According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, work-related automotive accidents were the leading cause of fatalities among U.S. employees, with a total of nearly 19,000 crashes taking place. As a result, employers often find themselves bearing the majority of liability and costs that come from unsafe driving practices.
There are various steps business owners can take in ensuring their employees are operating company vehicles safely. New technologies allow for better monitoring of driving behaviors and address any issues that may be considered high-risk. Of course, there are other ways to monitor employee driving, such as checking for claims made on your commercial auto insurance policy or potential rate changes, but the tips below can help you identify problem behaviors before they become a liability. Here are a few ways to ensure employees are driving responsibly:
Create a Safe Driving Policy
If your company doesn’t already have a booklet explaining guidelines and best practices, this should be a first step in creating a more responsible driving culture. A safe driving policy should act as a comprehensive guide for employees to understand how to be responsible drivers when operating company vehicles. This handbook can include real-life risk examples, a maximum number of hours employees can drive in one go and outline the steps to take in case of an accident.
Employees should be encouraged to read the handbook on a regular basis, and assessed on their knowledge regarding the company’s safe driving policies. By keeping drivers on their toes regarding company guidelines, they are more likely to apply the techniques and practices in the handbook in their work-related commutes. Preparing employees to be cautious of potential hazards or problem areas can greatly reduce the risk of liability.
Keep Vehicles Well-Maintained
Keeping vehicles well-maintained is the responsibility of both the employer and employees. On one hand, business owners have the responsibility of keeping the vehicle in tip-top shape at all times. This means taking care of all regular maintenance factors including oil changes, tire and brake checks on a regular basis, along with other similar factors.
On the other hand, employees also have an obligation to address any issues that they discover as they drive company vehicles, and should be encouraged to take the car to a nearby mechanic or repair shop upon identifying a potential hazard. Employees should know that any expenses or costs relating to the vehicle will be reimbursed to them. This means that employees will not hesitate to address any issues that arise while driving, as they understand it will not impact their financial situation.
Monitoring & Telematics
With recent technological innovation, monitoring drivers has become more in-depth than ever before. Although employers should be wary of how invasively they monitor drivers, implementing telematic technology can assist in identifying problematic behaviors. Telematics allow for picking up on erratic driving patterns, constantly being above the speed limit, and other detailed analysis of how employees are operating company vehicles.
In addition to monitoring for unsafe driving behaviors, telematic technology can encourage safe driving by offering incentives to employees who drive most responsibly. Data derived from the technology can create leaderboards that identify drivers who consistently stayed within the guidelines of responsible driving behavior. This can create competition among employees to see who is the safest driver in order to win the incentives that employers provide.
By utilizing the practices above in combination with strategies that relate specifically to their company, employers can reduce their risk of being liable for injuries or accidents and keep employees safe in the process.