Beware of Pumping and Pedaling

There are many things people do wrong when driving. How can you stress the importance of safe driving to your employees? Here are a few tips.

While trying to mind my own business as I was getting my nails done this week, three young gals who had just had babies came in for a pedicure and sat right behind me. They talked for about twenty minutes about breast milk pumping. One complained about finding the time to pump. “How long is your commute?” one asks the time-strapped mother. “15 minutes,” she answers. “Oh, that’s not long enough to pump,” the advisor said.

“I want to read that police report,” I said to the gal doing my nails. A woman sitting a few chairs away said to me, “Oh, they do it all the time,” meaning the young women who breastfeed, I guess.

Something Tells Me It’s All Happening At the Zoo

Then the gal with time constraints said, “Well, we’re going to the zoo tomorrow, so I can do it then.” I couldn’t resist, at that point, not knowing if she meant she would pump while she walked among the giraffes or on the trip there, so I said, “Well, at least you’ll be among mammals.” They didn’t find that amusing.

I posted this conversation on my Facebook page because I found it so amusing and completely bewildering. The comments I received made me realize: pumping and pedaling is not an anomaly. One gal told me her friend’s daughter told her teacher she wanted to be when she grew up, “Just like my mom. She can breastfeed the baby, eat a hamburger, and drive with her knee, all at the same time.”

What Else Goes Wrong Behind the Wheel?

So if your employees are pedaling and pumping, I wondered what else they might be doing behind the wheel that might impact the small business owner. Since I’ve been out of front-line claims handling for a number of years, I decided to ask some of my friends who handle claims. Here are some things they find in police reports as they investigate claims.

  1. In a long-haul trucking accident that involved fatalities, the truck driver was reviewing pornography as he drove. He drove over the top of another vehicle, resulting in several fatalities.
  2. Shaving and driving are frequently reported.
  3. One adjuster reported his insured activated cruise control in a recreational vehicle then headed for a nap.
  4. Reading at stop signs is a frequent problem in accidents.
  5. Eating behind the wheel also contributes to many accidents.

How to Avoid Pumping and Pedaling and Other Unsafe Driving Habits

There are many things people do wrong when driving. How can you stress the importance of safe driving to your employees? Here are a few tips.

  1. Set the expectation at employee orientation that safe driving, whether at home or at work, is critical to job performance. How employees drive in their own vehicles is a direct indicator of how they will drive yours.
  2. Put safe driving reminders in pay stubs from time to time.
  3. Have employees sign a form when they use a pool car that clearly states they will wear their seat belts and obey all rules of the road.
  4. Let all employees know how much accidents cost your company. While you don’t have to identify the employee who had the accident, in your next meeting, for example, tell employees, “The accident where we rear-ended another vehicle cost over $120,000 to settle.” Employees understand money.
  5. Hold employees accountable for at-fault accidents. Make it clear in your personnel policies that any failure to work safely, including driving safely, can mean discipline up to and including termination.

Know Your Employees’ Driving Habits

From time to time, ride with your employees. Do they tailgate? Do they chat more than they drive? If so, a company-wide driver training may be in order. National Safety Council offers driver training in most states. One auto accident can devastate your loss history, so money spent to prevent auto and other accidents almost always pays for itself.

In the case of breast-pumping and driving, I cannot even fathom how to avoid this exposure. Perhaps your female managers who have had children can take your lactating Madonnas aside and offer some advice. Good luck with that.

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