It seems nearly every day a new gadget hits the market, designed to make us better, fitter, more productive and happier humans. Optimization-related tech has permeated our worlds from the time we wake up until the time we fall asleep–and especially during our workday. From mobile devices to cloud-based software to collaboration tools, companies are focused on finding the best productivity tools and strategies to boost business, motivated by the understanding that seemingly insignificant moments can add up to major dollars over time.
Among other things, this focus on productivity has led to the rise of the well-equipped, technology-dependent mobile workforce, who comprise an estimated 105 million workers in the United States alone. These workers need an entire suite of services to keep them connected and efficient, no matter where they are working from.
One of the most widely discussed challenges surrounding this workplace shift is securing the data these workers are accessing while outside the company’s walls. But there’s another risk that comes with mobility that many companies may never have considered—driving safety. Drivers who spend a large amount of time on the road for work face a higher risk of accidents than the average driver. Scotland’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that up to a third of all traffic accidents involve somebody on the clock.
This is clearly a health and safety concern that no company with a large mobile workforce should ignore. And when you look closely at the chain reaction unsafe driving can cause, it becomes clear that it’s also a productivity concern.
When a driver gets into an accident on the job, productivity loss occurs on a variety of levels. The driver not only misses the meeting or task to which he was en route when the accident occurred, he may also miss days or even weeks of work due to injury. The vehicle involved in the accident now needs to be fixed, which involves the cost of repairs in addition to medical bills for the driver and others involved. A wreck also affects the company’s schedule, including preset deliveries, meetings or other responsibilities of the worker that need to be reassigned.
The average vehicle crash costs an employer $16,500, but can exceed $500,000 when a fatality is involved. The real tragedy? According to the National Safety Council, 90% of all accidents are preventable, meaning focusing on driver safety is more than worth the investment. And according to trafficsafety.org the cost of a crash extends beyond property and affects long-term productivity as well. On average, in the United States alone there are over 1.6 million days of lost work due to on- and off-the-job crashes.
Fleet-based companies have long incorporated driver safety as a core initiative, leveraging training, coaching and mobile technology to educate drivers and create smart connected fleets. But these fleet programs should also become table stakes for any industry with mobile employees or field workers, such as consultants, cable repair services or sales representatives.
In addition to the health and safety and productivity benefits that come with instating fleet driver safety initiatives, you can expect to see a few other gains:
- Insurance cost reduction. Insurance companies charge higher premiums for risky drivers. When you are managing multiple drivers within your company, those premiums can add up quickly. Educating fleet drivers on safe maneuvers and encouraging them to take their time reduces the chance they will receive a ticket on the job. Additionally, some insurance companies are willing to offer you a better deal if you can prove your fleet is safe.
- Customer satisfaction improvements. Fewer accidents and tickets mean fleet drivers stay on schedule to their meeting or delivery. This makes for happier customers who know they can depend on your business to meet their needs safely and on time.
- Employee retention and engagement. Employee satisfaction and engagement are similar concepts on the surface, but employee satisfaction is more related to the basic concerns and needs of employees. Millennial workers expect companies to focus not only on satisfaction but on the overall wellbeing of employees, on and off the road. A solid driver safety program can improve quality of life through better driver coaching and reward-based feedback.
Driver safety always starts with proper training. Consider rolling out an initiative to teach fleet drivers the basics of good driving, then continue to follow up with frequent reminders and check-ins to ensure safe driving is top of mind for your team members. Utilizing a rewards or gamification element can keep drivers motivated and on track. Most importantly, remember that focusing on driver safety can save more than time and money—it can save lives.