Part 1 in a Series About the Importance of Driver Safety.
When your drivers are on the road in your vehicles, they are the public face of your company. Every action they take has the potential to cost the enterprise dearly if their behavior results in a moment capturable by today’s citizen journalists, social media mavens, or others. And then there’s the worst possible outcome: an accident. It’s no coincidence that many personal injury attorneys, aware that there are 114,000 large truck accidents a year resulting in injuries, have begun specializing in accidents involving commercial vehicles.
Companies, understandably, take their safety programs so seriously, and they increasingly rely on dashboard cameras to monitor their drivers and their telematics platforms to send alerts and share their stack-ranked safety scores to keep drivers focused on safety.
But while most safety programs correctly focus on the importance to the company of drivers being safe on the road, the drivers themselves also can face significant consequences if they don’t prioritize safety.
A High Personal Price
Even though they may be driving company-owned vehicles, drivers can pay a high personal price if they don’t drive safely. An accident or moving violation can result in them accumulating points on their driver’s license, putting them at risk of their license being suspended. Consequently, an accident or moving violation in a company vehicle can also increase what they pay to insure their own personal vehicles.
Then there is the potential impact on the driver’s career. Depending upon the nature, severity, and number of incidents, whether they are accidents or violations, the driver could be subject to termination, in which case they may have difficulty finding another job. If their safety transgressions are especially serious or numerous, they may not be able to find employment as a driver at all.
Using Driver Risks to Promote Safety
The companies that are the most successful at promoting driver safety understand that safety is as much about fostering an organization-wide safety culture – modeled by everyone from the CEO on down – as it is about the safe behavior of drivers. A comprehensive safety program is a major driver of that culture.
A safety program will encompass multiple activities and initiatives, ranging from training to coaching to tracking and communicating driver safety scores to reinforcing safety during team meetings and safety huddles. These all add up to safety being part of daily conversations and keeping safety front of mind for drivers.
Of all the safety information drivers need to know, perhaps none is as compelling as the risks – and potential personal costs – to their own bank accounts and careers if they are dismissive of safety.
It’s a smart move to regularly remind drivers of their own personal responsibility to be safe and that the unsafe operation of company vehicles can very much impact their lives and livelihood outside of work.
That information should get their attention – and help motivate them to be safer drivers.