they are driving on the job. Help them put the best foot forward by making sure they have the tools, training, and well-maintained vehicles they need to stay safe on the road. You can’t always be with them on the road, but you can take steps to make sure they are safe, any time of the year.

The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for medical advice or legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.