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Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Drive Safely Work Week, October 3-7, 2011
In these difficult economic times, employers who are looking for ways to cut costs may be overlooking a large savings that can be achieved rather easily and at a very low cost. That cost cutting method can be achieved through the institution of corporate driving safety policies and by educating not only employees but their families as well on the importance of driving safety.
No matter how dangerous the occupation, the most dangerous part of the day for any employee is the time spent behind the wheel, whether commuting to and from work or while driving as a part of their work duties. Traffic collisions after work hours by the employee or their family members also cost the employer in lost productivity and benefit costs.
The Network of Employees for Traffic Safety (NETS) has designated the week of October 3-7, 2011 as Drive Safely Work Week to educate employers and employees on the importance of driving safety. The NETS website contains a wealth of information for employers on the costs of traffic collisions and methods the employer can use to reduce traffic collisions by their employees and benefit-eligible dependents.
According to the NETS website's "10 Facts Every Employer Must Know," "In 2000, the economic cost of crashes to employers was $60 billion resulting in 3 million lost workdays. Two-thirds of the cost ($40 billion) was from on-the-job crashes while one-third ($20 billion) was from off-the-job crashes for employees and their benefit-eligible dependents.”
"The average on-the-job crash costs an employer about $16,500 or just under $0.16 per mile driven. Crashes involving injuries cost substantially more — $504,408 for a fatal injury and $73,750 for a nonfatal injury.”
"Damages awarded to plaintiff’s making negligence claims against companies are at an all time high, settlements of $1 million or more are not unusual."
The focus of 2011's Drive Safely Work Week, called "Focus 360" is on distracted driving. Distracted driving has been recognized over the past several years as one of the major safety issues on America's roads. The transformation of cell phones into mini-wireless computers has become the number one distracting force on the road and has led to a shockingly high number of collisions, injuries, and deaths. Add to that all of the other distracting activities that a driver can engage in and it is a wonder anyone is watching the road at all. A study by the Virginia Tech Traffic Safety Institute shows the following:
|Behavior||Increased Crash Risk|
|Reaching for a Moving Object||9 Times|
|Dialing a Cell Phone||6 Times|
|Driving Drowsy||4 Times|
|Looking at an External Object||3.7 Times|
|Talking on a Cell Phone||4 Times|
|Applying Makeup||3 Times|
If your company does not have a policy on distracted driving and cell phone use, you are encouraged to create one and vigorously enforce it.
Other steps that employers can take to institute their safe driving policies are to encourage their employees and their family members to attend driver training. Driver training classes, either online or in a classroom, can provide needed refresher training for employees and help them to refocus on what is really important behind the wheel. Providing such training can result in lower insurance costs for both the employer and the employee.