How many of you have been impacted as a result of a motor vehicle incident that affected you, or a family member, or a work associate? A look at National Safety Council data for 2010 shows 3,783 job related fatalities compared to 17,500 vehicle related fatalities; we are about five times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle than at work. This same database indicates the medical consulted injury rate on the job is 3.3 vs. a 6.4 rate for vehicles. This all leads to a conclusion that driving is a high risk, high exposure task that our employees and their families face every day.
Our lifestyles, with the increase in social interaction as well as other distractions/impairments to driving, lead to even more risks, such as the following reductions in driver’s reaction time:
- Texting – 35 percent reduction
- Cell phones – 18 percent reduction
- Fatigue after 18-20 hours awake – 14 percent reduction
- Alcohol at the legal limit – 12 percent reduction
These issues not only affect us, but also the other drivers on the road who are outside our personal control. This kind of data has been a real motivator for over the road trucking companies to become very serious about preparing drivers for their most dangerous activity – being in control of a vehicle. It also became a focal point for one of our customers to analyze its employee on-the-job and off-the-job vehicle risks. This in turn led this organization to develop a driver safety program for all employees, replacing the previous standard of special training and accountabilities for those who annually drove 2,000 miles or more in a company vehicle.
The small continuous improvement PVI (Preventable Vehicle Incidents) team dedicated to vehicle safety came up with the following:
- A circle check to insure the fitness of the vehicle with mandatory magnets one on each side of vehicle (one has the Journey Management Tool on it)
- A journey management tool (pre drive personal tailboard) question system that evaluates the fitness of the driver for the upcoming drive
- Full defensive driver training for all drivers – not just those with > 3,600 km/yr behind the wheel company drive time
- Annual driver refresher training for all employees
Is it time for you to consider something similar for your employees?