Young Drivers at Work: Keep Them Safe

Driving is an important part of daily life at many businesses–from tow truck operations and construction, to logistics, delivery services, and more. 

What if the driver is young? 

Young drivers, aged 16-24, are gaining experience and developing their skills every time they get behind the wheel. Are there steps for an employer to take to make sure that young drivers gain experience safely and prevent motor vehicle crashes?

The National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released some guidelines to promote safe driving for young people who drive as part of their job:

Before hiring a young worker to drive:

  • Check that the applicant has a state license valid for the type of driving their work will require
  • Check the applicant’s driving record for moving violations, impaired driving, and license suspensions
  • Make sure the applicant has completed a state-approved driver education course (if the driver is under age 18)

Before assigning a young worker to drive:

  • Make sure the driving assignment follows state graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws
  • Provide driver training at the time of hire that includes making young drivers aware of the safety features of the vehicle they will be driving
  • For less experienced drivers, consider implementing policies that are more restrictive than the requirements outlined in laws
  • Require the use of seat belts at all times for all occupants

Prevent distracted driving:

  • Make young workers aware of state laws on distracted driving
  • Ban texting and hand-held phone use while driving, and consider banning the use of hands-free phones
  • Require workers to pull over in a safe location if they must text, make a call, or use their hand-held device for purposes such as looking up directions

Prevent impaired driving:

  • Set policies that prohibit operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription and over-the-counter medications that could affect their ability to drive safely

Conduct periodic motor vehicles record checks and on-the-road driving evaluations to check any risky driving behaviors and areas for improvement.

Remember: Commercial driver’s licenses for operating of large trucks or buses are generally issued only to persons 21 years of age and older. Before allowing a young driver to operate a truck or bus, make sure that the driver is of age, properly trained, and licensed.

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