Safety 101 - Lesson 33

Nov. 24, 2009
In the last lesson, we learned the 10 Steps to Improving Emergency Service Driving Safety. This lesson takes the project one step further in understanding the keys to reducing motor vehicle crashes.

In the last lesson, we learned the 10 Steps to Improving Emergency Service Driving Safety. This lesson takes the project one step further in understanding the keys to reducing motor vehicle crashes.

Why does business and industry care about reducing vehicle crashes? Every 12 minutes someone dies in a motor vehicle crash every 10 seconds an injury occurs, and every five seconds a crash occurs many of these incidents occur during the workday or during the commute to and from work Employers bear the cost for injuries that occur both on and off te job. Whether you manage a fleet of vehicles, oversee a mobile sales force, or simply employ commuters; by implementing a driver safety program in the workplace you can greatly reduce the risks faced by your employers and their families, while protecting your company's bottom line. The fire service is no different than corporate America.

You need a driver safety program: " to save lives and/or reduce the risks of life altering injuries within your workforce, " to protect your organization's human and financial resources, and " to guard against potential company and personal liabilities associated with crashes involving employees during company business,

Regardless of the nature of your business.

The average crash costs an employer $16,500, which increases to $74,000 if there is an injury, which can cost over $500,000 if there is a fatality involved; and off the job crashes are costly to employers as well. The sad point is: most vehicle accidents are preventable.

Enough with the numbers and justifications - here is what you need to be aware of:

The 10 Step Program, developed by NETS, is designed to minimize crash risk by providing guidelines for what an employer can do to improve traffic safety performance and minimize the risk of motor vehicle crashes. Following these steps helps to ensure that you use capable drivers, only allow eligible drivers to drive on company business, train them, supervise them, and maintain company vehicles properly.

The 10 steps include:

  1. Senior Management Commitment and Employee Involvement
  2. Written Policies and Procedures
  3. Driver Agreements
  4. Motor Vehicle Record Checks
  5. Crash Reporting and Investigation
  6. Vehicle Selection, Maintenance and Inspection
  7. Disciplinary Action Systems
  8. Reward/Incentive Programs
  9. Driver Training/Communication
  10. Regulatory Compliance

As the "employer" of the driver, you have a significant opportunity to protect your operation by educating your employees about vehicle safety and managing the cultural factors related to it. Some of the significant topics that can be discussed are root causes of crashes, injuries, and death, and include: 

  • Seat belt use
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Securing materials and equipment before transport
  • Alcohol and drug impaired driving
  • Aggressive driving

Well by now you should be saying - hey, I've heard this topic before - twice!

Absolutely, and using a fundamental training technique, we went through the process of: " telling you what we are going to tell you " telling you what we said we were going to tell you, and " told you what we told you we were going to tell you.

Three times we have talked about the key improvements of an integrated fleet management and vehicle safety programs.

By instructing your personnel in basic safe driving practices and then rewarding safety conscious behavior, you can help your personnel and they families avoid tragedy.

Remember, 25 percent of firefighters who die in the line of duty, die from vehicle accidents, most of which are preventable. Don't let this happen to you!

Lesson 33: An effective safe driving program instructs drivers in the basic safe driving practices and thus rewards safety conscious behavior.

Safety 101 - A new series from the technical and administrative perspective, designed to help you reduce emergency responder injuries, illnesses, property loss and death!

DR. WILLIAM F. JENEWAY, CSP, CFO, CFPS, a Contributing Editor, is Executive Vice President of VFIS and has over 30 years experience in safety and risk management in the insurance industry. He was named "Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year" as Chief of the King of Prussia, PA, Volunteer Fire Company, and is the author the text Emergency Service Risk Management. He has partipated the NVFC Corner podcasts on [email protected].

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