Accidents are a common and costly part of your business. They cost lost-time, a large chunk of your budget, and paid worker’s compensation. Worse yet, they can lead to injuries and suffering for your people. The good news is, accidents don’t have to happen. You can prevent accidents with light-duty vehicle safety training.
This Ultimate Guide is meant to be a resource for understanding the risks your drivers face, the immense financial burdens posed on your company or organization due to accidents, and how defensive driving training can prevent accidents from happening.
In this guide, you will find:
- What constitutes a “light-duty” fleet and what risks these fleets face
- When to invest in light-duty vehicle safety training
- How to build an effective light-duty vehicle safety training program
- Strategies for consistently maintaining safety efforts
What is a Light-Duty Fleet? What Risks Do They Face?
Light-duty vehicles include work trucks, pick-up trucks, sedans, vans, and other non-CDL vehicles. Many companies rely on a fleet of these vehicles to deliver goods, arrive to job sites, transport people, haul materials, or perform services.
On the surface, driving these vehicles seems to present less risk than driving a tractor-trailer or school bus - and in many ways, that’s accurate. Non-CDL vehicles weigh much less than vehicles that require a CDL to drive. They’re also easier and simpler to operate. However, that doesn’t mean your light-duty vehicle drivers are safe from serious accidents and injuries.
They might not think of themselves in this way, but if your employees drive in order to complete vital job duties, they’re professional drivers. And without the proper training, they’re putting themselves, others, and your company at risk.
In fact, we guarantee that driving is the most dangerous thing your employees do. Even if you have your employees climbing ladders to fix roofs, driving is more dangerous because they’re more likely to have an accident while behind the wheel.
The CDC has shared some valuable statistics to back-up these claims. Consider the following:
- Motor vehicle crashes are the 1st or 2nd leading cause of death in every major industry group.
- Work-related motor vehicle crashes are not just an issue for truck, bus, or taxi drivers. 57% of workers who died in 2018 in a motor vehicle accident were not employed in motor vehicle operator jobs.
- From 2003-2018, nearly 30,000 workers in the U.S. died in a work-related motor vehicle crash.
- In 2018, more than one thousand U.S. workers driving or riding in a motor vehicle on a public road died in a work-related crash (that’s 24% of all work-related deaths).
The fact is, these accidents happen to workers in all types of industries all over the country. It could happen to one of your people any day. This isn’t to scare you - it’s just a fact. Driving needs to be treated seriously by every company.
Along with the damage to people and property comes financial damage as well. Companies face tremendous financial risk from their light-duty vehicle drivers. Consider the following facts from the CDC:
- In 2013 alone, work-related crashes cost employers $25 billion. Here’s how that number breaks down further:
- Companies spent $65,000 per nonfatal injury
- Companies spent $671,000 per fatal accident
When it comes to an accident, you face the possibility of lost-time from workers, rising insurance claims, large fines from court, and a bruised reputation. The costs of accidents are wide-spread, severe and can impact your company for years.
How Can You Protect Yourself And Your Employees?
If you’re reading this, chances are that accidents are common, costly, and deadly in your industry. Or, at the very least, you are conscious of the potential risks your drivers face. The good news is, accidents are entirely preventable. You just need to educate your drivers on safe defensive driving habits.
Effective safety training reduces your drivers’ unsafe behaviors. The less unsafe behaviors, the less chances they have an accident.
You’re probably wondering: where do I begin with driver safety training? You more or less have two options:
- Make it yourself. Invest time and resources into creating homemade PowerPoints, safety resources, and lectures. This option saves you some money up front, but it takes up a lot of your time. Your results will vary depending on how effective you are at creating your materials.
- Invest in professionally-made safety training. For many companies, the upfront investment in professionally-made safety training is worth it. It saves you time and resources, plus it’s guaranteed to reduce your accidents and injuries. This means the training will quickly pay for itself and then some.
Whether your drivers are behind the wheel of a big-rig, a pick-up truck, or a sedan, they face serious risk. Accidents are common, costly, and deadly in nearly all industries. But that doesn’t have to be the case for your company.
Investing in defensive driving training now could save you tons of money on insurance premiums, workers’ comp, and court visits later. Most importantly, it could save your employees from pain and suffering. By investing in defensive driving training, you’re protecting both your bottom line and your employees.
If you want to learn more about our professional light-duty vehicle training, check out The Fleet Safety Course.
