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Steering Clear of Unsafe Drivers: A Guide for Fleet Managers

When it comes to operating a fleet, be it for deliveries, transport, or other purposes, the safety of drivers is paramount. Assigning company vehicles or authorizing individuals to operate them for business purposes requires trust and accountability. Fleet managers are responsible for ensuring drivers understand and comply with safety regulations. However, even one reckless driver can pose significant risks to themselves and the company.

Young truck driver using mobile phone while driving transport vehicle.
Side view of truck driver reading text message on smart phone while driving.

Why Safety Matters?

Ensuring safety is a fundamental concern for businesses with a fleet of vehicles. It goes beyond just protecting employees; it's also about safeguarding the company's reputation and finances. Implementing a thorough safety program and fostering a culture where safety is ingrained in daily operations are essential.

There are various approaches to building safety programs. Some companies use self-reporting mechanisms to encourage drivers to report any issues. Others establish point systems that trigger interventions based on a driver's performance. Moreover, with technological advances, companies can harness data and analytics to monitor and manage driver behavior proactively.

Identifying High-Risk Drivers

The reality is that human error is implicated in an astonishing 94% of vehicular accidents. Moreover, commercial drivers with prior violations are significantly more likely to be involved in accidents in the subsequent year. Repeat offenders, particularly for DUIs, constitute a large portion of those arrested or convicted.

To evaluate and continuously assess driver risk levels, Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) are invaluable. These records typically encompass a driver's history over the past 3 to 7 years and include:

  1. Driver Licensing Information: Ensuring drivers have the appropriate licenses for their vehicles.

  2. License Status: Keeping track of the license status is critical as unlicensed drivers are likely to have a higher accident rate.

  3. Traffic Violations: Chronic traffic violations are indicative of risky driving habits. Monitoring these can trigger necessary training or interventions.

  4. Accident History: A past pattern of accidents can signify a higher risk profile.

  5. Vehicular Crimes: Including DUIs or accidents causing significant property damage or injuries.

Continuous Monitoring: Why it’s Essential

While checking MVRs annually is common practice, this method has its limitations. For instance, if a driver incurs a violation or license suspension shortly after an annual check, there’s essentially a grace period until the next annual check, during which the company is unaware of this information. During this period, the company is exposed to higher risks and liabilities.

An effective solution to this problem is utilizing continuous license monitoring systems. These systems are designed to alert fleet managers automatically whenever new violations or license suspensions occur, enabling them to take swift and appropriate actions.

Handling License Suspensions

Across North America, a staggering 7% of drivers have suspended licenses at any given time, and many continue to drive despite the suspension. This behavior significantly amplifies the risk to companies.

License suspensions can arise from driving-related offenses such as reckless driving, DUIs, and an accumulation of traffic tickets. However, suspensions can also result from non-driving related offenses like unpaid child support or unconventional reasons like operating an amusement ride while intoxicated. While driving-related suspensions are red flags, non-driving suspensions expose the organization to potential lawsuits.

Negligent Entrustment and its Implications

Companies must be wary of negligent entrustment, where they could be held liable for entrusting a vehicle to an irresponsible or unlicensed driver. This can lead to substantial legal and financial repercussions and damage to the company’s reputation.

Therefore Steering Clear Unsafe Drivers Fleet Managers companies must stay informed about their drivers’ records and take immediate action for any violations. Continuous monitoring programs are invaluable.

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