As the summer months arrive, there are more distracted drivers on the road during daytime business hours, as teenagers are out and about and families are road-tripping, especially throughout the vacation-friendly southern states.
As a business owner with branded vehicles on the road, you have a lot to think about, including what happens if an accident occurs. Many car accidents are preventable and you are responsible for reinforcing vehicle safety. It’s important to consider your bottom line, but more than that, you just might save a life. If you want to protect your company, your vehicles and – most importantly – your employees, during the busy, tourist-filled summer months, read on.
Educate Your Employees
As an employer, you have the opportunity to reduce work-related auto accidents by educating your employees about driving safely. Consider hiring a driving educator to give your workers a refresher course on safe driving fundamentals, like getting adequate sleep and staying off their cellphones and handheld devices while driving. An educator will be able to teach your employees important points about staying focused and alert behind the wheel that will aid in the prevention of vehicle accidents on the job.
In addition to safe driving, teach them what to do in case an accident happens. Here are recommended instructions for an employee who’s been in an accident:
- Seek immediate medical attention if they are injured
- See if people in other affected vehicles (if any) need medical attention
- Notify the police so they can file an official report
- Report it to the office immediately so you can inform the insurance company
- Have the employee undergo a drug test within 24 hours
- Speak with all employees involved
- Communicate with all other employees the nature of the accident and any lessons learned
Maintain Work Vehicles
Perform a monthly comprehensive safety inspection on each of your company vehicles. This will ensure that your vehicle doesn’t dangerously malfunction while it’s on the road, preventing accidents before they have the opportunity to occur, and keeping your employees safe while on the job. Routinely maintaining your vehicles can prevent more expensive repairs down the line, saving you money along the way.
Overworked drivers are unsafe drivers, and some workers may have trouble staying awake during late-night shifts. Ensure you have enough staff within your organization so that drivers are able to take regular breaks and have days off – this will help prevent accidents that occur as a result of employee exhaustion. Additionally, you should have requirements in place for drivers you’re hiring into your organization. Enforce a minimum age requirement, and ensure that your employees have valid driver’s licenses and can pass a road test before they begin work.
Implement an Incentive Program
Encourage employees to stay aware of vehicle safety on the job by offering them an incentive for keeping a good driving record. Whether that’s a gift card to the “best” or safest driver each month, or an annual bonus, this will help keep drivers motivated to take the proper safety precautions while driving. Similarly, you should have a discipline system in place for unsafe drivers, including thorough reports and disciplinary action taken against drivers who are at fault for workplace accidents. Learn how to recognize signs of impairment from drugs or alcohol before sending your employees out on the job, and discipline employees accordingly who are impaired at work.
Another important consideration is the brand image your vehicles and drivers present to your customers and community at large. You should regularly clean your branded vehicles, both inside and out, to maintain a good impression on clients and those who see your vehicles on the road. Drivers should be discouraged, or forbidden, from smoking in the vehicle as well.
It’s important to remind your drivers that when they’re out on the road in one of your branded vehicles, they act as a moving billboard. As such, they should always use turn signals and respect “right of way” guidelines with other drivers and pedestrians they encounter.
There are many pitfalls to navigate as small business owner when it comes to company vehicle safety, especially during the busy summer months. Unsafe driving is dangerous in any scenario, but if you own branded vehicles it can also be dangerous to the brand and pose a risk of liability claims against both you and your employees. That’s why it’s especially important to not only take steps to mitigate the risk of accidents, but also to ensure that your vehicles are properly maintained and looking good.