It’s the moment every business owner dreads: a run-in with the law. The bad news is, legal issues can arise at any time, for any business—and those who haven’t proactively focused on risk mitigation leave themselves more vulnerable to costly claims.
The good news is that knowing where you’re vulnerable is half the battle—and with proper planning, you can lower the chances of costly litigation and potentially save your company thousands or millions of dollars.
Below, we'll show you how implementing an effective fleet safety program can help reduce legal issues and liability exposure.
1. Put Together a Comprehensive Driver Safety Policy
To ensure drivers know exactly what’s expected of them, establish and communicate written fleet safety policies to set clear and consistent expectations.
A driver safety policy is a document that details the basic standards drivers should be following. This includes best practices, vehicle maintenance schedules, and other job-specific requirements, like not exceeding their Hours of Service (HOS). As part of your safety policy, you should also have a process in place for drivers to report traffic violations, as well as steps for dealing with employees who fail to tell you about incidents.
Implementing all this makes it more difficult for a judge or insurance company to say you’ve been negligent.
Create electronic versions of driver logs and reports to ensure documents are always visible and easily accessible. Digital copies can be stored on the cloud or your fleet management system. This way, drivers have access to all the information they need at the touch of a button.
2. Invest in Online Training Programs
Online safety programs are designed to help your drivers stay compliant, improve their skills, and change unsafe driving habits—all of which reduce liability due to preventable accidents.
“Motor vehicle accidents are a never-ending battle. We have no control over someone hitting our vehicles, but we really need to find better ways of keeping our drivers focused on the road to avoid preventable accidents,” said Bruce Ottogalli, transportation manager for SUEZ North America in a recent interview with Automotive Fleet.
As with all things, it’s better to take a proactive stance when it comes to safety awareness: train your drivers even if there aren’t any problems rather than waiting until something becomes an issue.
To reduce liability even further, regularly schedule training for your drivers—from new recruits, right through to the most experienced team member.
Regular training is a great way to update skills and stay current with driving laws. Training also increases job satisfaction and helps employees feel more engaged with their roles and the company—something that multiple studies have shown improves productivity and reduces turnover.
3. Leverage Technologies to Monitor Driver Performance
Monitoring driver performance is a good way to get new recruits up to speed and fix bad habits before they become too deeply entrenched. This is especially important for newer or younger drivers.
In addition to scheduling regular Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) checks for individual drivers, it’s important for fleet managers to schedule regular vehicle maintenance checks. A poorly maintained vehicle isn’t just expensive to run: it could pose a safety risk.
Fleet management software is your first line of defense when it comes to safety and vehicle reliability. Use it to observe driver behavior and schedule checks as part of your preventative maintenance schedule.
4. Show Compliance is a Top Priority
Fleet management software can also help prove due diligence in the face of a legal challenge.
Insurance companies want to see you’ve taken as many steps to proactively reduce your liability as possible. GPS fleet management software is one of the most effective ways to identify, assess, monitor, and mitigate risks. The more steps you can take, the more likely you’ll get favorable rates and look good in the event of litigation.
To see how technology can positively influence your fleet safety program, learn more by requesting our demo.