July 1, 2019 | SambaSafety
How To Optimize and Enforce Your Safety Policy

How To Optimize and Enforce Your Safety Policy

Every single day, there are more than 16,000 car accidents in the United States alone. In half of them, someone suffers an injury. As an employer, you may not be able to completely mitigate the risk of car accidents among your employees and fleet drivers, but you can take precautions to make sure that your drivers are as safe as possible.

One such precaution is the creation and enforcement of a safety policy for everyone who drives a vehicle on the clock for your company. You don’t need to have a fleet of commercial drivers for these safety tips to apply to you. Any company whose employees or contractors operate any vehicle, including personally-owned vehicles, for work is liable for their actions and behaviors.

Here are some important tips to help employers build and enforce a good safety policy.

Communicate

Regardless of which rules you put in place, your safety policy will rely on transparency and communication if it’s going to have an impact. Just as safety is paramount in every piece of a factory’s operations, your company’s commitment to safety and the terms of your driving rules need to be in the front of your employees’ minds every time they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Small reminders can also help employees keep safety top of mind . A safety slogan in an email signature, mentions of driver safety in meetings, recognition of great drivers, and company-wide emails or newsletters with an emphasis on safety are all good ways to remind employees that safety is a priority.

Make A Fleet-Wide Policy

If you want your drivers to embrace a culture of safe driving, your policies need to be universal. A comprehensive driving policy should include a no-exceptions seat belt policy, continuous motor vehicle record (MVR) monitoring, a clear explanation of your MVR review policy for both new and ongoing drivers, the training that’s expected and available to your employees, the process by which infractions are reviewed, and whether the policy extends to personal vehicle use.

Furthermore, you need to ensure that the policy is written clearly and accessible to anyone and everyone that it covers, including new hires. You don’t want any room for confusion when it comes to the exact wording of a policy, how it will be enforced, or to whom it applies. Rules and the consequences for breaking them should be clear, simple, and consistent.

It’s also important that rules be consistently enforced. No one gets a pass on violating the safety policy — it doesn’t matter if you’re just driving around the corner, if you’re in a hurry, or if you’re the CEO — rules are rules. Inconsistent enforcement will lead to resentment and a lax attitude on safety.

Institute a Seat Belt Policy

Seatbelts are one of the simplest ways to foster a culture of driver safety, but nearly 30 million Americans still don’t buckle up on a regular basis. Make no exceptions to this rule. Whether it’s for short drives or long hauls, every person in a vehicle has to buckle up before it moves. Emphasize this policy in work vehicles and personal vehicles alike.

A seat belt policy isn’t the end-all, be-all of driver safety, but it serves as an excellent example of personal and corporate responsibility, as well as responsibility for the safety of others. Some companies even go so far as to put cameras on their premises so they can track what percentage of their employees arrive at work wearing a seatbelt. They then publish the results and incentivize compliance for everyone.

Emphasize Safety When Selecting Vehicles

Not every company owns their own vehicles, but if you do, you have the opportunity to choose vehicles that prioritize safety for drivers, passengers, and communities. Safe driving is a two-way street. It’s hypocritical to demand safe driving practices from your employees if you’re not offering them vehicles that can keep them safe and optimize their safe-driving practices.

If you do purchase your own company vehicles, be sure to emphasize their safety features to your employees and customers. Calling attention to the safety of your vehicles will remind your drivers that safety is a priority, encouraging a culture of conducting business as safely as possible.

Offer Recognition For Safety Accomplishments

Last year, a Cleveland bus driver made the news for driving 40 years — and 1.2 million miles — without a preventable accident. The standard set by the Cleveland RTA is that drivers have fewer than 14 preventable accidents per million miles, so his accomplishments were rightly celebrated.

You can do the same at your company, celebrating mileage and time milestones without an accident, moving violation, or unsafe behavior. Recognition can come in many forms — mentions in company newsletters, press releases to local news, commendations from executives, or even gifts — and drivers who see such recognition will know that safety is valued, emphasized, and rewarded.