When Should You Invest in Light-Duty Vehicle Safety Training?
If you’re having accidents today, then by all means, drop everything and figure out how you will educate your drivers on safe driving practices. Lives are on the line. You don’t need to wait until you’re already having accidents, though.
For most companies, they decide they need safety training when it’s already too late. Someone was seriously hurt or even killed. The company is facing outrageous court fees. Their reputation is forever scarred. They think to themselves: we can’t let this happen again!
Instead, you can invest in light-duty vehicle safety training before a serious accident occurs. You can be proactive and prevent all of those headaches, the immense costs, and all of the suffering that comes with traffic collisions.
If you want to learn more about this topic, check out these articles:
- Warning Signs That You Need Light-Duty Vehicle Safety Training
- Like it or Not - Your Light Duty Vehicle Drivers Need Safety Training
- Why Driver's Ed Isn't Enough: The Importance of Professional Driver Training
Building Your Light-Duty Vehicle Safety Training Program
Light-duty fleet safety training is virtually the only guaranteed way to reduce your risk, protect your people, and avoid the high-cost of accidents. But where do you begin?
One of the first decisions to make is whether you want to make your training program yourself or want to outsource safety training.
When weighing your options between doing it in-house and investing in off-the-shelf training, most people think of cost first. Cost is of course an important factor to consider, but it’s not the best place to start. Training outcomes should always be your first consideration.
Whether it’s your time, an employee’s time, or part of your budget, you want to make sure your resources are spent wisely. The training needs to change employee behavior, reduce your accident numbers, save you money on cost of loss, and protect your people. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Investing in off-the-shelf safety training is the easiest way to ensure you’re getting the results you need. Off-the-shelf training like The Fleet Safety Course:
- Saves you time
- Has professional instructional design with proven learning outcomes
- Has professional videos, graphics, animations, and supporting materials
- Leads to real behavioral change leading to fewer accidents and injuries
- Comes with access to a Learning Management System for easy organization
If it’s not professionally-made, there’s no guarantee that your training will be effective. However, even taking all of that into consideration, investing in off-the-shelf training doesn’t necessarily make sense for everyone.
For more on building your light-duty vehicle safety training program, check out these articles:
- When Does It Make Sense to Outsource Safety Training?
- Light-Duty Fleet Safety Tips: What Your Drivers Should Know
- How to Build a Safety Training Program in One Month
- The Importance of an LMS For Your Safety Training
- 6 Strategies For Effective Online Defensive Driving Training
Build a Safety-Centric Culture
Some people worry that if they invest in safety training, it won’t “sink in.” Maybe their employees will retain some of the lessons learned, but everything taught to them about reducing risk, preventing accidents, and driving defensively will wane over time.
This is a valid concern. That’s why you need to create a safety-centric culture.
A safety-centric culture is one where everyone at the company from owner to part-time employee puts safety before anything else. Every decision that everyone makes at the company has safety in mind. And, no decision is ever made that puts safety behind anything else.
The benefits should be clear: when everyone cares about safety, your accident numbers go down.
That’s the answer you get for a nickel. The answer you get for a dollar is more complicated and nuanced. It involves intrinsic questions such as:
- What is safety?
- What is risk?
- What is culture?
- How do you shape culture?
These are important questions to answer if you want to have a large impact on your employees’ safety. Some of our products such as The Leadership Development Course, The Fleet Safety Course, and LLLC Certification get at these questions in-depth.
If you want to learn more about building a safety-centric culture, check out these articles:
- How to Create a Safety-Centric Culture
- How to Build Safety Training into Your New Hire Orientation
- How Often Should You Do Safety Training?
- Why Your Company Needs Monthly Safety Meetings
- How to Use Driver Mentors For Safety Training
You may also be interested in our “safety meeting in a box” product: The Monthly Safety Initiative (MSI).
The MSI sends monthly shipments of professionally-made safety meeting materials and gives you access to online defensive driving training. Together, these materials will:
- Save you time preparing for meetings
- Reduce your accidents and injuries
- Improve your bottom-line by reducing cost of loss
Protect Your People (And Your Bottom-Line)
Don’t leave your accident numbers up to fate. Protect your people and your bottom-line.
With light-duty vehicle safety training, you can take control of your company’s safety. Whether it’s created in-house or you invest in a professionally created product, you’ll watch your accident numbers drop, your profit margins shoot up, and productivity soar.
Best of all, you’ll see your employees return safely at the end of each day.