Driver Performance: Effects on Safety and The Bottom Line

Driver performance is the critical component for companies to maintain a favorable safety record in addition to a profitable bottom line.
There are many natural factors that drivers need to pay attention to in order to perform their duties without incident (I.E. weather conditions, other drivers on the road, pedestrians, obstructions/hazards etc.). These elements alone are enough for any operator to manage effectively so not to have cause for accidents.
Today, unfortunately, there are an increasing number of incidents that are directly related to other factors such as driver behavior (distracted driving, sleep deprivation, speeding, substance abuse, overall careless driving) poor vehicle maintenance, lack of proper training etc. .
Some startling statistics: The cost and crashworthiness of vehicles as well as driver’s safety habits directly affect the cost of auto insurance.
Fatalities: According to the National Highway traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 35,092 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2015, up 7.2 percent from 32,744 in 2014. The 7.2 percent increase is the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years. Unfortunately, according to a statistical projection, motor vehicle traffic fatalities rose 10.4 percent in the first half of 2016 compared with a year ago. Important to note, there was a 3.3 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled at the same time.
Injuries: In 2015, an estimated 2.44 million people were injured in motor vehicle crashes.
Work Related: In 2014, crashes involving vehicles on public roadways were the leading cause of work – related fatalities, accounting for 23 percent of all workplace fatalities, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Costs of Motor Vehicle Crashes: According to the NHTSA, the economic cost of motor vehicle crashes (police reported and unreported) totaled $277 billion in 2010, amounting to almost $897 for every person living in the U.S. and for 1.9 percent of the U.S. gross Domestic Product. These costs include medical, lost productivity, legal, emergency service, insurance administration, property damage, workplace and others. Quality of life valuations from crashes added $594 billion to the cost, bringing the total to $871 billion. Property damage costs of $76.2 billion accounted for 28 percent of total economic costs. Lost productivity costs were $70.2 billion, or 25 percent of the economic cost. Medical costs, both present and future, accounted for $34.9 billion or 13 percent of the economic cost.
Distracted Driving: Activities that take drivers attention off the road, including talking or texting on cell phones, eating, conversing with passengers and other distractions, are a major safety threat. The NHTSA gauges distracted driving by collecting data on distraction – affected crashes which focuses on distractions that are most likely to affect crash involvement, such as dialing a cell phone or texting and being distracted by another person or an outside event. Latest data from the NHTSA show that 3,477 people died in distraction-affected crashes in 2015, up 8.8 percent from 3,197 in 2014, accounting for 10 percent of all fatal crashes in the nation, 18 percent of injury crashes and 16 percent of all motor vehicle crashes.
Speeding: According to the NHTSA in 2015, 9,557 lives were lost due to speeding related accidents. Speeding was a contributing factor in 28% of all traffic fatalities in 2014.
Alcohol (Substance Abuse): In 2015, 10,265 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounting for 29 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the U.S.
Fatigue: A 2014 Traffic Safety Foundation study found that 37 percent of drivers report having fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point in their lives. An estimated 21 percent of fatal crashes , 13 percent of crashes resulting in severe injury and 6 percent of all crashes, involve a drowsy driver.
Obviously, the above statistics are startling, to say the least, and would give any person and/or business owner good reason to consider the consequences of all of these issues. So what to do?
As a business owner, your operators are charged with the responsibility of safeguarding themselves, the lives and property of others, not to mention your own property. Therefore, they should be provided all the tools necessary to help mitigate any incidents. These should include, but not be limited to, the following:
– proper and extensive training specific to job functions (with refresher classes)
– properly maintained and safe vehicles/equipment (formal vehicle maintenance program)
– written safety program (including cell phone policy, drug testing, accident procedures, shift work procedures)
– use of GPS and drive cam systems (critical driver management devices)
We hope that this article provides you with valuable insight with regard to effective driver management and that your business, its employees and customers, benefit from effective safety programs.
Happy and Safe Sweeping!!!

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