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Occupational Driving Safety

Transportation incidents are the leading cause of work-related fatalities in Texas. Employers should consider four elements of driving safety when developing an occupational driving safety program: the Roadway Workplace, the Driver, the Vehicle and the Environment.

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the Roadway Workplace

If your employees are in a motorized vehicle as part of their job, you should consider the vehicle and roadway as an extension of your workplace.

Driver Policies and Safety Programs | Motor Vehicle Record Checks | Driver Assessment | Journey Management | Applicable Laws

Consider using the Occupational Driving Safety Program Review Checklist (English version | Spanish version) to assess your company’s program.

Occupational Driving Safety Programs: The Roadway Workplace Webinar


Driver Policies and Safety Programs (Resources)

An effective occupational driving safety program should specify the qualifications for employees who drive while on the job, and should include policy statements related to the various elements of the program. Employers should consider qualifications for both commercial and non-commercial drivers, and specify those in their policies. Some qualifications for drivers may include valid Texas driver license; minimum number of moving violation convictions on their driving records; and driving skills assessments, among others.

Texas Ban on Texting Begins September 1

Texting while driving is now illegal in Texas, except in certain circumstances. The fine is up to $99 for a first-time offense and $200 for repeat offenses. Some cities have enacted even stricter cell phone laws. For information on a cell phone use policy, see the Driving and Using Cell Phones workplace program, in English or Spanish.

Motor Vehicle Record Checks (Resources)

Employers should consider reviewing the driver license status and driving records of employees who operate motor vehicles as part of their job. Pre-hire driver motor vehicle record checks and periodic checks thereafter can help employers assess the driving behaviors of employees.

Driver Assessment (Resources)

Employers should consider various options to assess the driving skills of employees who operate motor vehicles while working. These include, but are not limited to, pre-hire driver screening tests; in vehicle monitoring systems; driver observation; and shadowing with drivers familiar with specialized motor vehicle operations such hauling equipment and driving large vehicles. 

Journey Management (Resources)

Employees and employers should assess the necessity and risk involved with each work-related trip.  Minimizing travel reduces the risk of employees being involved in a motor vehicle crash.  If an employee must drive, choose the safest route, time of day, vehicle, and environmental conditions possible for each trip.  Employees and supervisors should communicate these plans to ensure that business needs are met in the safest way possible. 

Applicable Laws (Resources)

Employers should be familiar with the applicable federal, state and local laws related to operation of motor vehicles.  An effective occupational driving safety program should support and emphasize those safety regulations.

the Driver

If your employees operate a motorized vehicle as part of their job, you should be aware of and combat the common causes of roadway crashes and related injuries.

 

 

Distracted Driving | Seat Belt Use| Impaired Driving | Fatigued Driving |
Wellness/Fitness to Drive | Driver Training

Consider using the Occupational Driving Safety Program Review Checklist (English version|Spanish version) to assess your company’s program.

Occupational Driving Safety Programs: The Driver Webinar

Our Brains on Technology: A Risky Combo for Drivers Webinar


Distracted Driving (Resources)

Effective occupational driving safety programs should address minimizing distractions while employees are driving. Drivers staying alert and focused on the task of driving are critical in preventing motor vehicle collisions. Any activity other than driving is considered a distraction. It only takes a moment of inattention for a crash to occur.

Distractions include, but are not limited to, use of electronic mobile devices for calling, texting, or watching; eating; drinking; smoking; reading; applying makeup or other grooming activities; reaching for items; and focusing on other passengers in the vehicle.

Employers should incorporate local jurisdictional laws relating to the use of electronic devices into their programs and employees should comply with those laws. 

Seat Belt Use (Resources)

Every employee in a motorized vehicle should wear the proper restraint.  According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 2,587 motor vehicle traffic crashes occurred in Texas in which unrestrained vehicle occupants sustained fatal or serious injuries in 2014. Wearing a seat belt helps keep occupants from being ejected in a crash and increases the chances of surviving by 45%. In pickup trucks, that number jumps to 60%, as those vehicles are twice as likely as cars to roll over in a crash. 

Impaired Driving (Resources)

Any employee who operates a motor vehicle at work should understand the dangers of driving while impaired.  Driving skills can be affected by alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medications.  While drug and alcohol testing is required for certain types of driver licenses, testing all employees who drive, or those that are involved in motor vehicle accidents, are considerations for employers to create a culture that does not permit this type of behavior.  

Fatigued Driving (Resources)

Fatigued driving can be as dangerous as impaired driving or falling asleep behind the wheel.  Reaction times are diminished and sleep can overcome a driver quickly, even when they try to fight it.  Employers should consider the effects of working long shifts or working evening and night shifts on employees when making driving assignments.  Unnecessary travel should be avoided or alternative driving arrangements should be made if an employee is too fatigued to drive.  Employees should understand the importance of getting enough restful sleep and staying alert while on the job. 

Wellness/Fitness to Drive (Resources)

Employers should consider the health and fitness of their employees who drive. While some driver licenses require medical assessments, any employee that operates a motorized vehicle should be able to perform the task effectively. The abilities to react and maneuver are important for driving a motorized vehicle. Employees should understand that common factors like food choices and use of prescription and over-the-counter medications can affect alertness while driving. 

