As fleet owners and operators you understand the importance of driver safety better than anyone. And we’re fairly certain you’ve spent at least a few stressful moments thinking about your driver’s and the risks they face on today’s roadways. As your insurance partner, Draco has had a few of these moments ourselves. Our least favorite part of our jobs is to talk to our clients about a vehicle claim due to a crash.
Sadly, crashes are more frequent now than ever before. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reported that in the first half of 2016 (January – June) that there was a 10.4% increase in traffic fatalities over the same time period in 2015. The report goes on to say that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows an increase of miles driven of 3.3%, or 50.5 billon more miles than last year. Based on this reporting, we are fairly confident in making this statement: Your drivers have more people than ever before to watch out for on the road and overall the roads your drivers are on are less safe now than in the past.
At Draco we think these are some shocking numbers, and we think you probably agree. As your insurance partner, we are committed to not only guarding your business, but also to making certain you and your drivers are taking every precaution necessary to stay safe while on and off the job. With this mission in mind, we developed a list of 2017 driver safety goals that we wish to share with you:
Draco Insurance Top Five Driver Safety Goals for 2017
1. Prevent Distracted Driving
Just look around today and you will notice we are in the middle of a driver epidemic called distracted driving, and none of us are completely innocent. The epidemic has become so persistent that millions of people die each year due to some type of distraction while driving. That is why we are recommending that you put a strict “Distracted Driving Policy” in place, if you haven’t done so already. Distraction.gov is a great place to find a sample policy as well as some very helpful information on how to educate your drivers on the hazards of distracted driving.
2. Establish Mandatory Drug Testing
In some states it’s the law to drug test your drivers. If it’s not in your state, and you don’t drug test already, you absolutely should. As a business owner, we’re sure you are highly sensitive to the opioid crisis we now face as a country. More people will die this year due to a drug overdose than a car accident and prescription drugs are at the forefront of the problem. Having a policy in place that allows you to perform random drug tests on your drivers will not only give you peace of mind and keep anyone who rides with you safe, but may also save lives.
3. Educate Your Drivers on Drowsy Driving
If you’re not sure what drowsy driving is, you’re not alone. Ironically, you, yourself, have most likely been a drowsy driver at some point in your life. But what exactly is this increasingly common phenomenon? Drowsy driving is the deadly combination of driving while being fatigued, and shift workers and people who drive at night, like many of your drivers, are one of the highest risk groups. According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers (aged 18 years or older) report having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days! This kind of driving can be just as dangerous as operating a vehicle while intoxicated because it causes:
- Drivers to have trouble paying attention to the road
- Slower driver reaction time if they have to brake or turn suddenly
- A driver’s ability to make good decisions to be severely affected
Draco recommends you train your drivers on the warning signs: excessive yawning or blinking, losing concentration and forgetting the past few miles driven, drifting from your lane or hitting the rumble strip. You should instruct your drivers to pull over immediately and rest if they experience any of these drowsy driving signals. And we strongly advise that you make it a policy that a driver not pick up a fare, or anyone else for that matter, if they are having any of these symptoms.
4. Give a Refresher On The Rules of the Road
Each state has its own set of traffic rules to follow. However, at Draco we believe there are some common rules of the road that should be universally followed, including:
- know how to make proper lane changes
- do not weave dangerously through traffic
- come to a complete stop at stop signs, and avoid running yellow, or worse, red lights
- always yield before making a left turn
- obey the speed limit
- do not drive aggressively
A simple reminder to your drivers of these basic rules can go a long way in preventing them from causing, or being involved in, an accident.
5. Always Wear a Seatbelt
Perhaps nothing is more obvious to those of us in the transportation industry than the fact that wearing a seatbelt can save your drivers’ lives. But what about the passengers? If you operate a taxicab, we recommend you check your state laws because each state is a little different. Some require that just the front seat occupant wear a seatbelt, and others require passengers in the back seat to wear one as well. In addition, all states require child safety seats for infants and children based on age, weight and height requirements.
Regardless of the law, we think it just makes common sense to require all your drivers and passengers to wear a seatbelt. The CDC reports that wearing a seatbelt reduces crash related injuries and deaths by 50%, which should be incentive enough. However, many drivers still ignore the law and the sobering statistics; in fact, over 20,000 people died in a motor vehicle crash in 2014 because they were not properly restrained. Don’t let your drivers become a statistic.
Your driver safety is our #1 priority at Draco Insurance.
With a new year upon us, it is a perfect time to reflect on the challenges of the past year and plan on how to address them in the coming one. The Draco team believes that the five driver safety goals discussed above are key to a safer 2017 for your drivers and passengers. Throughout the year, we will continue to stay on top of any dangerous driving trends and bring you our best recommendations for how to safeguard against them. In addition, please remember that there are always helpful resources to be found on our website, including links to driver training programs that we think would be very beneficial to review. And while our goal is to provide information that helps keep driver crashes from occurring, we know that no amount of preparation or training can guarantee an accident will not happen at some point. Please know that your insurance partners at Draco will always be here for you to answer any questions you may have once you file a claim with your carrier.