Loss Control Insights for Contractors

Does Your Fleet Safety Program Contain These Six Components?

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Contractors of all kinds spend a lot of time and effort figuring out how to protect their assets. You might keep a locked storage container at a worksite to guard against overnight theft or install a security system at your office to prevent unauthorized entry. These are great ways to protect fixed locations and stationary equipment. But what about your fleet of vehicles and the employees who drive them? These are certainly considered assets, and they comprise a considerable portion of your company’s resources in terms of capital and future productivity. Unfortunately, they can’t be locked safely away behind a fence where you can keep an eye on them. Instead, they need to be constantly on the move to serve customers, deliver materials and complete jobs. Every mile driven in a company vehicle exposes your employees and organization to possible losses, and even with a small fleet those miles of risk exposure can add up quickly.

You can help protect these important mobile assets with an effective fleet safety program. EMC Insurance has made it easier to get started with our customizable fleet safety program templates. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your program, pay special attention to these six key components.

Control Who is Behind the Wheel

Before you hand over the keys for a company vehicle, you should make sure the driver is qualified to drive it. Not sure what makes a driver “qualified?” Check out our list of recommended driver qualification criteria.

  • An employee’s driving history is a good indicator of how they will drive in the future, so always check employee motor vehicle records (MVRs) before granting driving privileges.
  • Don’t limit your MVR checks to only new employees. You should review MVRs for all driving employees regularly (at least annually), even for long-term personnel.
  • Consider subscribing to a driver monitoring service that sends alerts when your drivers receive a violation—even if it happens during non-work hours or in a personal vehicle. EMC Insurance policyholders can get discounted driver monitoring services from SuperVision.

Provide Driver Training

Train your drivers on the requirements of your fleet safety program and any state or local regulations applicable to your vehicles. Training on safe driving techniques is also helpful. EMC provides policyholders with free online training, including courses on defensive driving and backing and parking. You may also want to include ride-along training for new drivers.

Decide What Use is Authorized

Restrict driving privileges for company vehicles to employees who are specifically authorized and listed as fleet drivers. Family members or other nonemployees should not drive company vehicles unless they meet the driver selection criteria and are granted special driving privileges. Remember that additional miles mean additional risk exposure, so allowing employees to use work vehicles during their personal time means you are more likely to experience a loss. Some companies have decided that the convenience of providing employees with a work vehicle isn’t worth the risk, and now keep all company vehicles at a central location where employees pick them up each morning.

Require Employees to Play By the Rules

Decide on rules that all drivers must follow and make sure your authorized drivers are well aware of them. Be prepared to take action if you are made aware that a driver is violating the rules. Consider these rule suggestions.

  • Seat belts – These should be required for all drivers and passengers while a company vehicle is in operation.
  • Traffic laws – This should be obvious, but drivers of company vehicles should obey all traffic laws including speed limits and traffic signage.
  • Driver ability and impairment – Drivers should not operate company vehicles if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs that impair their driving abilities. The same goes for drivers who are fatigued or injured in a way that might impair their ability to drive safely.
  • Electronic device use – Distracted driving is a huge problem and the cause of many collisions and injuries. Drivers should not be allowed to operate electronic devices while operating the vehicle. This includes cell phones, tablets and GPS navigation units. Remember, the FMCSA restricts mobile phone use for drivers of commercial motor vehicles and many states have instituted their own bans on texting or calling while driving.

Keep Vehicles in Good Condition

Quality maintenance can extend the life of your fleet and help make sure your vehicles are safe to have on the road.

Inspect and maintain your vehicles as recommended by the manufacturer. If any of your vehicles qualify as commercial motor vehicles, there are special requirements for inspections and maintenance, however daily vehicle inspections (guided by a checklist like this one) are a good idea for all vehicles you might operate. Find a good way to communicate to employees when maintenance is due, then make sure you track its completion. This can certainly be done manually, though you need to have a plan in place to make sure you aren’t scrambling at the end of every month to contact everyone. If this has been a problem for you in the past, you might be interested in the variety of subscription services and apps on the market that can keep track of this information for you and even automatically notify drivers of maintenance coming due.

Track Traffic Violations and Citations

Make sure your drivers know that they are responsible for any citation or tickets they receive, and that those must be reported to company management. Serious offenses, such as reckless driving or driving under the influence, should result in a suspension of the employee’s driving privileges.

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