- Carefully select and supervise
employees who will drive your vehicles.
Before you hire any prospective drivers for your company, even those who
will drive only occasionally, check their Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs).
Then periodically, recheck MVRs for all currently employed drivers.
Certain background checks may also be required by federal and state laws,
including reference checks, prior employer checks, and license validation.
Action Step: Develop,
document, and implement a formal driver selection program.
- Consider testing your drivers
for use of controlled substances and alcohol.
Any employer has the right to test potential drivers for use of controlled
substances and alcohol. And all employers whose drivers are required to
have Commercial Driver's Licenses must have testing programs in place for
controlled substances and alcohol.
Action Step: Learn more
about whether you're subject to alcohol and controlled substance testing
requirements, and if so, what those requirements entail. Check federal
requirements for controlled substances and alcohol testing.
- Implement a comprehensive
Your drivers represent your company. Make sure they're as well trained as
your sales or service representatives.
Action Step: Develop and
implement a comprehensive driver training program that encompasses: 1)
initial training, including company and vehicle orientation and defensive
driving techniques; 2) refresher training, designed to maintain driver
skill levels and update drivers on any changes in operation routes, new
equipment or regulations; and 3) remedial training, which should be
provided when any accidents or near misses occur or when you learn of
- Limit employees' personal use of
Do you provide company cars or trucks to any of your employees? If so,
have you made it clear how you expect your employees to use those
Consider limiting employees' use of company-owned vehicles for
personal reasons, perhaps based on certain geographical or time
considerations. And think carefully about whether you allow your
employees' family members, especially youthful drivers, to use your
- Make sure that employee vehicles
used for your business are properly insured.
If your employees use their own vehicles for company business, you'll want
to make sure that they have adequate personal auto insurance.
Action Step: Request
Certificates of Insurance from any of your employees who use their
vehicles for company business. You may also ask that your employees name
you as an "insured" on their auto insurance policies, which would indicate
to their insurance companies that their vehicles are used for business
- Maintain your vehicles
A little preventive care can go a long way in extending the life of your
company's vehicles, ensuring the safety of their passengers, and reducing
Step: Implement a comprehensive, documented vehicle inspection and
maintenance program covering: 1) preventive maintenance (regular oil
changes, vehicle lubrications, tire replacements, and system adjustments);
2) demand maintenance (as soon as any item needs to be repaired or
replaced, like light bulbs or wiper blades); and 3) crisis maintenance (to
address any breakdowns).
- Maintain records for all
Do you wonder when it's more cost-effective to purchase a new vehicle
rather than repair an old one? There's no need to guess, if you document
Step: Keep a file for each of your vehicles, including all vehicle
condition reports and maintenance/repair records. This information can be
very helpful in determining each vehicle's "break-even point."
- Caution your drivers about the
safe use of cell phones.
Drivers' use of cell phones is allegedly responsible for a growing number
of traffic accidents. Keep in mind that you may be responsible for any
damages caused by accidents involving your vehicles or your employees.
Action Step: If you
provide cell phones or radios to your drivers, it's especially important
that you establish a policy for their safe use. Make sure that you
document and distribute this policy to each driver.
- Establish a formal process for
reporting and investigating motor vehicles incidents.
Most accidents are preventable. It's important that you investigate any
accidents or near misses involving drivers of company-owned vehicles. The
information you gather can help you prevent similar incidents and can help
you defend any legal action which may result.
Action Step: Determine
the cause of the accident, and whether the driver did all he or she
reasonably could to prevent it. If you find that the driver could have
done more, provide remedial training. If the problem is severe enough,
consider disciplinary action.
- Make sure your drivers get
Driver fatigue plays a significant role in many motor vehicle accidents.
If your drivers have Commercial Driver's Licenses, make sure that you
follow interstate commerce regulations about how many hours your employees
may drive before they must rest.
Learn more about the
impact of fatigue on accidents.
Action Step: Review the
scheduling practices for your company's drivers. Even if you're not
subject to DOT regulations, educate your driving employees about the
dangers of fatigue. Sales employees, service technicians, delivery
personnel or other employees who put in long days on the road are also
vulnerable to fatigue and its risks.