Fleet safety first

24 April 2008

All companies with vehicle fleet exposures should develop a fleet safety policy outlining each driver's accountability for following the program. Include driver criteria, accident reporting requirements and procedures, cell phone safety policies, defensive driving, and other vehicle safety training requirements. It should be documented that each driver has read and understands the fleet safety policy.

Before employees are qualified to drive a company vehicle it is best to review a current motor vehicle report, research and document the driver's references and perform a pre-employment drug test. It is also wise to develop a company drivers list that identifies who can and, more importantly, who cannot operate a company vehicle. Some companies issue an employee operator card identifying what vehicles and equipment each employee may operate.

For driver eligibility, establish written company guidelines that include accident and moving violations, driving under the influence, and excessive speeding. Check with your insurance company to be sure your company policy meets their requirements. Most insurance companies have exclusions in their policies that limit who is eligible to drive your company vehicles.

Develop a company personnel usage policy. Are employee family members allowed to drive your feet vehicles? What restrictions are enforced? Consider having the driver participate in the insurance deductible if involved in an at-fault accident. Make sure company drivers know that all accidents will be reviewed for preventability. Set up an accident review committee and include the driver's fleet responsibilities in your annual performance review program.

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