From vision to policy
It all starts with formulating a vision for safety in general and traffic safety in particular. Clearly your company is responsible for creating a safe working environment. And that is true even when employees are out on the road. So it is vital to be clear about how important traffic safety is for your organisation. Once you have formulated this vision, the next step is to translate it into policy. Consider your HR policy and CSR policy as well as your mobility policy. All of them can set guidelines for behaviour and make arrangements for safe driving: what behaviour is desirable and undesirable in traffic? What do you expect from your employees? What requirements do you set for your company cars? Be sure to offer your employees support in the form of insights and training to keep their knowledge of traffic rules and driver assistance systems up-to-date and improve their driving skills. Also pay regular attention to the subject of traffic safety within your organisation and make your efforts visible. Make sure that management sets a good example! Leadership by example is not an empty slogan: a manager who plays with their phone at the wheel will really make employees indignant, especially when managers are officially encouraging safe driving. Last but not least, let your employees have their say in your traffic safety policy. That helps to create a company culture where everyone feels responsible for safe driving behaviour.
Help is aware from elsewhere as well. Our roads and cars are full of technical gadgets that help you get from A to B more safely. But of course you have to know how to use them. There are two types of solution. Firstly there are solutions that focus on passive safety, such as airbags, safety belts and child seats. Secondly, there are active safety solutions, and these are developing rapidly. Known as ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), they are technological aids for safer driving, including features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping systems and Automated Emergency Brake Systems (AEBs). More and more cars are equipped with them. You might want to include guidelines on the presence and use of ADAS in your car scheme. And give your employees driver training to teach them what driver assistance systems are available and how to use them properly.
In the future, these ADAS will improve traffic safety by increasing the use of autonomous driving. A computer is able to make decisions very quickly. This is a useful safety feature on the road, where you need to make decisions in a split second. The ultimate goal is to develop self-driving cars. This process is progressing in phases, which can be expressed as SAE Automation Levels.
SAE Automation Levels
- No automation: The car has no automated functions: the driver does all the driving.
- Driver assistance: The driver drives the car, but some assisted functions may be included in the design.
- Partial automation The car has automated functions such as automatic gears and steering, but the driver must remain involved in the driving and monitor the surroundings at all times.
- Conditional automation: The driver is necessary but does not need to monitor the surroundings. However, the driver does need to be ready to take back control of the car at all times.
- High automation: The car can do all the driving under certain conditions. The driver must have the ability to drive the car.
- Total automation: The car can do all the driving under any conditions. The driver can opt to drive the car.
We are currently in the third phase: Partial Automation. This is an intermediate phase with a certain degree of risk, since the car can already independently monitor its surroundings, but the driver still needs to be able to take control in specific situations. The risk in this phase is that you are less alert because you don’t need to pay much attention to the road most of the time. But this increases your reaction time by 2 to 10 seconds! That is often too long to prevent an accident. So it is important for your employees to be aware of these risks and know how to handle these driver assistance systems properly.
10 tips for coordinating road safety with your employees
- Make specific arrangements for using a smartphone in the car.
- Set a good example as a manager.
- Set out binding arrangements in the mobility policy.
- Include these arrangements in the employment contract.
- Give regular feedback on the arrangements.
- Communicate about traffic safety in your organisation.
- Offer driving skills training, such as the Athlon e-Driver and Athlon Driving Skills Training.
- Offer alternative transport or make your employees aware that it exists.
- Use digital tools: Athlon can assist you with this.
- Inspire other companies through your social media channels.