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Building and Maintaining a Fleet Safety Culture

While Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a prime opportunity to discuss fleet safety, it goes beyond simple rules against texting and driving. Organizations that have implemented a proper road safety culture start by screening drivers in the hiring process and then provide ongoing training and support throughout an employee’s career.

Unfortunately, many companies may not adhere to the rules of road safety as well as they should. In the last eight years, insurance companies have been losing money on auto premiums, and premium rates are increasing as a result. To counteract that trend, safe driving must be top of mind for everyone in an organization.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 people were killed because of distracted driving in 2017, with mobile phones as the cause of most of these accidents.

But fleet safety is about more than the cost of insurance. It’s also about ensuring that your employees and crews remain alert and injury-free on the roads. It’s about creating a culture of safety that protects your most valuable asset—your people.

Elements of Fleet Safety

Only qualified drivers should be allowed behind the wheel, which means properly evaluating the driving record of everyone operating a vehicle for company business. More than three moving vehicle violations in a five-year time frame should draw red flags, as should even one DUI in the same timeframe.

For many organizations, the vehicle and equipment used depend on the scope of the job or project. If this is the case, all employees should receive safety training on the vehicles they may drive for work before being designated a company driver and should attend regular classes throughout their employment. This includes training on routine maintenance checks, adjustment of mirrors, and other actions to ensure safe vehicles.

Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 people were killed because of distracted driving in 2017, with mobile phones as the cause of most of these accidents. Even with more and more states passing legislation to outlaw the use of cell phones without a hands-free device, drivers are still texting, sending emails, or engaging with social media apps on the highways.

Distracted driving courses and lessons are a vital pillar of road safety culture. Encouraging drivers to be patient and wait until after they’ve turned the car off to answer a call, email or text may help prevent collisions, injuries or death.

Leverage Telematics

Telematic systems like installed GPS systems allow drivers to rely less on their phones and pay more attention to the road. No one needs to take their eyes off the road to learn where their next turn will be.

Consider April’s Distracted Driving Awareness campaign as a kickstart to a safer organizational culture. Whether that means training your staff or implementing ways to keep drivers off their phone, every company can make healthy changes to make the roads safer.

For more information about distracted driving, contact us today.

Key Resources for National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This national campaign, presented in tandem by several safety organizations, was designed to help bring awareness to the dangers of distracted driving, while simultaneously working to eliminate preventable deaths.

The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.

At Hays, we are committed to the safety of our employees and clients on our roadways. As such, we will be publishing a series of articles throughout the month of April focused on distracted driving and what you can do to end this epidemic.

This issue has remained close to our hearts as our very own Tom Goeltz (Vice President of Risk Management Services) has a personal connection with losing a family member due to an alleged distracted driver. To learn more about Tom’s story, watch this video.

Tom is also a legislative advocate for safe driving and was recently asked to testify on behalf of Minnesota’s HF 104 Bill in front of the House Transportation Committee meeting. The bill adds stiffer penalties for drivers caught using their cell phones on Minnesota roads. From there, it was approved by voice vote and sent on to the Ways and Means committee (learn more about the bill, here).  A companion bill is currently making its way through the Minnesota State Senate.

Join us in taking the pledge against Distracted Driving!

Remember: No matter what the distraction may be, it’s never worth a life. It can wait.

Looking for more resources on Distracted Driving?

Hays Companies Joins the National Safety Council’s Road to Zero initiative

Hays Companies recently joined the National Safety Council’s Road to Zero initiative, a partnership focused on ending traffic fatalities – a leading cause of unintentional deaths. The goal is safe mobility for all people through a coordinated, data-driven approach. As a partner of the Road to Zero Coalition, Hays will work to develop priorities and encourage stakeholders to take action to meet the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities by 2050.

It might seem like a lofty goal, but key stakeholders believe it is possible. “The aim of Road to Zero is to get to zero deaths by 2050,” says Debbie Hersman, the president and CEO of the National Safety Council, the lead on the Road to Zero initiative. “That’s the goal. We’ve done this with aviation—there have been several years with zero deaths in commercial aviation—and a lot of people thought that was impossible.”

