Use these safe driving tips to help you better manage your drivers
Particularly now, during the coronavirus pandemic, you may be using several of your employees as delivery drivers. That’s why we’re offering these safe driving management tips for you as a tribal business owner.
Whether you have a fleet of vehicles, just one delivery van, or if employees use their own vehicles for business purposes, these safe driving management suggestions can ultimately save you money. They can help reduce the risk of collisions, liability and workers’ benefits liability, just by spending a little extra time in hiring and training drivers.
“But I only have one delivery truck, so this really doesn’t apply to me,” you may say. On the contrary: You 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.
Hiring a driver
If you hire seasonal drivers, start your hiring process early so that you 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 driving 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 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 employees use their own vehicles on-the-job, these safe driving 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 your 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 acceptable, 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 you have written records/files.
Consider requiring driver training to promote safe driver management
If you have employees who drive frequently on the job, then consider periodic training for these drivers. Multiple online courses are available for minimal cost.
Communicate driver requirements consistently
Regularly remind your 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, you need to document all of these efforts. In a lawsuit, this documentation will pay off.
Running your business and making a profit consumes much of your time. It’s our job as your insurance provider to remind tribal business owners of potential risks you face, such as vehicle liability, and help you institute safe driver management steps to mitigate these risks. We’re happy to provide additional resources or help. Just contact your broker or Tribal Risk Manager Mark Sherwood at [email protected].