With permission from iii.org
Whether you own or lease a single company car or an entire fleet of commercial vehicles, you must purchase a commercial car insurance policy. Your insurance expert can help you weigh your risks and evaluate coverage options.
But even with insurance in place, you want to take steps to prevent accidents and protect your employees and vehicles. Your company can reduce the risk of an accident by establishing and applying the following practices and policies.
Hard and fast driving rules
When it comes to employee safety and the protection of your vehicles, you should set some fixed driving rules that must be followed throughout time, including:
- Mandatory use of seat belts ̵
- Zero tolerance for intoxicants – Even an alcoholic beverage can impair a driver's reaction time. Employees should never drink or use other intoxicants before using commercial vehicles.
- No cell phone use – Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents, and cell phone use while driving is prohibited in some states. Prohibit employees from making calls or texting while driving.
Guidelines for vehicle use
Other rules may be more flexible, but you should consider implementing policies and following the practice yourself when appropriate:
- Do not restrict business use of vehicles – While some employees use the same car for work and personal use, they generally limit the use of business vehicles to work-related travel.
- Slow down – The scheduling should provide sufficient travel time between meetings and assignments. Do not create such a frantic pace of work that employees are encouraged to speed up. In addition to reducing the risk of accidents, a speed limit will also help control fuel costs.
- Locking and securing vehicles – Employees should always lock vehicles when they are at work. Whenever possible, vehicles should be parked in safe, well-lit areas.
Employee-focused methods to reduce vehicle risk
- Know your employees – Before hiring employees to drive company vehicles, check their driving record with the motor vehicle department for previous violations. . Restrict or prohibit the driving of employees with a history of accidents or relocation violations. Employees should also be required to report any accidents they encounter when not working. Also realize that certain personality traits – such as bad mood – can increase the risk of car accidents.
- Provide training – Employees who regularly drive work vehicles – or take on a new assignment that requires vehicle use – should be provided with driver training. This course may only be a refresher for some, but it should cover important safety routines such as distance tracking and appropriate hillside techniques.
- Recognize Safe Drivers a program to recognize and reward safe drivers. You may also want to reward a department or the entire company for accident-free periods.
Responding to an Accident
The above methods and policies can help minimize the risk to your commercial vehicles, but they can not completely prevent accidents from happening. If a commercial vehicle is involved in an accident, you want to help your employee-driver respond appropriately and continue to file an insurance claim. The following practices and steps will help your company and the employee involved recover and return to work.
- Establish routines in the event of an accident – Employees who use the company's vehicles should be trained in what to do in the event of an accident occurs. This includes not leaving the scene of the accident, contacting the police and collecting information (sign numbers, contact details, insurance information, etc.) from interested parties and any witnesses. The accident must also be reported to suitable personnel at work. Consider using the event as an opportunity to educate all employees driving company vehicles about what to do if they are involved in an accident.
- Contact your insurance specialist and file a claim with your insurer – As soon as possible, contact your insurance specialist to report the accident and start claiming damages. It is especially important to work with your insurance team immediately if anyone has been injured in the accident. Follow your insurer's instructions in a timely manner, such as getting estimates for repairs.
Also remember that car insurance claims are not limited to accidents. You may also need to file a claim if your vehicle is vandalized, stolen or damaged from an event other than an accident, such as a fire or severe weather.