At Hays Companies, we have continued to make distracted driving our national safety focus as an organization.

We are committed to the safety of our employees and clients on our roadways. We’ve been incredibly moved by our VP of Risk Management Services, Tom Goeltz, and his personal story with losing his daughter due to an alleged distracted driver. Goeltz is actively building national awareness as a legislative advocate and frequent public speaker on how to help keep employees and their families safe. Our Road to Zero Coalition partnership exemplifies the importance and value we at Hays Companies place on safety, and how we can work together to combat this epidemic.

“It’s not impossible – it just hasn’t been done yet. Working together, we will find new solutions to old problems and eliminate these preventable deaths,” said Tom Goeltz.

Looking for an employer toolkit on Distracted Driving? Consider these resources:

  • Safe Driving Kit with infographics, myth busters, videos, and more
  • Join in on the upcoming “Engaging Ways to Address Distracted Driving at Work” webinar hosted by the National Safety Council
  • Learn about cell phone blocking technology and tips to reduce distracted driving
  • Ask Hays about cell phone slips to block cell signals while driving
  • View a video series about workplace cell phone policies and related topics
  • Consider hosting Tom Goeltz for a personalized presentation on workplace safety

Visit nsc.org/roadtozero about the Road to Zero initiative or contact Tom Goeltz (tgoeltz@hayscompanies.com) for additional information.

Take Back Our Roads: Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving

Pandora. GPS. Radio Commercials. Drinking Coffee. Talking to your kids in the backseat. Even if you’re not texting behind the wheel, chances are high that something happens while you’re driving that prevents you from giving the road your full attention. And while most of these activities seem fairly innocent, taking only a second or two to address, they each represent a different form of distracted driving that can dramatically increase your risk of an accident.

Fully 94% of all vehicle crashes are caused by human error – a sobering fact when you consider the real life implications behind the statistics. Hays Vice President of Risk Management Services, Tom Goeltz, understands this better than most as his daughter, Megan Goeltz, was killed at the age of 22 by alleged distracted driver, leaving behind a three-year-old daughter and a loving family.

For Goeltz, distracted driving is a national epidemic. OSHA agrees, having launched a distracted driving initiative in recent months. In a supporting compliance article, the administration states “The top priority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is keeping workers safe. While workplace fatalities have been decreasing in recent years, motor vehicle crashes continue to be one of the leading causes of death among American workers.” In addition, a study conducted by the University of Utah discovered that cell phone users demonstrated higher levels of impairment then drivers who had been drinking.

To prevent distracted driving, OSHA recommends implementing policies that prevent individuals from reaching for their phones in the first place. Goeltz supports the position, arguing that breaking the habit of distracted driving requires a similar mentality shift as our approach to drinking and driving. In our society, driving under the influence has become a universal taboo, resulting in using a designated driver or a service like Uber. As Goeltz says, the same can be done with distracted driving habits.

With their most recent iOS update, Apple will be doing their part to keep the roads safe with the new “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature. The feature, which will be triggered when a phone is connected to a car via Bluetooth or cable, will withhold all notifications while the car is moving. Users will still be able to access Apple Maps, but the majority of apps will stay locked for the duration of the drive.

Not an iPhone user? Goeltz offers some additional tips to prevent distracted driving:

  1. Turn your phone off or put it in airplane mode.
  2. Use a Cell Slip, which blocks all incoming and outgoing cell phone signals while the phone is in the slip or keep your phone out of reach.
  3. Have an App installed on your phone to silence incoming texts, emails, phone calls.  We recommend one of the following:
    1. In-Traffic Reply (Samsung Exclusive)
    2. DriveMode (AT&T exclusive)
    3. Drivewise (Allstate Exclusive)
    4. Drive Safe & Save (State Farm Exclusive)
    5. Cellcontrol (Subscription-based app that blocks phone use while driving)
    6. Drive Safe Mode (Control and monitor mobile use while driving – perfect for teens!)
    7. Live2Text (Blocks incoming calls and texts while driving)

But most importantly, remember that no message is worth life or death. It can wait.