Driver Training (Resources)

Employers should train all employees who operate motorized vehicles on the job in all aspects of the company’s occupational driving program. The training should explain to employees the risk of driving and to treat the vehicle and roadway as part of the workplace. At a minimum, it is recommended that the training cover:

  • Employer occupational driving policies
  • Seat belt use
  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Fatigued/fit driving
  • Knowing where to look while driving and focusing on what is important while behind the wheel
  • How to operate and maneuver the type of vehicle they will be driving
  • Sharing the road with other types of vehicles and their abilities and limitations
  • Aggressive driving
  • Defensive driving skills
  • Avoiding rear-end collisions
  • Avoiding backing and related collisions
  • Tips for driving in adverse weather conditions
  • Tips for checking road conditions
  • Vehicle maintenance

the Vehicle

If your company has a fleet, or if employees drive personal or leased vehicles as part of their job, you should ensure that the vehicles are mechanically sound and operating properly.

Operating Different Types of Motor Vehicles | Vehicle Maintenance

Occupational Driving Safety Programs: The Vehicle and The Environment


Operating Different Types of Motor Vehicles (Resources)

Employees who drive should exhibit skills and/or be trained in operating the types of vehicle(s) they use for work, as well as the maneuverability and capabilities of other vehicles with which they share the roadway or construction zone.  Examples of different types of vehicles include commercial motor vehicles, utility vehicles, passenger vehicles, heavy equipment, and motorcycles. 

Vehicle Maintenance (Resources)

Employers that have fleets or that provide motorized vehicles for employees to operate should have vehicle maintenance programs in place to include inspection, repair, and preventative maintenance processes and responsibilities.  If personal vehicles are being used by employees at work, employers should consider the risks involved with the condition of those vehicles and their maintenance.

the Environment

If your employees are in a motorized vehicle as part of their job, they should be prepared for conditions outside of the vehicle that might affect their trip.

Adverse Weather Conditions | Work Zone Safety | Road Conditions |
Other Drivers

Occupational Driving Safety Programs: The Vehicle and The Environment


Adverse Weather Conditions (Resources)

Driving in inclement weather can affect both the reaction time of the driver and the performance of the vehicle.  Before embarking on a trip, drivers should check weather forecasts and avoid driving in inclement weather, if possible. 

Work Zone Safety (Resources)

Employees who work in work zones are particularly vulnerable to the hazards of moving motorized vehicles, both in the roadways and in the work zones. These employees should wear high visibility personal protective equipment (PPE). Vehicles used in and around work zones should have markings and lights to make them visible to other employees in the work zone and passing motorists. Work zones should be adequately marked with signage to inform those traveling in or near the zone of what to expect.

Likewise, employees traveling through work zones should remain alert to roadway changes and follow all speed limits and directional signage. 

Road Conditions (Resources)

In addition to weather elements that can affect road conditions during weather events, the actual surface, structure, and stability of roadways can cause adverse driving situations.  Roads and other infrastructure can become damaged after severe weather such as flooding and icing.  Structures may be compromised by motor vehicle crashes or the sheer amount of traffic using the roads.  Road construction projects often change the road surfacing, speed limits, and lane placement.

Uneven lanes, potholes, closed shoulders, road grading, and other road changes can be dangerous if the driver is not prepared.  Employees who drive should be aware of the conditions of the roads anticipated on their trips by checking local and state traffic reports and highway conditions. Avoiding unfavorable road conditions, or at least planning ahead and being prepared for them, can help prevent motor vehicle collisions.

Other Drivers (Resources)

An effective occupational driving safety program should not only set the employer’s expectations for its employees’ safe driving habits, but also prepare those employees for encountering bad driving habits of others.  Anticipating other motorists’ actions, avoiding aggressive drivers, and driving defensively can help reduce the risk of driving on the job.



What things can employers control to limit their risk?

Occupational Driving Safety infographicA variety of industries and occupations require employees to drive or to be exposed to hazards associated with driving. For employees who drive as a primary function of their job or for a portion of their job duties, roadways and work zones are likely the most dangerous part of their work environment.

To minimize the occurrence of these types of transportation related incidents in the workplace, DWC encourages employers to implement effective occupational driving safety programs that address driving and vehicular hazards. In addition, DWC encourages employers to implement and enforce written safety programs and policies for working in and around motor vehicles.

Employers should ensure that their programs and practices comply with applicable federal, state, and local regulations. DWC recommends reviewing your occupational driving safety program at least annually, or when changes occur in your workplace.

Download the infographic (PDF).

 


Other Resources

General Occupational Driving Safety ResourcesConstruction-Related Occupational Driving Safety ResourcesTrucking Occupational Driving Safety Resources

Oil and Gas-Related Occupational Driving Safety ResourcesOccupational Driving Safety Training ResourcesOccupational Driving Safety Emergency Response Resources

Acronym Key

General

Construction 

Truck Transportation 

Oil & Gas 

Training

Emergency Response




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