Driver safety. This is a topic that’s keeping hard hat managers awake at night and for a good reason. The number of accidents and the costs involved with unsafe driving are increasing in the workplace and on the road. These mishaps can eat away at a company’s profitability.
For example, a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that workplace deaths have increased by 7% between 2015 and 2016, with traffic accidents being the main cause. In fact, nearly 40 % of all workplace deaths were the result of motor vehicle accidents.
This is an ominous trend for hard hat companies as it only takes a single fatality to dramatically cut company profitability dramatically. An increase in profitability is an important reason why hard hat managers are making driver safety a crucial issue to focus on.
These managers are looking for any way they can to reduce the number of workers mishaps, especially vehicle incidents. Many hard hat managers are finding software technology an important method of improving driver safety training.
The Rising Cost of Road Safety Accidents
According to a recent study by Motus, vehicle management and reimbursement platform, motor vehicle accidents cost employers nearly $57 billion in 2017. The report also indicates that 40% of all accidents are work-related.
What’s more, these accidents prove costly for employers, including medical expenses for employees and others involved in an accident, insurance increase, leave wage replacement, and property damage costs.
A single-vehicle accident can actually become a financial nightmare for employers, especially if the vehicle is involved in a major accident and a fatality occurs. While the average cost of a non-fatal injury is (US)$61,600, the average cost of a vehicle fatality is (US)$1,130,00 million.
However, only 19.5 percent of the companies Motus surveyed authorized driver safety training and only training drivers to deal safety issues isn’t always the right thing to do. It’s also smart business. Instituting a driver training program, along with insurance verification measures, for example, can reduce collision rates by as much as 35 percent.
The Importance of Road Safety Training
Along with the prevention of fatalities and a fall in medical costs, there are a number of other advantages associated with the driver training program. These include:
- Prioritizing driver safety and awareness with employees.
- Reducing time lost because of accidents in the workplace. (Vehicle incidents are the leading cause of lost time in the workplace).
- Eliminating the skills gap that may have occurred when employees first learned to drive.
- Helping managers to train, evaluate, and rate employees on operating assigned vehicles once work begins.
- Ensuring employee evaluation is stored on file by the company, after regular and refresher training, along with rating efforts.
- Driver training protects your investment in employees. Vehicle incidents are one of the most likely ways that an accident will occur on-site.
A driver training program will be more cost-effective over time, compared to paying for accidents only after they have occured. Put another way, driver safety reduces risk.
Seven Road Safety Tips
Unfortunately, unsafe driving is a common issue, with many drivers failing to follow the most important safety practices while they are on the road. This could be why accident rates for large trucks continued to rise into 2018. Below are some of the most important road safety tips that you should remember to include in your training programs:
- Better speed management — Poor speed management is a reason why many driving accidents occur, especially when passing through interstate construction. In fact, one-third of all work-zone accidents involve trucks. Other causes of accidents where speeding is involved, include:
- Inability to stop in time
- Blind spots on the road
- Poor weather conditions
- Taking sharp curves at high speed
- Failing to secure loads properly
- Tires losing traction on wet roads (hydroplaning)
Drivers need to keep to the speed limit whenever they’re on the road, especially at night, slowing down if they’re passing through interstate construction or making sharp turns.
- Look out for blind spots — Other drivers aren’t always aware of a trucker’s “no zones,” or places where drivers can’t see them. Drivers must be careful to watch out for others entering these areas.
- Keep any trucks in excellent condition — Drivers need to check their own trucks every morning to make sure they’re in good running condition; especially brakes, horns, and mirrors.
- Watch out for bad weather conditions — Harsh weather conditions are involved in 25 percent of driving accidents. Drivers need to adjust for these conditions, cutting down speeds by ⅓ on wet roads and 1/2 on icy or snowy roads.
- Get plenty of rest — Fatigue is often a factor in trucking accidents. Drivers need to get plenty of rest while driving and take care of themselves, just as much as they take care of their trucks.
- Fastening seat belts — This road safety tip may seem like a trivial one, but fastening one’s seat belt is always necessary. This could be life-saving in the event of a rollover.
- Notify supervisors about medication — Two drivers working on the same construction site and traveling along the same road crashed head-on. Prescription drugs were found to be the culprit.
Drivers also need to maintain a safe distance from others, knowing how long it takes to stop, yielding right of way, and watching out for low bridges and drooping overhead wires.
Beyond Road Safety Tips
More and more hard hat companies are beginning to incorporate the latest forms of software technology, helping to increase road safety. For example, maintenance and GPS tracking software, like Transpoco’s SynX, helps monitoring vehicles and keep them well maintained whether they’re on the road or at a local worksite.
This solution features a driver behavior module, a vendor database, maintenance calendar and service alerts that ensure real-time driver safety. When it is combined with a paperless vehicle checking app created for drivers, this solution ensures fleet compliance, assisting in the maintenance process.
Meanwhile, contractor management software, like GoContractor, helps managers to reduce the number of risks involved, boosting safety. In addition to letting managers customize training programs to meet their specific needs, this solution also helps to improve training through innovative features like its new Auto-Text Reader feature.
This feature allows users to listen to the text, while viewing the lessons’ written text. Plus, it provides hidden text to describe all of the diagrams. Auto-Text Reader is especially useful for any companies, employing workers who don’t understand the language. This feature helps them understand a lesson not by reading it but by listening to it.
Driver safety is still keeping hard hat managers up at night and for a good reason. Research shows that the number of accidents and the cost of dealing with them keeps rising—especially in vehicle incidents. A single mishap that ends in a fatality can turn into a financial nightmare and one that can be the difference between ending the year in the red or in the black.
Savvy hard companies are battling back. They’re using software to boost driver safety through improved vehicle maintenance and driver training. These software solutions help companies hammer home road safety tips, increasing user retention, meeting compliance requirements, helping you to save lives. This is something we can all live with.