These safe driver management tips can help your client reduce their business risk
Whether your client has a fleet of vehicles, just one delivery van, or if employees use their own vehicles for business purposes, these safe driver management suggestions can ultimately save them money. Sharing these ideas with your clients can help reduce the risk of collisions, liability, and workers’ compensation liability, just by spending a little extra time in hiring and training drivers.
“But my client only has one delivery truck, so this really doesn’t apply to them,” you may say. On the contrary: They may face vehicle and equipment repairs, medical payments, damaged cargo and liability claims. Unscheduled vehicle downtime may occur, resulting in dissatisfied customers – not to mention the possibility of a lawsuit and punitive damages – and that’s even if employees use their own vehicles on the job.
The Hartford has provided a number of ideas to help employers manage their vehicle risks; we’ve incorporated a number of them in our safe driver management tips.
1. Hiring a driver
If your client hires seasonal drivers, advise them to start early so that they have plenty of drivers to choose from, rather than waiting until the need is there and then hiring a driver spur-of-the-moment. Safe driver management includes establishing minimum driving qualifications for driver hires, even if driving is just an incidental part of their jobs. While qualification standards should provide the same opportunity for all capable applicants, they should also reflect the qualities of your client’s best drivers. The Hartford suggests the following when setting standards:
- Applicable laws regarding commercial drivers
- Vehicle operating skills
- Safe driving record
- Physical requirements
- Transferable work experience
- Required job knowledge
- History of stable employment
- Mature attitude
In the interview process, make time to conduct a road test with each applicant. The road test should be at least 15 miles long and closely simulate actual conditions that the driver will encounter.
Before making the final hiring decision, investigate the applicant’s motor vehicle record (MVR). Their past driving record is indicative of future performance – namely, their tendency to cause a collision or break traffic laws. The Hartford recommends
- Requesting a transcript from each state in which the candidate held a driver’s license during the past three years
- Evaluating this record for reported collisions, traffic arrests and current license status against your client’s pre-established guidelines reflecting suitability for the job
If your client’s employees use their own vehicles on-the-job, these safe driver management controls can help reduce their risk:
- Require all employees who operate their personal vehicles on company business to provide proof of adequate limits of automobile liability insurance.
- Check with you as their insurance agent or broker and to see if $300,000 or even $500,000 in limits is adequate.
- Obtain periodic MVRs on all employees with driving responsibilities, including those who operate their personal vehicles on company business.
- Review their MVRs and evaluate them against written criteria. If an employee’s MVR is not unacceptable, the employee shouldn’t be allowed to operate their own vehicle or a company-owned vehicle on company business.
- Periodically inspect employee vehicles to ensure they’re in good operating condition and that all safety devices are in proper working order. These include headlights, signals, brake lights, backup lights, horn and windshield wipers.
- Document these inspections and MVRs so that your client has written records/files.
2. Consider requiring driver training to promote safe driver management
If your client has employees who drive frequently on the job, then they should consider periodic training for these drivers. Multiple online courses are available for minimal cost; as we mentioned earlier, if your client is part of our Automotive Aftermarket Program, then online training is available free to their employees.
3. Communicate driver requirements consistently
Encourage your clients to regularly remind their employees that if they drive on the job, they must keep up their insurance and maintain their vehicles. Explain that both their vehicles and their driving records will be monitored on an ongoing basis and will affect their job reviews and possibly their employment status. Again, your client needs to document all of these efforts. In a lawsuit, this documentation will pay off.
Running their business and making a profit is foremost in your commercial insurance clients’ minds. It’s your job as their insurance consultant to remind them of potential risks they face, such as vehicle liability, and help them institute safe driver management steps to mitigate these risks. We’re happy to provide additional resources or help. Just contact your marketing representative.