Incident Prevention Magazine

Tony Boyd, CUSP

Defensive Driving: How’s That Working for You?

How is your company’s driving safety performance? If you are like most, you’ve conducted defensive driving safety training companywide, invested large sums of money into these driver training concepts, hired this or that company to improve your employees’ driving safety awareness, and still there have been collisions, near misses and customer complaints about driver behaviors. Most likely, you’ve implemented safe driving rules, using programs like the Smith driving system or others, stressed maintaining safe distances and probably have an organizational policy of not using cellphones while driving, or at least being hands-free. Some companies have even placed cameras in truck cabs to record driver behaviors, hoping to ensure safe driving. And yet, for the most part, driving records, statistics and costs are still driving safety downhill (pun intended). The big question remains: How do you get every employee, on and off the job, to utilize defensive, safe driving techniques?

If I had the answer to that question, I would certainly share it with everyone, but there seems to be no magical solution. I’ve been in the electric utility business for 40 years and have seen the frequency and severity of collisions go up and down each year, just as you have. My commitment to defensive driving began about 20 years ago when I transferred from lineworker to the corporate safety department. It just made sense that if I had to teach defensive driving, assess driver behaviors and report to management about customer complaints concerning driver behaviors, I should make sure I practice safe driving techniques myself. In retrospect, I believe this is the key to improvement. If all executive management and supervisors commit themselves to demonstrating safe driving behaviors, others in the company will begin to follow.

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