A careless driving employee can result in a substantial liability claim, particularly if a third party is injured. If one of your drivers is found to have been engaged in distracted driving, any judgment or settlement for a personal injury could easily cost more than $1 million.
While you can hold meetings about the dangers of distracted driving and what your driving employees can do to reduce the chances of crashing, in the end it comes down to trusting that they will do the right thing.
So what can you do? We suggest a holistic approach to the issue.
1. Understand Distracted Driving
Just how bad is the distracted driving problem? In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. But smartphones are not the only source of distraction. Road safety experts say there are three other types of distraction for drivers:
- Manual – This can include looking around for a lost object in the car, reaching under or behind the seat.
- Cognitive – This can include a driver who is lost in thought and not paying full attention to driving.
- Visual – Anything that makes a driver take their eyes off the road, like looking at the GPS or tuning the radio.
All of your training for your driving employees must address all types of distracted driving, and should include scenarios to help them make proper decisions when behind the wheel.
2. Hire Good Drivers
When hiring personnel who drive, consider what their primary responsibility is. For example, if you own a plumbing operation, your drivers are not necessarily going to be professional drivers, since their primary duty is fixing plumbing issues.
If you think any prospect will be driving as part of their job, you should pull their DMV records. Look for anything serious like DUIs or frequent citations for moving violations.
In addition, check their resumes to see whether they were driving as part of any of their prior jobs, and if they have experience driving the same type of vehicle they would be driving for you.
Also ask about any medications the applicant may be taking, as some can affect their driving. Finally, consider requiring candidates that would be driving to take a road test as part of the recruitment process.
3. Coach Current Employees to be Safe Drivers
You should attack this in a three-pronged approach:
- Pull their DMV driving records annually.
- Conduct road tests where they are graded on their driving.
- Hold an annual meeting to go over safe driving policies; reinforce the dangers of distracted driving and stress the need to always focus on the task at hand.
You should also have driving policies in writing that are enforceable and list all the behaviors that are prohibited while driving, like:
- Never answer the phone while driving, even if you have a hands-free device.
- Bar programming a GPS while on the move and require that they pull over when safe to do so.
- Never hold your smartphone in your hand while driving.
Your policy should also specify the consequences and any disciplinary action for breaking the rules.
You should maintain records of these policies. This is of utmost importance if one of your employees is in an accident and accused of negligence. Your policy and proof of training can protect your organization.
4. Take Advantage of Technology
GPS tracking devices in their vehicles allow firms to receive real-time information about a vehicle’s location and rate of speed. This gives you valuable insight into any dangerous habits your drivers may be engaging in.
You can also install technologies that will block cell phone signals while the vehicle is moving.
Produced by Risk Media Solutions on behalf of AmCom Insurance Services. This article is not intended to provide legal advice, but rather perspective on recent regulatory issues, trends and standards affecting insurance, workplace safety, risk management and employee benefits. Please consult your broker or legal counsel for further information on the topics covered herein. Copyright 2018 all rights reserved.