If your business offers delivery, pickup or in-home services, your business faces certain risks that other franchises don’t. Having employees that drive for work and company vehicles that need to be serviced and maintained increases your exposure to accidents, claims and liability lawsuits.
One of the ways you can manage this risk exposure is by creating a safe driving program for your company vehicles and drivers. Safe driving benefits employees, customers and your business.
A safe driving program can reduce workplace injuries and workers’ compensation claims, protect franchise property and financial assets, and reduce the risk of a liability lawsuit.
Components of a Safe Driving Program
1. Involve Stakeholders in the Planning
Creating a successful safe driving program will involve both senior management and employee drivers during your planning phase. Participation by stakeholders at all levels ensures everyone is on the same page.
2. Document Policies and Procedures
Document in writing the purpose and goals of your safety program. Commit to reducing traffic accidents and injuries by taking specific steps and implementing policies about seat belts, hands-free phone use, banning alcohol and drug use, preventing distracted driving and so on.
3. Think About Driver Personal Safety
Sales work that requires driving ranks near the top of dangerous occupations. Plan for driver safety with surrounding awareness training, minimize carried cash and valuables and issue drivers a phone or radio.
4. Require Driver Agreements
Have employee drivers sign an agreement committing themselves to safe driving to help set expectations, increase awareness and positively influence behavior.
5. Conduct Driver Screening and Record Checks
Screen any employees who will be driving for your company to minimize initial risk. Poor driving records with DUIs, aggressive driving or other problems should be screened out. Continue to check driving records periodically.
6. Plan for Trip Navigation
Consider driver use of trip navigation. Dash-mounted GPS systems, hands-free devices and route checks before travel can reduce distracted driving, a leading cause of accident and injury.
7. Report and Investigate All Traffic Incidents
With a goal of eliminating preventable accidents, the safety program needs to study accidents that do occur. Require drivers to report all incidents. Have a process for determining how similar accidents can be prevented in the future.
8. Choose and Maintain Your Vehicles
Part of a driving safety program involves the vehicles themselves. When purchasing new company vehicles, choose models with high safety ratings. Ensure regular preventative maintenance and fleet inspections.
9. Design a System for Enforcing Policies and Procedures
Your organization should determine how to handle enforcement of the safety program’s policies and procedures, including policy violations that will lead to specific disciplinary actions or corrective measures.
10. Offer Safe Driving Rewards and Incentives
You can improve safety and your organizational culture by implementing rewards and incentives for employees who are safe drivers. Recognition, prizes and special privileges are common rewards for reaching safety goals.
11. Launch Training for the Program
When it is time to launch the safety program, ensure that your driver employees receive proper training. Focus on safe driving training, following company policies and procedures and understanding of your expectations and goals.
12. Ensure Rules and Regulations Compliance
Compliance with all laws, rules and regulations is also key. You safe driving program should meet employer, industry and government highway standards. See OSHA guidelines for more information about creating safe driving programs.
Reduce Risk and Protect Your Company
When you’re creating a safe driving program, it’s important to be in compliance with all the terms of your current insurance policies and that you adjust your coverage and limits to protect new drivers and vehicles.
Remember that your business can be held liable for any accidents or incidents involving your drivers, vehicles you own and potentially even those vehicles you don’t own. A key factor in claims is often the claim of negligence when screening, training or monitoring drivers. A good safe driving program can help protect you from such claims.
Commercial Auto Insurance coverage from Lockton Affinity can help you protect your organization from legal fees and damages when your fleet vehicles are involved in a crash. Get started today.