Know The Value Of Continuous Driver Monitoring

Many companies only pull motor vehicle records for their drivers at the time of hire. For commercial drivers, they might pull records once a year. But a lot can happen in the other 364 days of the year between MVR checks.

If one of your drivers gets into an accident and injures someone, the other party’s lawyer will likely check their driving records. If it turns out that they had a DUI and an accident in the last few months, since the last time you checked their records, it will call into question why you were allowing this employee to drive for you in the first place.

That’s why continuous driver monitoring is so important. Rather than manually pulling (and paying for) a new MVR every month, SambaSafety monitors MVRs for changes. If a change is submitted to a monitored driver’s record, we pull a new one and let you know. If no change occurs, you don’t have to waste time and money checking a new MVR.

Make sure your drivers know that their MVRs are being continuously monitored. Not only will this policy create a culture of responsibility and accountability, but it will emphasize to them that your company will not tolerate unsafe driving practices.

It bears mentioning that an unenforced safety policy is almost worse than no safety policy at all. Not only creating a policy but also enforcing it uniformly without bias, automatically without human error, and in a timely manner is crucial.

You should also have practices in place to review new violations, assess their severity, and determine an appropriate consequence. Remember, enforcing safe driving habits isn’t just about avoiding a lawsuit — it’s about encouraging your employees to be positive members of your community and stewards of safety. A culture of safety is part of most other corporate functions, and driving should be no exception. Take the next step by reviewing Continuous Driver Monitoring: The Legal Landscape.

SambaSafety continues its focus on the FAST Act with a visit from Senator Cory Gardner to our Denver HQ

SambaSafety continues its focus on the FAST Act with a visit from Senator Cory Gardner to our Denver HQ

As part of our ATA-organized visit to select Congressional leaders involved in trucking safety regulation, key members of our Executive Leadership team met with Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and his team on April 11 in Washington, DC. Senator Gardner sits on Commerce Committee (oversees transportation) and the Transportation & Safety subcommittee. During the meeting both parties left wanting to continue the conversation and to build a deeper relationship.

 

On Friday July 12th, it was SambaSafety’s honor to host the Senator and continue our discussions on the critical issue of transportation safety. Senator Gardner met our talented Denver team and discussed our innovations leveraging data to help enhance the safety culture of our customers.

 

SambaSafety has been dedicated to the safety of drivers and communities for decades. To that end, we’ve been meeting with select congressional leaders who are directly involved in trucking safety regulation. Based on his background, Senator Gardner is uniquely positioned to make an impact on the regulations that will directly affect commercial truckers all over Colorado and nationwide.

 

Senator Gardner has also regarded transportation and infrastructure as high priorities throughout his tenure, emphasizing investment in infrastructure as crucial to supporting a growing economy. Colorado boasts one of the largest airports in the world, as well as major hubs for several national shipping companies, so Senator Gardner has always known the importance of shipping infrastructure for our state.

 

The Need for CSA Reform

 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program to better align the compliance and reporting process with the safety risks that actually cause crashes. An independent review found that while the CSA program is doing its job, it has not been able to keep up with the volume of truckers that it needs to oversee.

 

As a result, 86 percent of carriers nationwide do not receive a safety score from the FMCSA under the current CSA scoring system.

 

Upcoming Changes to the CSA System

 

In a report from the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine, it was noted that the current CSA system used inconsistent assessments, didn’t always account for fault in crashes, used measures that were independent to specific states, and was not predictive of a carrier’s future risk. 

 

As a result, the panel recommended a new, “more statistically principled approach” based on item response theory (IRT), which has been used in analyzing SAT tests, hospital rankings, and other large-scale statistical analysis.

 

In July of 2018, the FMCSA released a new plan for the CSA program, based on an IRT model. The details of the plan have not been released to the public, but SambaSafety’s own executive VP and GM of Transportation, Steve Bryan, has been sitting in on every meeting of the NAS panel as it develops its recommendations.

