Fostering a Safe Driving Culture in the Workplace 

In today’s workplace, duties are not limited to within the four walls of an office. In many jobs, driving is an integral part of the work responsibilities, this may be through delivering packages, visiting clients, or commuting in company vehicles. Employers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their drivers and, by extension, all road users.

Employer Considerations pertaining to Driver Safety

Shift patterns. Night workers comprise over 10% of the workforce. Employees with rotating shift patterns add to that number. The disruption of the body’s circadian rhythms can contribute to occupational accidents, which include driving collisions. Fatigue related road collisions are most likely to happen between 2am and 6am, followed by 2pm to 4pm, when worker alertness is naturally lower. Employers should implement measures to prevent and address driver fatigue, such as scheduling realistic journeys, encouraging rest breaks, and monitoring working hours. 

Shared responsibilities. Employers should ensure that line managers, customer service staff, HR, and health and safety departments understand that drivers must be fit to drive; not interrupted whilst driving; and that their safe driving is an integral part of their job expectations.  

Operational Pressure and Reward schemes. Workers should not be incentivised in a way which may encourage faster driving or higher mileage. If employees have targets for customer contacts, visits, or sales meetings, a proportion of these should be via video call or phone, from the office. Employers should cluster visits in specific areas with hotel accommodation, so that mileage is minimised. If the work is of a physical nature, targets should be removed unless they can encompass a safety component. Nver cut corners due to operational pressures! A safe process is much more important than an achieved target. 

Communications. Employers should have a clear policy on device use while employees are on the road. Workers should not make or answer phone calls while driving. Missed calls and voice messages can always be checked during a rest stop. Hands-free equipment should be used sparingly and only if absolutely necessary, as it increases the collision risk. 

Alcohol and Drugs. Remind riders and drivers they must not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This includes prescription medication, if it could affect the user’s ability to part-take in the journey. Employers should establish clear and enforceable policies regarding this. 

Driver competence. Employers should provide comprehensive training that covers defensive driving, road safety awareness, and specific vehicle operation. Check whether drivers and riders are aware of the height of their vehicle, laden and empty. Consider providing the necessary equipment so they can check the height before setting off on their journey. Ensure drivers/riders are aware of how to secure loads and ensure that their vehicle is not overloaded or unstable before setting off. 

Vehicle Maintenance: Ensure company vehicles are regularly serviced and in good working order. Encourage employees to report any maintenance concerns upon discovery. 

The duty of care goes beyond simply adhering to traffic laws; it requires proactive measures to manage risk.

Employers should ensure a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is carried out. It is imperative to identify and assess potential driving hazards, considering routes, vehicle safety, driver fatigue, and work pressures.  

Encourage open communication regarding driving concerns and provide feedback procedures whereby employees can report potentially unsafe situations.  

In the event of an accident/incident, offer drivers support, investigate thoroughly, and learn from the experience. Driver safety is an ongoing process, not a one-time initiative. 

Driver Safety Training - Beyond Legal Compliance

Investing in driver safety goes beyond legal compliance, it demonstrates the employer’s commitment to the well-being of their employees and the wider community. It is important to provide driver safety regular training, to help protect your employees and other road users. iProtectU Driver Safety Awareness training is IIRSM Approved and aims to ensure your drivers hit the road with confidence and return home safely. Get in touch with iProtectU today and join many other satisfied employers in the quest to create a safer, more efficient and ultimately more enjoyable driving experience for the workforce. 

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