Car crashes while on duty often result in plenty of pain and suffering, either through injuries or loss, for those involved and their families. Additionally, the organisation faces extra strain with the costs this places on budgets. Yet, there is a way to reduce the number of crashes within an organisation by paying attention to four common roadway hazards and consequently reducing the potential risk.
- Distracted driving
In this two-part series, the first two risks will be addressed: distracted and impaired driving. The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, further explains: “Internationally, this was a topic for great discussion last month as it was distracted driving awareness month. Even with policies against distracted driving and a company culture that forbids it, do not mistakenly believe you are not affected by it. In fact, distracted driving is a leading cause in fatal accidents involving high speeds and in pedestrian or cyclist collisions.
“Distracted driving comes in many forms. The most obvious is texting or talking on the phone but things such as daydreaming, eating and drinking, and talking to passengers also contribute to it. If you do not already have policies against driving while distracted (DWD), this should be your first priority. As part of human nature, employees will break the rules and there is seldom no way to know this until it is too late.”
Consequently, policies should include technology that makes it near impossible for drivers to use their phones. “As for other forms of distracted driving, it’s essential to have continual awareness campaigns on DWD and have firm consequences should an employee be caught breaking this rule.”
- Impaired driving
Internationally, impaired driving is one of the top five causes of accidents within workplaces. “Remember that impaired driving does not only present itself in drunken driving but in the form of illicit drug use and, possibly more concerning, in using over-the-counter or prescription drugs. This makes it infinitely more difficult to manage.
“If you have drivers who are drinking, using prescription medication or even simply medication for colds and flu, you are putting drivers behind the wheel who have reduced reaction times and impaired decision making. They are also at higher risk of falling asleep while driving.”
The first step in preventing this is in education because many drivers will not associate impaired driving with something as seemingly simple as flu medication. “As for those aware of the full spectrum of impaired driving, employers must include policies that address drug testing in employment contracts. This should be a zero-tolerance policy. If caught consuming a substance that will impair driving, the highest action needs to be taken against this individual. Do not forget to have a policy requiring employees to inform managers when they are on medication that can impair their ability to drive.
“Ultimately, prevention starts at the beginning. A driver that will drive after consuming alcohol or drugs is unlikely to change their behaviour irrespective of company policies. This is why proper selection and hiring processes are essential. Include strategies to try identify high-risk individuals from the start, such as drug-testing in initial hiring processes where possible.”
A hard reality to face about accidents is that many of them are preventable. “Address some of the most common causes of crashes within an organisation to take the first step to reduce that which should have been avoided altogether,” says Herbert.