By Jennifer Morgan, BWC Fleet Supervisor
The other day I was driving to work on a three-lane freeway when a silver Honda in front of me swerved left of center, which caused the mid-sized Ford in the left lane to jerk quickly to avoid making contact with the Honda. The Ford’s appropriate instinct caused a chain reaction in the left lane.
Meanwhile the Honda nonchalantly weaved back into its lane and then into the far right lane (without using signals). When I passed the Honda minutes later, I noticed that the driver was seemingly unaware of what just happened and what kind of trouble he caused. Of course, the driver of the Honda was on his phone, likely for the entire incident.
Last week, a driver – who acknowledged to witnesses that he was texting while driving – collided with a church minibus in an accident that killed 13 people in rural Texas. Last year, approximately 40,000 people died in a vehicle crash, the most deaths in nine years. Many sources say the cause of the crash increase is due to driving distracted – mainly cell phones.
As an agency that strives to prevent accidents and strives to promote safe environments, we encourage you to review your driving habits at home and at work. Especially if your company maintains a fleet, there are practices that you can help implement to make everyone safer.
As Fleet Supervisor for BWC, I am responsible for making sure our employees are safe on the road. With 309 vehicles in our fleet, a lot of driving occurs throughout Ohio. That’s why, in addition to driving background checks, we require all assigned drivers to complete a four-hour defensive driving course. The course is online so they can complete the course over a period of time, at their convenience.
Every year, drivers are required to complete an updated training program that gives them a reminder that safe driving is a good practice for everyone.
Take the pledge
In addition to training, we require drivers to sign a no texting pledge because we believe it is an important part of holding our drivers accountable for avoiding this distracting and unsafe behavior. You can encourage anyone to take the pledge for any type of driving, personal or work-related. The National Safety Council has a user-friendly pledge form here.
This time of year, we send reminders to our drivers that warmer weather brings potential hazards to the roadways. More pedestrians are out walking around. Children are riding their bikes in the street and more bikers in general are riding on the roads. More motorcyclists take to the roads this time of year as well. Drivers need to pay special attention and share the road. A quick reminder to your co-workers about these potential hazards can have a beneficial outcome, including saving a life. If you need advice determining what safety programs you can implement in your fleet, please call me at 614-441-0763.
BWC’s Division of Safety & Hygiene’s consultants are also available to answer your questions and assist your safe driving efforts. Call 1-800-644-6292 for more information.