Work Safe

Defensive Driving

Employers pay a high price for alcohol and drug abuse; alcohol is a contributing factor in 39 percent of all work-related traffic crashes. Alcohol, certain prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs can all affect a person’s ability to drive safely due to decreased alertness, concentration, coordination and reaction time. By taking a tough stance against driving under the influence, you can protect your workforce and your company against unnecessary risks.

Compelling facts and figures
When communicating with your employees, make sure you stress the importance of keeping a clear mind and steering clear of other drivers under the influence on the road. Use these statistics to drive home the sobering reality of impaired driving:

  • Alcohol use is involved in 40 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes, representing an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 30 minutes. It is estimated that three in every 10 Americans will be involved in an impaired driving-related crash sometime in their life.
  • Alcohol involvement is highest at night (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.), on weekends and on holidays.
  • Driving skills, especially judgment, are impaired in most people long before they exhibit visible signs of drunkenness.

Driving smart decisions
Make your employees aware of your policies for drug and alcohol abuse. Save and customize this sample policy for your workplace:

•  Alcohol and substance abuse policy (sample)

Talk openly about how to make smart decisions and encourage actions that discourage the likelihood of impaired driving:

  • Decide who is the designated driver before a party starts
  • Be the kind of co-worker who will take the keys if someone has had too much to drink
  • If you’re impaired, make the safe choice—ride with a designated driver, call a taxi, stay where you are, or call a sober friend or family member

Tips for spotting an impaired driver on the road
Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol often display certain characteristic driving behaviors. Educate your employees on how to avoid these drivers by looking for these warning signs:

  • Weaving, swerving, drifting or straddling the center line
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Driving at a very slow speed
  • Stopping without cause or braking erratically
  • Turning abruptly or responding slowly to traffic signals
  • Driving with the window down in cold weather
  • Driving with headlights off at night

If you or your employees spot an impaired driver, stay a safe distance from their vehicle and alert the police that there is an unsafe driver on the road.

Not only will you be a safer driver, but you will also be in a much better position to defend yourself from an impaired driver.

Source: Guidelines for Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes, OSHA, NHTSA, NETS

Do you have questions about how Missouri Employers Mutual or the WorkSAFE Center can help your workplace? Contact us today to learn more about our resources and custom safety training.

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