Many businesses have workplace policies for vacation days, sick days, hiring, benefits, tuition reimbursement, substance abuse, dress code and more. But for companies that have a fleet of vehicles or employees who drive on company business, a driver safety policy can be an important one to have in place.
A driver safety policy may affect several areas of a business, from vehicle insurance rates, worker compensation claims and risk exposure to reducing downtime due to worker injuries and vehicle repairs. And, as with other business situations, it is the employer’s responsibility to take appropriate actions to commit to enforcing policy standards.
Businesses interested in developing a driver safety policy may begin by forming an internal committee comprised of representatives from various departments, such as human resources, sales, risk management, purchasing, safety, legal, as well as rank-and-file employees. The committee may review existing policies and determine if all elements are common practice, uniformly enforced by management and followed by drivers.
A professional fleet management company also may be able to help by providing a basic set of driver safety policy guidelines, but it is up to a business to customize its own set of guidelines, as well as enforcement practices and penalties. Once guidelines are established, they should be provided in writing to all drivers and the employer may ask drivers to sign a copy indicating that they have read and understand the policy. This may ultimately be advantageous in a future situation where an employer may be held responsible for what a driver “did” know or “should” have known.
Various components of a driver safety policy may include some of the following:
- Background information and purpose – indicating who is covered by the policy, whether the policy applies to personal vehicles as well as company-owned vehicles driven for company business, and what kinds of past driving records, background checks or other measurement criteria will be used to qualify drivers.
- Policy specifics – pertaining to everything from use of seatbelts for drivers and occupants to use of cell phones, including compliance with different state laws regarding their use, to taking certain prescription medicines, eating while driving, and more.
- Traffic violations or accidents — outlining who is to be notified, how situations will be investigated, who will file specific reports, how negligence and/or fault will be defined, and what kind of follow-up will take place if it is determined whether an accident was preventable.
- Corrective actions – providing very specific language regarding the driver safety policy for minor violations, major or repeat violations, as well as DUIs, preventable accidents and citations for speeding, to name a few.
There are a number of sources that offer additional information about driver safety policies, including NAFA Fleet Management Association and Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), as well as government sources such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
William (Bill) Keller is Assistant Vice President of Enterprise Fleet Management’s Corporate Risk Department and works with Enterprise’s team of accredited coordinators to serve the fleet accident management needs of businesses with mid-size fleets.