In 2016, over 37,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roadways. That’s roughly a crash every five seconds, an injury every 10 seconds and a death every 12 minutes — and many of these incidents occurred during the workday.
When injuries and deaths occur both on and off the job, it is employers that often pay the price. What can companies do to reduce the number of crashes and motor vehicle-related deaths on the road?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), implementing the right driver training program can significantly reduce the number of employee-involved crashes, ultimately protecting your drivers and your company’s bottom line.
The True Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes
Loss of life is the ultimate and most devastating result of a motor vehicle crash, but it isn’t the only cost. Crashes can also result in life-altering injuries and potential liabilities associated with incidents involving employees who are driving on company business.
Motor vehicle crashes cost U.S. employers some $60 billion annually in medical costs, legal expenses, property damage and overall lost productivity. These incidents also have an impact on insurance premiums and other benefits such as workers’ compensation and disability insurance claims. This can be an especially hard hit to companies who are self-insured.
The average vehicular crash costs an employer around $24,000. If there is an injury, that number can jump to $74,000 and to over $670,000 if a fatality is involved.
The good news is that more often than not, these crashes are preventable. The biggest causes of traffic incidents are blind spots, changing lanes and backing up — all of which can be improved with better training and safer driving habits. By implementing a formal driver safety program, your drivers will learn the skills they need to improve their overall driving habits and lower the risk of liability to your company.
Is Driver Safety Training Worth it?
Absolutely! Driver training shouldn’t be considered a “nice to have.” It is every bit as critical to your company’s reputation and overall success as customer service and the maintenance of your company vehicles.
There is a strong connection between compliance and the bottom line, and driver safety and compliance is everyone’s responsibility. Ensuring that your drivers know the rules of the road and have the proper behind-the-wheel training they need to improve their driving habits is absolutely mission critical.
Not only does training keep your fleet and company in compliance in an increasingly complex regulatory environment, it also helps drivers to understand and mitigate the vulnerabilities that can put your company at risk.
Advanced, behind-the-wheel driver training ensures your drivers are up to date on all certifications and training, while also teaching them to drive more defensively. By being able to anticipate the actions of other drivers on the road, your drivers can avoid situations that could cause a crash or make you as their employer more vulnerable to a lawsuit.
This type of training can also help to ensure that your company maintains its status as a High Reliability Organization (HRO). Safe drivers have the ability to avoid catastrophes in environments where normal accidents are commonplace because of increased risk factors.
Additionally, driver training also results in better fuel economy and lower overall maintenance costs. Drivers learn to position themselves better in traffic, stopping and starting less often and causing less wear and tear on company vehicles.
Choosing a Driver Training Program That Works
Driver training is critical for every fleet, but not every training program is created equal. On-road, behind-the-wheel training is much more effective than online or classroom training alone because it allows drivers to learn from real-world conditions and scenarios with the constant reinforcement of a certified instructor.
Drivers benefit from having an instructor observe their strengths and weaknesses and correct their driving habits in real time.
Drivers should always be looking ahead, assessing the situation on the road in front of them and anticipating the movements of other drivers. With the right training, drivers can learn to see traffic differently and position themselves in a way that gives them more time to think and make the right decisions.
For the best results, choose a driver training program that combines behind-the-wheel instruction with classroom training based on simple, straightforward concepts that are easy to understand, remember and apply. Also look for a company and instructors that have experience working with commercial drivers and understand the unique set of challenges faced by today’s fleets.
The right driver training program can help your drivers learn the skills they need to make safe driving an everyday habit.
Are you ready for a world-class driver training program that gets real results? To learn more about how the Smith5Keys can help improve driver safety and lower risk with your fleet, contact our team of experts today.