Fleet Auto Safety Program: Minimizing Risks and Reducing Costs

Apr 25, 2021 | Business Insurance

Building a business takes a great amount of time, money, and hard work. But one major accident could shut down your business in a blink of an eye. One way to safeguard your business is to put up strategic planning on minimizing the risk and reducing costs of your fleet management. The best way to minimize the safety risks of your business is to plan a reliable fleet auto safety program. It will address important safety aspects of your fleet operation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicular accident is the main cause of job-related deaths in the USA. Around 29,000 workers died in a work-related vehicular accident from 2003 to 2018. Work-related injuries and death claims have cost billions of dollars to businesses. In a step to prevent automobile accidents related to work, it is recommended to invest in an efficient fleet auto safety program.

Various business industries like construction, pharmaceutical, equipment dealers, etc. involved fleets of vehicles. A well-constructed fleet motor vehicle safety program should focus on driver safety, motor vehicle use, maintenance, and compliance with government regulations. It can help businesses to minimize the risks of accidents and reduce operational costs.

Benefits of utilizing auto fleet safety program:

  • Protection of drivers
  • Cut down risks of accidents and crash
  • Preserve the company’s brand and image
  • Lessen auto fleet downtime and repair expenses
  • Complete compliance with driver and vehicular regulations of the government
  • Access to discounted insurance premiums

Components of an Efficient Fleet Auto Safety Program

The company should establish safety as one of its core values. A fleet motor vehicle safety policy should be thorough and up-to-date. The fleet safety program policies and procedures should be concise and consistent. These components can serve as a guideline in creating an efficient fleet risk management program that is suitable for your business.

  1. Management Support

Commitment and support should come first from the top management. Management initiative will show the company’s commitment to safety. Management’s display of support to the fleet safety program will encourage the commitment and compliance of all employees in the institution.

  1. Driver Authorization Protocol

To effectively execute your fleet safety program, you must properly identify who drives for your company. All employees using company-owned vehicles for work like delivery drivers, construction machine operators, technicians are part of your fleet operation. In addition, employees who use personal or rented cars for work purposes are also fleet members. Training, business trips, and customer visits are examples of work-related activities. It is important to identify who drives on your company’s behalf to analyze the extent of risks of vehicle exposure of the company. 

  1. Comprehensive Recruitment Process 

Plan standard hiring qualifications and meticulous screening methods for job driving roles. Hiring experienced and qualified drivers greatly minimizes the risks of accidents and potential financial claims.

Essential steps in the recruitment process should include:

  • Employment Background Check

Applicants should provide a thorough employment history containing driving experience, work history, training attended, traffic violation, and accident history. It is important to conduct a proper verification from the previous employer. 

For regulated commercial vehicles, aside from the background check additional information like drug and alcohol history may be necessary. It is advisable to check the requirements needed from the commercial regulatory agency.

  • Driving History Investigation

Review the official driving records of the applicant. You may check it through the national driver licensing agency. For bus operators and commercial trucks, you can use the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) for a corresponding fee.

  • Interview

An interview is essential in the recruitment process as it enables the employer to gauge the applicant’s skills, experience, and personality. It will help in determining if the applicant fits the job role and qualifications.

  • Road Test Assessment

It is used to assess the applicant’s skills in driving. During the road test, make sure to provide a vehicle matched to what the applicant will use on the company’s behalf. This will help in properly assessing the applicant’s knowledge of the vehicle and safe driving practices.

For regulated commercial vehicles, check the road test qualifications from the regulating agency.

  • Pre-employment Drug Testing

It is important to screen applicants for drug use as it affects safe driving practices. Regulated commercial vehicle drivers are often required to undergo drug testing. Make sure your pre-employment drug testing policy complies with pre-employment, regulatory agency, and drug testing rules.

  • Documentation

Proper documentation is the key to an organized and efficient recruitment process. It will also serve as evidence in case of negligent hiring claims.

  1. Driver Qualification Standards

It is best to plan qualification standards for all employees regardless of whether they are newly hired or senior employees. All employees should meet the standard requirements to be allowed to operate on behalf of the company.

Recommended Standard Driver Qualification to ensure fleet safety:

  • Length of Experience

For small vehicles, select drivers with at least 1-year related experience. For large and commercial vehicles, it is best to require at least 2 years of related experience. 

  •  Licensing

Drivers must have applicable valid licenses for the type of vehicle they will be operating. For large and commercial vehicles, make sure the license has no driving restrictions. It is important to annually review the license qualifications of all employees.

