How to Make Safer, More Knowledgeable Drivers—On and Off the Job

Posted on by Stephanie Pratt, PhD and Rebecca Olsavsky, MS

This blog was originally posted on

Picture1As an employer, what can you do to help workers understand and learn how to use safety features built into vehicles they drive for work—whether you provide these vehicles, or workers drive their own vehicles?

Newer vehicles have advanced safety features most of us could not have imagined several years ago. These safety features often operate without drivers being aware of them. In certain critical situations, though, some of them trigger the vehicle to take action to avoid a crash. But, research shows that drivers have uncertainty about many of the advanced safety features available today. Additionally, according to a survey conducted by the University of Iowa, 40 percent of people reported they had experienced a situation in which their vehicle acted in an unexpected way.

Vehicles that are driven for work may have more advanced safety features than workers’ personal vehicles, and workers may not drive the same work vehicle every day. As a result, workers may be unfamiliar with advanced safety features and not understand why their vehicles behave in a certain way. You as an employer can provide workers with resources like MyCarDoesWhat from the National Safety Council and the University of Iowa, a free interactive tool that answers drivers’ questions about safety features.

Did you know…


Automatic braking


Automatic Emergency Braking can apply the brakes—either gradually to maintain a safe following distance or even to bring your vehicle to a complete stop—to keep you from hitting the vehicle in front of you.


 Drowsiness Alert

Drowsiness alert lets you know if you’re drowsy and suggests you take a break when it’s safe to do so.



 Blind Spot Monitors

 Blind spot monitors warn you of cars in your blind spots. They may provide an additional warning if you put on your turn signal while there is a car next to you in another lane.



Explore more car safety features from MyCarDoesWhat.

As main buyers of vehicles, employers can influence vehicle safety standards. By buying vehicles with advanced safety features, employers raise the level of safety for the entire vehicle fleet. The result is safer vehicles for your own employee drivers, and safer vehicles for those with whom they share the road.

In the U.S., you can select company vehicles that have a “5-star” rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or that are a “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Global New Car Assessment Programme Fleet Safety Guide and Safer Car Purchasing Policy explains vehicle safety ratings in other parts of the world, and offers a Model Purchase Policy that employers can incorporate into their road safety management systems.

Understanding how today’s vehicles keep you safer isn’t just an on-the-job priority. Your employees can share information from MyCarDoesWhat with their teenaged children who are new to driving, or with parents who are experienced drivers but may be puzzled by what their car is doing or trying to tell them.

Whether you’re working to improve the safety of your fleet, or trying to keep employees and their families safe on the road, MyCarDoesWhat is a valuable tool to help create more knowledgeable drivers.

For more information on how to promote safer workplace driving, visit the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety.

Stephanie Pratt, PhD, is the Director of the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety.

Rebecca Olsavsky, MS, is a Health Communications Specialist Fellow in the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety.

NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety

Posted on by Stephanie Pratt, PhD and Rebecca Olsavsky, MS

9 comments on “How to Make Safer, More Knowledgeable Drivers—On and Off the Job”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    One of the safety features of the newer vehicles creates a serious hazard, in my opinion. If you approach a roadway that is at an angle, then it is extremely difficult to see vehicles that are approaching you from the crossroad. The reason for this is that the door pillars are so thick, because of the air bags within, which creates an obstruction of the intersecting roadway.

    My concern is — although there are safety features, it is best practice to be in control in defensive driving … what if the safety features fails and a driver is relying on the safety feature to kick in.

    We cannot lend ourselves to technology to function for the drivers. But technology is going forward at the cost of human desensitization of being a responsible driver.

    I still check my blind spots even though I have the technology to check this.

    As a car expert & content writer my opinion on this article is some what different that our government should implement a type of training and course program for all drivers which contains all the advanced security features. In this way they will not face any type of safety issue in future.

    The biggest cause of car crashes in South Africa is driver error. It is generally accepted that 85-90% of car crashes can be attributed to driver error. This includes not only the honest mistake or error in judgement, but also driver recklessness, driver inattention and many other factors.

    It is important that we strive both to reduce these errors on our side and adjust our driving to be more attentive and defend ourselves against the threats from errors by other users. These skills and techniques required are called defensive driving.

    When driving defensively, we’re aware and ready for whatever happens. We are cautious, yet ready to take action and not put our fate in the hands of other drivers.

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Page last reviewed: August 15, 2016
Page last updated: August 15, 2016