Courtesy of iii.org
Whether you own or rent a business vehicle, you must have commercial auto insurance. Your insurance professional can help you assess your risk and evaluate your coverage options.
However, even if you have insurance, you will want to take steps to prevent accidents and protect your employees and vehicles. Your business can reduce the likelihood of accidents by establishing and implementing the following practices and policies:
harsh and fast driving rules
When it comes to the safety of our employees and the protection of our vehicles, we must establish certain strong driving rules that must be followed at all times, including:
- Mandatory use of seat belts – Almost every state has seat belt laws. The use of seat belts helps prevent death and reduces the severity of injuries in vehicle accidents. There is no reasonable excuse for not wearing a seat belt.
- Zero tolerance for intoxicating substances – Even one glass of alcohol can impair the driver’s reaction time. Employees must not drink alcohol or use other intoxicating substances before using their work vehicle.
- No cell phone use – Reckless driving is a leading cause of accidents and in some states cell phone use while driving is prohibited. Employees are prohibited from receiving phone calls or texts while driving.
Vehicle usage guidelines
Other rules may be more flexible, but you should consider making policies appropriate and adhering to the following practices:
- Restrictions on non-business use of vehicles – Some employees use the same vehicle for work and personal use, but generally limit the use of their business vehicle to work-related travel.
- take it slow – The schedule should allow sufficient travel time between meetings and assignments. Don’t be so enthusiastic about the speed of work you encourage your employees to speed up. In addition to reducing the risk of accidents, driving at the speed limit also helps control fuel costs.
- Vehicle Lock & Security – Employees must lock their vehicles at all times when they are working. If possible, vehicles should be parked in a safe and well-lit area.
Employee-Centered Practices to Reduce Vehicle Risks
- know the staff – Before hiring an employee to drive a company vehicle, check your driving history with the automotive department for past violations. Restrict or prohibit driving by employees with a history of accidents or movement violations. Employees are also required to report any incidents that occur while not on duty. Also be aware that personality traits, such as quick-tempered, can increase your risk of car accidents.
- provide training – Any employee who regularly drives a business vehicle or performs a new job that requires the use of a vehicle must receive driver training. This course may be a review for some, but it should cover key safety practices such as following distance and proper support techniques.
- Safe Driver Recognition – For businesses where driving is key, such as florists or moving companies, establish a program to recognize and reward safe drivers. Compensation can also be offered to departments or the entire company during an accident-free period.
While the above practices and policies can help minimize risks to business vehicles, they cannot completely prevent accidents from occurring. If your business vehicle is involved in an accident, you must assist your employee driver to respond appropriately and file an insurance claim. The following practices and steps will help your business and its associates recover and return to work.
- Establishing procedures in case of an accident – Employees using company vehicles must be trained in what to do in the event of an accident. This includes not leaving the scene of the accident, contacting the police, and collecting information (vehicle numbers, contact information, insurance information, etc.) from victims and witnesses. Incidents must also be reported to appropriate employees at the workplace. Consider using the accident as an opportunity to educate all employees who drive company vehicles on what to do if they are involved in an accident.
- Contact your insurance professional and file a claim with your insurance company. – Contact your insurance professional as soon as possible to report the incident and begin the claim process. If anyone is injured in an accident, it is especially important to work with the insurance team immediately. Follow your insurance company’s instructions in a timely manner, including getting a repair estimate.
Also, remember that auto insurance claims are not limited to accidents. You may also need to file a claim if your vehicle is damaged, stolen, or damaged as a result of an event other than an accident, such as a fire or bad weather.