Creating a Crash-Free Culture: Walking the Walk

Originally published in NAEM 08/29/2019

Driver safety

A client recently shared a story about a customer calling their Customer Success Team while driving. The representative taking the call politely said, “I’m sorry, it is against our company policy to talk to callers who are driving. Please call back when you’re not driving.” What made this story especially interesting was that this Customer Success representative was in a non-driving role and not specifically part of the client’s road safety program or subject to their cell phone risk management policies.

This is a great real-world example of a safety culture that is becoming part of the organizational DNA. Following the customer’s complaint, the representative received full backing from their leadership and recognition in internal communications solidifying the response as company policy going forward!

While driver safety and risk management might officially be the responsibility of your company’s EHS&S, Risk and/or Fleet Management, it needs to be everyone’s responsibility, especially operational and commercial leadership. Whatever job title a person has within your organization, they have a shared responsibility for the safety mission. Making driver safety and risk management part of everyday discussions, activities, meetings, performance reviews, and annual conferences is where every organization can make a real difference to the performance and sustainability of its objectives. Driver safety isn’t a “campaign,” periodic training course, or “check-the-box” exercise. It needs to become a way of life.

When employing a new driver or an employee whose role involves a heavy driving element, such as an Account/Sales Executive, introducing that driver to your company’s safe driving policies is a positive step, but it won’t make a lasting difference to their safety on the road. Nor will annual refresher behind-the-wheel training, in isolation. What will make a lasting difference is ongoing safety messaging to maintain or guide safer driving behaviors, manage expectations and change at-risk habits. The absolute game changer is when the new employee hears regularly from his/her new manager, formally and informally, that their safety is something that the company takes very seriously and getting them home to their loved ones at the end of each day is a strategic imperative.

Now, if this were easy, we would all be doing it. This approach takes effort up and down and across the organization. Creating a crash-free culture® is everyone’s responsibility and, as we all know, it starts and is sustained by the C-suite. Making sure everyone is aware of your safety goals, mission and objectives is easy in the digital age. Annual refresher testing on key policies and expectations is also relatively straightforward — it’s living and breathing the mission that’s the challenge —  “if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk!”

Approach the project as a campaign. Set goals and targets and produce analytics to measure progress. In-house attitude surveys will keep you on track, as well as informal discussions, wherever possible. Dialing into conference calls or meetings while driving must become a thing of the past. While it may seem hard to embrace, many clients have reported an increase in productivity, well-being, creativity and profitability after implementing such policies.

Additionally, it’s important to leverage your behavioral telematics data — acceleration, braking, cornering, speeding, and distraction data — combined with your drivers’ crash and MVR violation history to identify your most at-risk drivers for further support and coaching. Telematics data alone cannot change driver behavior; it requires a holistic approach to achieve lasting impact.

Policy reinforcement training, behind-the-wheel training for new hires, smartphone telematics systems, license checking, eLearning, post-collision coaching, and performance reviews are all important parts of your risk management strategy. But, if you are interested in creating a crash-free culture that reduces your overall fleet cost and liability exposure and, above all else, lets your employees and your customers know their safety is important to you and your organization, take a moment to think about how safety becomes a part of everything you do.

About eDrivingSM
eDriving helps organizations to reduce collisions, injuries, license violations and Total Cost of Ownership through a patented driver risk management program. Mentor by eDriving’s comprehensive solution provides actionable behavioral insights to help organizations build a total view of driver risk within a company-wide crash-free culture®. eDriving is the driver risk management partner of choice for many of the world’s largest organizations, supporting 1,000,000+ drivers in 96 countries with research-validated solutions recognized by 70+ client awards.