Keeping young workers safe behind the wheel

August 26, 2018

According to NIOSH, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths among people ages 16 to 24 in the United States. From 2003 to 2010, 843 workers in this age group died in on-the-job motor vehicle crashes.

Young drivers lack the maturity and driving experience of their older co-workers, NIOSH states. Other contributing factors include poor impulse control, difficulty responding appropriately to traffic hazards, a tendency to overestimate their driving skills, inconsistent seat belt use and distracted driving.

How employers can help

NIOSH offers tips for keeping young drivers safe on the job:

  • Limit driving to workers 18 and older. For information about when 17-year-olds can legally drive on the job, visit sh-m.ag/2q3PyLY.
  • Ensure workers assigned to drive have a valid state driver’s license.
  • Ensure all workers and passengers are wearing seat belts.
  • Provide young employees with driver training. “Employees of all ages who are expected to drive for work should receive driver training when they are hired, and periodic ‘refresher’ training thereafter,” NIOSH recommends.
  • Have policies in place for inclement weather, so young drivers don’t feel as though they have to drive in adverse conditions.

Employers should ensure compliance with inspection, maintenance, testing and retirement of vehicles. “Regular inspection and maintenance are critical for keeping vehicles in safe operating conditions at all time,” NIOSH states.

Have a written policy statement in place that covers not only your responsibilities as an employer to maintain safe vehicles, but what is expected of drivers. Provide workers with a list of consequences for noncompliance with any road safety policies.