Does your nonprofit have a driver safety program? In a recent blog, Driver’s Education for your Nonprofit’s Vehicles and Volunteers, we discussed the type of insurance policies needed to protect your organization’s volunteers, employees, and the vehicles driven by each. Today, we discuss putting together a driver’s safety program for your organization. Did you know the leading cause of work-related death is motor vehicle collisions[1]? This is proof that if you have employees or volunteers on the road for any amount of time helping to fulfill your organization’s mission, you need to protect that vital workforce and put in place a driver training and safety initiative TODAY.

Risk Factors
The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) states that motor vehicle crashes can cost employers $47.4 billion a year in medical care, property damage, lost productivity, and legal expenses[2]. When a worker (or volunteer) has an on-the-job accident, it can cost the organization an average of $16,500, and that cost can skyrocket to an excess of $500,000 if a fatality occurs. Off-the-job crashes also have a significant impact on an organization and the potential of replacing an employee, even if for a short period. Starting a driver safety program can help eliminate this kind of setback for your organization.

Going from Idle to Revved Up
Depending on the structure of your nonprofit, you may need to pull in various people from your leadership team to get your nonprofit driver’s safety program off the ground. Check-in with your human resources manager, risk manager, safety manager, accountants, and/or insurance representatives to help get you started. NETS and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommend the following steps for implementing a successful safety program:

  1. Start at the Beginning: Regardless of whether an employee is a fleet driver or offers to run errands for the organization, everyone needs to be familiar with the driving and safety policies. Start a new-hire driver safety orientation that reviews your nonprofit driver safety program and policies and any business practices tied to security.
  2. Remember Your Volunteers: Even if you don’t hire commercial drivers to operate large vehicles or transport clients, you can be opening yourself up to risk by asking volunteers to drive on behalf of the organization. Have volunteers running errands or driving around clients? Make sure they are included in the driving safety orientation courses and are familiar with the policies of your nonprofit driver safety program.
  3. Perform Motor Vehicle Record Checks: You likely check references when hiring employees or bringing on volunteers – add an MVR check to this process as well. Bad drivers can be screened out prior to hiring. Establish a crash reporting and investigation process and train your staff and volunteers on reporting accidents, near-misses, and crashes. Also, be sure to educate them on the importance of timely reporting of accidents and near-misses. These procedures should be well established and a written part of your nonprofit driver safety program.
  4. Put it in Writing: Develop a written statement emphasizing your nonprofit’s commitment to providing a safer driving environment. This could include an enforceable code of conduct that lists unsafe behaviors and actions that your drivers agree to avoid when driving and representing your organization. There are a number of templates available online to help get you started. Have your drivers sign that they understand the procedures included in your nonprofit driver safety program.
  5. Balance Discipline and Rewards: Create a strategy describing specific actions that will be taken if a driver accumulates a certain number of preventable violations (backing into a curb with minimal damage to the vehicle, a moving vehicle crash, etc.). While outlining disciplinary procedures, consider rewarding safe driving behaviors, and incorporate this acknowledgment into your performance management system. 
  6. Get Everyone Onboard: Everyone should participate in your nonprofit driver safety program. Being safe on an individual level leads to safety at the organizational level. 

Are you interested in learning more about nonprofit insurance? Contact local insurance agent Sandi Purinton with The Insurance Connection. The Insurance Connections helps nonprofits all over Georgia. We have offices located conveniently to the Metro Atlanta area (Acworth, GA) and Middle Georgia area (Eastman, GA).

Disclaimer: This material is for information only. This post does not provide legal or professional advice. Consult with your attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. The Insurance Connection welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status.