 

The main takeaway lesson has been that predicting future crashes is nearly impossible. “The existing CSA program is about predicting crash risk,” Bryan said. “None of us believe that ever worked. It does a terrible job. In some of the BASICs, some are not only not positively correlated, they’re negatively correlated, specifically the drug and alcohol BASIC — to where if you followed that logic, you should drink and smoke dope and get behind the wheel of a truck.”

 

Instead, the research indicates, carriers should focus on a culture of safe driving. Carriers will be analyzed based on patterns of unsafe behavior, rather than the much-maligned severity weight system that ranked carriers based on comparisons to their peers and recency of offenses.

 

It was an honor to host and continue the conversation with Senator Gardner. Not only was the conversation productive with regard to policy, but also a welcome opportunity to showcase our talent, our products, and our team.

Introducing Qorta

Introducing Qorta

SambaSafety’s Qorta provides access to critical driver information, turning data into action that makes roads and communities safer.

What Is Qorta™?

Qorta™ is a SaaS risk management and data analytics platform. The platform is designed to make driver safety simpler, more reliable, and accessible to any business whose employees drive for work on a regular basis.

More than just a database, Qorta™ injects intelligence and workflow into the data analysis process, allowing employees to act quickly, make informed decisions, and make their operations and communities safer.

What Can Qorta™ Do For You?

If you have employees or contractors driving for work, you need driver data monitoring. Any time one of your employees drives for work, even in their own car, your company can be held liable for their driving habits, violations, or accidents. The risks and costs of poor drivers on your payroll can be staggering.

Keep in mind that a “driver” doesn’t only mean commercial truck drivers. SambaSafety has solutions to help you monitor every type of driver population.

With Q License, a product on the Qorta platform, you’ll know the driving status of every employee in your company at all times, not just if you pull their driving records every year. All you have to do is tell Qorta™ who your drivers are and we’ll do the rest. Near real-time monitoring will automatically alert you if any of your drivers’ records reflect new negative driver activity, when it happens. Each driver is scored and placed in a risk category, allowing you to focus on your highest risk drivers, coach drivers who are trending in the wrong direction and reward your best drivers. Having access to proactive information will prove your company’s commitment to safety and allow you to protect what’s most important — your company, your drivers, and your community.

Qorta™ also offers a number of workflow tools to easily keep your driver roster current. Bulk driver list upload and custom driver groups allow you to track each driver without missing crucial information, while normalized reporting from state to state unifies reporting when different violations don’t use the same language. You’ll receive new activity alerts and email alerts if anything changes, and you can manage and update driver information at any time.

Q Transportation combines data from state MVR and federal CSA data to provide the industry’s only complete driver and carrier scorecard view that helps companies with regulated drivers act on the most current insights and changes to driver records. Qorta™ is convenient and easy to use, allowing hiring and talent management experts to make more intelligent decisions, act in a timely fashion, and create safer operations and communities.

Qorta™ Is Designed To Elevate Your Safety Culture

Qorta™ isn’t just about keeping your company secure from liability, it’s about encouraging a culture of safety and responsibility among your employees. Every time they take the wheel, their driving habits will reflect on your company culture and your standing in the community. You want to make sure that they’re conducting themselves as well on the road as they do in the office.

Qorta™ Monitoring Solutions

The Qorta™ monitoring platform includes a wide range of utilities to help you keep your drivers and your company out of the press and court.

Q License

Q License provides detailed insights into high-, medium-, and low-risk drivers — including the ability to monitor status and violations, score each driver by risk level, purchase additional records on demand, sync MVRs, and obtain electronic releases — all in one easy-to-use platform.

Q Transportation

Q Transportation pulls CSA (compliance, safety, and accountability) data into a robust scorecard view, offering you actionable information so that you can make well-informed safety decisions. Q Transportation generates carrier scorecards, driver scorecards, IRT scorecards, and tracks daily inspections and violations for regulated drivers.

Run a Safer, More Efficient Company With Qorta

In the end, driver safety is about more than just minimizing company liability in the event of an accident. Your goal as a business owner should be to ensure that your employees and your community are kept safe by verifying that everyone who drives a vehicle on behalf of your company is properly vetted and monitored. Qorta gives you that peace of mind.