Vehicle accidents remain as one of the top causes of injury among IMWCA members. Distracted driving has become a significant factor in the growing number of vehicle-related incidents, and the lack of seatbelt usage contributes heavily to the severity of vehicle-related claims. When the two factors are combined the compounded effect on large, costly injuries becomes staggering.
IMWCA has previously adopted a policy requiring members to adopt and implement a seatbelt policy that goes beyond state law. The result was a decline in seatbelt incidents for those members that adopted and consistently enforced the policy. Conversely, members that do not have a separate policy or have not enforced their policy continue to see significant losses.
The Safe Driver Manual has a model seatbelt policy that also covers off-road equipment and passengers. The model policy also clarifies who qualifies for the slow, route exception defined in state law, which is generally misinterpreted to be broader than it really is. In addition, the new model also makes clear that management is responsible for the enforcement of the policy.
The manual includes commonly asked questions, seatbelt facts and seatbelt-related training that IMWCA members can access through Learn.
Distracted driving has become a bigger issue as more employees rely on cell phones to communicate personal and work needs. The model policy defined distracted driving and sets guidelines for employees to follow to safely use personal communication devices. Some of the updates include use of hands-free technology that is now available in more trucks and heavy equipment.
The policy also addresses operating vehicles and equipment while taking medications, being ill or fatigued. Employers should review their policies on how to address employees that may be impaired due to illness or using medications while working. This is a policy very similar to what is by all Iowa League of Cities staff, and therefore followed by IWMCA administrative staff.
To help curtail the number of needless vehicle and equipment-related claims, IMWCA hopes that members will utilize this manual to give your employees and management more tools they can use to be safe drivers. At the end of the day, the manual is about getting wherever you’re going, including home, safe.
This manual was developed to assist IMWCA members with the development, training and enforcement of policies related to safe driving habits. The manual provides direction to employees and elected officials on improving the safety of all employees and elected officials while they operate vehicles and equipment for business purposes.