The costs for businesses when their employees are involved in car accidents on and off the job are staggering, at $72.2 billion a year, according to a new study.
The “Cost of Vehicle Crashes to Employers ― 2019” study, released in March 2021 by the Network for Employers for Traffic Safety, looks at how much car crashes cost businesses in terms of workplace disruption and liability costs.
While the costs to companies when their workers are in on-the-job automobile accidents are easily measured, the costs to businesses when their employees miss work after accidents while off the job are almost as steep.
Employers end up paying in some way for injuries to their employees on and off the job, and to their dependents. As many as 1.9 million workdays are missed due to both on- and off-the-job accidents, resulting in lost productivity and training someone new to do the work.
For on-the-job accidents, there are also workers’ compensation implications for each time an employee is injured in an accident, which can drive up your rates. Also, your firm would likely also be held liable if one of your driving employees injured a third party and/or damaged their property.
- A fleet of 1,000 vehicles averages costs of $1.1 million per year for property damage alone.
- A single non-fatal injury crash has an average cost of $75,176.
- A single fatal crash costs an average of $751,382.
- A single crash that only causes property damage costs an average of $5,483.
The top four causes of the accidents are:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, and
- Not wearing a seat belt.
What can you do?
With the above in mind, employers may want to consider holding meetings on safe driving for not only driver employees but all of them, since an off-the-job accident can result in injury or death to your worker or their loved ones.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has the following tips for employers:
- If you have a fleet, implement a fleet driver safety program and maintain complete and accurate records of workers’ driving performance.
- Check driving records of prospective employees and conduct periodic rechecks after hiring.
- Ask your workers to periodically provide documentation of their insurance and to report any suspensions, revocations and convictions for vehicle-related offenses.
- Establish schedules that allow drivers to obey speed limits and follow hours-of-service regulations where they apply.
- Require newly hired workers to attend performance-based defensive driving courses, with mandatory refresher training at regular intervals.
- Implement a driver safety program that emphasizes the link between driver safety at work and driver safety at home. Safe driving in the workplace benefits the worker’s family by reducing the risk of fatality or disabling injury. In addition, lessons learned on the job can increase workers’ awareness of the importance of safe driving outside of work hours.
- In your training, emphasize the need for wearing a seat belt at all times.
- Have a zero-tolerance policy for talking on the phone and texting while driving, both of which are already against the law in most states. Require that any employee who needs to make a call, pull over first when it’s safe to do so, regardless of whether they have a hands-free unit.
Studies have shown that even talking with a hands-free device can be enough of a distraction to cause an accident.