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Promote Defensive Driving

Stay Safe Through Defensive Driving techniques

Have you made safe driving a priority for your employees? If not, you should.

Research shows that more than 100 people are killed or seriously injured each week in car accidents involving drivers using the road for work.

As a contractor, you and your employees spend much of your time on the road traveling from jobsite to jobsite. Promoting safe driving techniques could benefit your business in a number of ways. Read on to learn why you need to make safe driving a priority and how to get started.

Why Safe Driving Is Important to You

Do your employees drive personal or business-owned vehicles for work?
If you and your employees drive personal cars for business use—such as driving to and from jobsites and/or transporting materials—the employer can be held responsible in the case of an accident. Whether you require or just allow employees to drive personal cars, there are several steps you, as an employer, can take to mitigate risk.

Start by purchasing hired and non-owned auto insurance, which covers “bodily injury and property damage caused by a vehicle you hire (including rented or borrowed vehicles) or caused by non-owned vehicles (vehicles owned by others, including vehicles owned by your employees).”

Check out this sample policy for use of a personal vehicle for company business.

Related Resource: Protection for Your Fleet on the Road

Even for business-owned vehicles, your Business Owners Policy (BOP) will likely not include coverage for vehicles, so discuss this with your agent to get covered.

The next step to preventing liability is to implement company policies to minimize the chance for accidents. We’ll cover such policies and programs below.

Help Your Bottom Line

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a massive study in 2014 titled "The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes.” The study found staggering statistics about car accidents that employers should be aware of.

Direct costs of accidents accounted for $277 billion in a single year. This included $93 billion in lost productivity, $76 billion in property damage, $35 billion in medical expenses, and $28 billion in the costs of traffic-related congestion. Taking matters into your own hands to promote safety on the road could help you prevent property damage, medical expenses and lost productivity.

How to Promote Defensive Driving Techniques Internally

Exemplify Defensive Driving Techniques
As the employer and leader, it starts at the top. To create a culture of defensive driving, you must first exemplify it. Exhibit the following behaviors to start the trend:

  • Look ahead, constantly expecting the unexpected.
  • Control your speed, following all road signs.
  • Maintain a safe distance behind other vehicles.
  • Be prepared for actions of other drivers.
  • Adjust your driving to the weather and road conditions.
  • Be alert and distraction free—try to avoid talking, texting or eating while driving.
  • Watch and respect other drivers.
  • Don’t drive tired.

Conduct Defensive Driving Training
Due to the expensive outcomes of accidents to employers, defensive driving training is an option worth considering. Consider one of the two following courses:

  • DMV.org offers an online traffic course that was voted the “Best Traffic School.”
  • DefensiveDriving.com offers a driver safety training specifically for businesses.

Another option is to implement a driving safety policy to eliminate certain distractions that can lead to accidents. Have each employee commit to the following:

  • Drivers cannot use their phone while driving.
  • Drivers must have a valid driver’s license and insurance.
  • Drivers cannot drive under the influence of drugs, alcohol or other substances.
  • Drivers must wear seatbelts.

Related Resource: Protection for Your Fleet on the Road

The benefits of requiring safe driving can bring lasting benefits. Safer drivers are less likely to be in accidents, saving you unnecessary expenses and keeping your employees on the job.