The first week of October 2016 marks the eighth annual Drive Safely Work Week, or DSWW. Over the course of this week, participating companies will attempt to encourage safe driving practices and raise awareness about common risk factors for accidents.
This year’s DSWW aims to raise awareness of safe driving practices among all employees (rather than just those who drive as part of their job description), meaning that all companies are invited to participate. Safe driving practices, however, will always be especially relevant to companies that employ people to spend their entire working day driving, such as delivery firms. In addition to this, employees of delivery firms typically drive much larger vehicles than other employees, including vans and HGVs, meaning that the damage done by a crash is likely to be more dramatic than in a car-on-car collision.
What Exactly Is the DSWW?
The DSWW is organised by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, or NETS. NETS is a partnership that aims to improve safety practices by employees and their families on and off the clock. The DSWW is a week dedicated to road safety, wherein participating companies use meetings and social media to raise awareness about road safety issues and encourage employees to be as sound as possible on the road.
US-based research shows that 94% of all traffic accidents are a result of driver behaviour. In other words, 94% of traffic accidents in the USA could be avoided if drivers were better informed about responsible driving practices. In light of this, the DSWW focuses on driver safety. Participating companies tend to emphasise the dangers of distracted driving and drowsy driving. For example, many drivers assume that making phone calls hands-free is safer than using a handheld phone, but plenty of research suggests that both options are equally dangerous. Similarly, while practices such as drunk driving are largely acknowledged to be dangerous, driving while tired is frequently overlooked – despite it being a major cause of accidents.
What Can Participating Companies Do, and What Are the Benefits?
Delivery firms are, of course, heavily reliant on road transport and many of their overheads relate to their fleets. Encouraging responsible practices among employees is therefore not only important from a safety point of view, but could help reduce overheads. Fewer accidents mean quicker deliveries, fewer injuries, less vehicle maintenance and a higher proportion of the fleet being roadworthy. A safer fleet also means a reduction in insurance premiums.
NETS has plenty of materials available online for any delivery firms interested in participating. Much of this material focuses on encouraging drivers to adopt a routine that allows sufficient sleep. Companies can also help by ensuring that drivers have sufficient time to take breaks where necessary, and that they are working in a relaxed, healthy environment.
If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, please don’t hesitate to download NETS’ DSWW materials, available online. Here’s a chance to keep your drivers and other road users safer, and to improve your fleet’s efficiency to boot.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching delivery firms with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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