Roadway Safety on the Job
The roadway is a work environment just like an office or construction site. When driving or being in a vehicle is part of the job, roadway safety policies must be established and communicated to everyone.
Who is at risk? Anyone who operates a motor vehicle as part of his or her job is at risk of being involved in a roadway crash.
This isn’t an easy task though. There are many factors to consider: The amount of exposure to the road, types of vehicles, operating environments, and levels of regulation associated with work-related driving. For instance, a single employer can have workers operating many different types of motor vehicles, each requiring different levels of training, maintenance, and recordkeeping.
What Can Employers Do?
Preventing work-related roadway accidents requires strategies that combine traffic safety principles and sound safety management practices, promoting safe driving behavior and enforcing driver safety policies.
The good news is that NIOSH has published a list of recommended prevention measures to help those responsible for roadway safety.
- Assign a key member of management the responsibility and authority to set and enforce the company's driver safety policy.
- Implement and enforce mandatory seat belt use policies.
- Ensure drivers have a valid driver’s license, one that is appropriate for the type of vehicle driven.
- Provide fleet vehicles that offer the highest possible levels of occupant protection in the event of a crash.
- Maintain complete and accurate records of each worker’s driving performance, including an initial check in the hiring stage to periodic rechecks after hiring.
- Incorporate fatigue management into safety programs.
- Ensure that workers receive the training necessary to operate specialized motor vehicles or equipment.
- Offer periodic screenings of vision and general physical health for all workers for whom driving is a primary job duty.
- Avoid requiring workers to drive irregular hours or to extend their workday far beyond their normal working hours because of driving responsibilities.
- Establish schedules that allow drivers to obey speed limits and follow applicable hours-of-service regulations.
- Set a safety policy in accordance with State graduated driver licensing laws so that company operations do not place younger workers in violation of these laws.
- Assign driving-related tasks to young drivers in an incremental fashion, beginning with limited driving responsibilities and ending with unrestricted assignments.
- DO NOT require workers to conduct business on a cell phone while driving.
- Incorporate information about sharing the road safely with trucks and other large commercial motor vehicles into driver education courses, State driver’s manuals, and workplace driver training programs.
- Teach workers strategies for recognizing and managing driver fatigue and in-vehicle distractions.
- Use safety belts while driving on or off the job.
- Avoid placing or taking cell phone calls while operating a motor vehicle, especially in inclement weather, unfamiliar areas, or heavy traffic.
- Avoid activities such as eating, drinking, or adjusting noncritical vehicle controls while driving.
Proactive roadway safety policies can help promote vehicle safety both on and off the job. Make sure your employees know your policies and practice good roadway safety.
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
This blog was originally posted October 28, 2015, but has been updated with additional sources and information.