  • Driving History

It is vital to the fleet auto safety program to review applicants’ driving records and violations to ensure safe driving practices. For existing employees, it is also important to review driving records annually to ensure continuous excellent performance.

  • Physical Evaluation

Drivers must undergo an annual physical examination to ensure they are physically capable of performing their job roles. Ensure that employees are medically fit to work before driving on the company’s behalf.

  • Drug and Alcohol Testing

To further strengthen the fleet auto safety program, it is also recommended to do random drug and alcohol testing on all drivers. Drug and alcohol testing policy should comply with employees’ rights and legal requirements.

  1. Driver Behavior Evaluation and Monitoring

It is highly recommended to do regular performance evaluations to ensure driver’s compliance with safe driving practices. One way to track employee performance is through an annual verification procedure that involves reviewing employees’ safety performance for the past 12 months. 

Annual driver safety performance review should include the following: 

  • License validity
  • Accidents and traffic violations record
  • Company Safety Record (violations, incident report, accidents, etc.)
  • Customer and Colleague Feedbacks
  • Medical Certification (fit to work)
  • Insurance coverage for employees 
  • Routine monitoring
  1. Driver Training Program

One of the most effective ways to continuously ensure safe driving practices of drivers is to provide various safety driving training. It is noteworthy to educate all employees with up-to-date safe driving information and techniques. 

  1. Standard Operating Procedures and Policies

It is important to relay the company’s expectations about safe vehicle use. Invest time and money in creating reliable policies that will help minimize risks of fleet safety. It should be enforced on all employees driving on the company’s behalf. 

Fleet safety program policies and procedures must include these important safety features:

  • Accident Response Policy

Prepare concise step-by-step instructions regarding accident reporting and response plans.

  • Traffic violation and accident reporting

It is highly suggested to require all employees to report any traffic violations and accidents, including personally owned vehicles.

  • Qualification Standard

Employees must meet the standard driver qualification requirements. Those who fail to follow the qualification standards must be prohibited from operating company vehicles.

  • Use of Mobile Device and Distracted Driving

The use of mobile devices while driving should be strictly prohibited. Any form of activity that will distract the driver from driving should also be prohibited. This includes hands-free phone calls, eating, and drinking.

  • Disciplinary Action Measures

Employees who violate the company’s policies must be subjected to disciplinary actions.  Disciplinary actions will depend on the degree of violation.

  • Drug and Alcohol Testing

Employees must be informed about drug and alcohol testing procedures, purpose, and repercussions once testing positive.

  • Driving Impairment

Alcohol and controlled substance use, illness, and fatigue can cause impairment in driving. All employees who are under these conditions are prohibited to drive on the company’s behalf.

  • Work scheduling and rest requirements

To minimize the risk of accidents, it is recommended to set a reasonable work schedule. Ensure adequate rest for all employees and avoid conflict in schedules. Commercial vehicle drivers must adhere to the standard hours of service mandated by the regulating agency.

  • Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance

Instruct employees to do a regular visual inspection of used vehicles and report any vehicle issues immediately.

  • Personal Use of Company Owned Vehicles

Establish a regulation regarding personal use of company vehicles including employees’ family members.

  • Insurance Coverage

Apart from getting motor fleet insurance, employers should also keep in check for employees using personally owned vehicles when conducting business activities. It is highly suggested purchase a non-owned auto coverage policy to ensure protection to your employees and avoid possible liability claims.

  • Safe Driving Procedures and Protocols

Convey the company’s expectations of safe driving to all employees. Provide clear guidelines about driving speed and distance, safety restraints, and parking restrictions. 

  • Company Procedures and Protocols

Provide employees with complete operational procedures regarding company vehicle operations such as communication, routing, fuelling, and cargo handling.

  1. Motor Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Procedure

Establish a precise fleet vehicle inspection and maintenance procedure to ensure vehicles and equipment is in good running condition. Inspection and maintenance procedures may vary according to vehicle type, usage, and manufacturer’s recommendation. For special and regulated commercial vehicles, a particular procedure must be adhered to. 

Fundamental Details of a Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Procedure must include:

  • A written manual of vehicle inspection and maintenance procedure
  • Vehicle pre-trip/post-trip inspection checklist
  • Regular inspection from a certified mechanic
  • A method of reporting and repair of mechanical issues
  • Motor Vehicle Specifications (average age limit, quality, and safety features)
  • Thorough documentation of all inspections and repairs done
  • For special and regulated commercial vehicles, an evaluation of roadside inspection outcomes and follow-up procedures. 
  1. Accident Reaction Policy

In the event of an accident, it is crucial to have an existing efficient and professional response protocol. It is essential in gathering facts and damage control. This will also serve as a guide in developing strategies and procedures to minimize risk and reduce potential losses. 

