Employees miss 1.6 million days of work each year in the United States as a result of involvement with motor vehicle accidents. Auto accidents at work are one of the top causes of on-the-job injuries and on-the-job fatalities. When factoring in all of the myriad costs associated with automobile accidents in the workplace, employers lose an estimated $47 million each year as a result of employee automobile accidents.
Automobile accidents are not just a workplace problem for truck drivers or those who do delivery. Many employees, from traveling salesmen to secretaries picking up lunch for their boss, have to drive as some part of their workday. This is true even in cities like New York City where many people walk and take the subway. Whenever workers have to drive for any reason, they may be covered by workers' compensation if the driving is considered to be a part of their work tasks.
Because automobile accidents are such a big issue for workers on-the-job, there are many efforts underway to try to reduce the chances of car accidents happening to employees. Employers should pay attention to the methods of stopping on-the-job car accidents and should institute best practices and training protocols aimed at preventing accidents. A good time to start is during the upcoming Drive Safely Work Week, which is scheduled to take place from October 3 through October 7, 2016.
Drive Safely Work week is organized annually by the The Network of Employers for Traffic (NETS). NETS schedules the event, chooses a theme for the year, and provides information and assistance to employers for participating in the effort to reduce workplace auto accidents.
This year, the theme is focused on the prevention of distracted driving accidents while employees are working. In a free downloadable tool kit, NETS offers resources which employers can use in order to teach workers of distracted driving dangers. The tool kit includes training on:
- The importance of getting enough rest to avoid fatigue. Fatigue is a cause of distraction behind the wheel.
- The ability to recognize the signs of driving while fatigued, as well as the reasons why fatigued driving is so distracting and so risky.
- The importance of going the speed limit or slow enough to be safe for traffic conditions, as well as the importance of buckling up (crash death chances go down 50 percent for someone buckled up).
- The risks of using mobile phones or any type of electronic devices while driving.
- Other risk factors which increase collision risks.
NETS believes employers who implement training could reduce employee crash rates by as much as 50 percent if they embrace a holistic and comprehensive training approach. Making the effort is worth it to save money and lives.