It is more commonplace for workers to die in an automobile crash while on the job than it is for them to be killed while working on industrial machinery or at a construction site, so says the National Institute For Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH). In fact, this alarming statistic has been the case since 1992. NIOSH reported that roadway car crashes killed 13,337 or 22 percent of all workers between 1992 and 2001.
Driving-related fatalities continued to increase while deaths from all other occupational-related causes dropped. Driving-related deaths averaged approximately one per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers between 1992 and 2001.
With the rising death toll came rising costs. The National Safety Council reported that in 2001 and 2002, injuries arising from roadway crashes averaged $27,500 per workers’ compensation claim. They were the single most costly workers’ compensation injury claim category. Crashes also caused workers to lose more days from work than any other type of work-related injury.
If you have employees who drive, cutting the costs associated with traffic accidents is an important part of your risk management program. The most effective way to cut costs is to institute a safe driver policy, which includes checking your employees’ Motor Vehicle Records (MVR).
Every state in the U.S. maintains MVRs on all of its drivers. This is a record that typically contains information about a person’s driving history, including such information as traffic violations and arrests and convictions for driving-related incidents. Individuals can obtain copies of their own driving records for employment purposes at their local DMV office. You can also obtain a copy of the record if you have the employee sign an MVR consent form.
The most effective way to use an MVR is to make a clean driving record a condition of employment for employees with driving responsibilities. Be sure you follow through and examine a potential employee’s MVR before you make a job offer. Also determine if the applicant has a driver’s license in another state and check the MVR in that state too.
However, that shouldn’t be the only time you check MVRs. Examine those records again on an annual basis for each employee with driving responsibilities. Included in your company’s safe driver policy should be the disciplinary action that will be enforced if you find a moving violation on a driver’s record during an annual check.
Using an MVR in this manner ensures that the employee will take an active role in your company’s driver safety program. As in any risk management strategy, employee buy-in is crucial if your driver safety program is to be effective.