Drivers should be educated on how to properly respond in case of an accident. Training regarding accident response is important as it will ensure drivers have an adequate understanding of the company’s policies and procedures. Proper and prompt reporting of accidents, determining the emergency need, immediate communication with the company and insurance representatives are some important accident response procedures.

Drivers must be informed of the process of drug and alcohol testing after an accident. They must be educated on important information to be collected at the scene. Drivers should also have the appropriate tools and documents ready in case of an accident.

The following information must be collected in case of an accident:

  • Identity and contact information of everyone involved in the accident.
  • Insurance details of drivers involved.
  • Description and sketch of the accident
  • Photographs of the scene of the accident

Important tools needed in case of an accident:

  • Accident report form and writing instrument
  • Company representative contact information
  • Proof of insurance (Insurance ID cards, Proof of Coverage Letters)
  • Mobile device to use for capturing accident scene
  • Emergency warning devices (Reflective Triangles, Lighted lamps, and fuses)
  • Spill Kit for vehicles transporting bulk liquids and hazardous materials

Regardless of who is at fault, it is wise to promptly contact your insurance representative. Delay in reporting may cause difficulty in the investigation of the claim and preparation of the defense, if ever necessary. It is essential to provide any known additional information, including legal letters of correspondence.

It is important to conduct data analysis and problem identification after the accident. By analyzing and identifying the cause of the accident, it will help in planning countermeasures to prevent future reoccurrences. 

Common ways to prevent recurrent accidents:

  • Driver-specific remedial actions like training and coaching
  • Safety training for all employees
  • Operational adjustments like better route selection, a suitable vehicle of choice, or proper scheduling.
  • Vehicle design modifications like improved mirrors, car lights, and decreased blind spots.
  • Integrating safety technology like anti-lock brakes, traction control, brake assists, and backup cameras.
  1. Government Policy Compliance

Complying with federal government requirements will further strengthen your fleet auto safety program. Compliance with the government requirements helps fleet safety management as it requires fleets to periodically check motor vehicles, drivers, and operational policies and procedures.

To obtain fleet insurance coverage, insurance companies require fleet operations to be compliant with government requirements. Noncompliance may result in denial of insurance coverage. The absence of an insurance policy increases operational costs, liability risks, and expenses.  

  1. Comprehensive Fleet Insurance

Motor fleet insurance is a multi-vehicle policy designed to cover various types of vehicles a company owns and utilizes for commercial usage. AmTrust Financial is one of the insurance companies in Denver, Colorado. They offer a comprehensive motor fleet insurance policy to diverse business industries with fleet operations.

Fleet insurance is an efficient and cost-effective way of managing your fleet of automobile insurance liabilities in a single policy. It is time-saving as it covers all vehicles in one policy and only requires a single policy renewal. It is much cheaper than individual vehicle insurance as insurance companies often give discounted premium rates for fleet insurance. 

Fleet insurance covers all types of vehicles owned and uses for a company’s business operations such as:

  • Taxi
  • Trucks
  • Any company-issued car
  • HGV
  • Minibusses

Types of Fleet Insurance:

  1. Third-party only

The cheapest and minimum amount of insurance business is legally required to purchase. It covers the third-party damage such as medical and repair expenses to another driver and his/her car. The downside of this policy is it doesn’t cover the damage to your vehicle and driver.

  1. Third-party, fire, and theft

This policy covers third-party damages and injuries. It also covers claims regarding stolen vehicles and damage to your vehicle due to fire.

  1. Full Comprehensive

The most expensive and inclusive policy. Full comprehensive insurance covers third-party injuries and damages as well as theft and damage due to fire. In addition, it also covers damage and injuries to your vehicles and drivers. It provides total protection to your employees and your business.

Every business has different insurance coverage needed. With the help of a competent insurance agent, you can determine the appropriate fleet insurance coverage your business needs. The first step in minimizing the risks and costs of your fleet operation is to have your fleet insured. With the appropriate fleet insurance coverage, you protect your business from legal liabilities and potential financial loss. 

Remember, “Preparation is better than cure.”

It is better to proactively identify possible safety risks and hazards than reactively deal with accidents when they arrive. It is much more cost-effective and time-saving. Invest in a reliable and effective fleet auto safety program and get your business protected.

What are you waiting for? Take the first step now and get the appropriate fleet insurance coverage your business needs. Contact Advantage Insurance Solutions now and be protected.