Controlling the Risks of Business Vehicles

Many small businesses use cars and trucks to get the job done.

These can be sedans driven by real-estate agents drive to meet clients, delivery vans used by distributors, contractors' dump trucks, tractor-trailers hauling goods across the country, or delivery drivers taking food across the city.

The owners of these vehicles must buy insurance on them to cover accidents that may occur. Business owners can do several things to reduce the cost of that insurance and to avoid the pain and inconvenience of accidents.

When a business entrusts a vehicle to an employee, it is literally putting people's lives and business assets on the line. The business should set no-exception rules for drivers:

  • Always wear seat belts. They help prevent traffic deaths and make injuries less severe.
  • No driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In 2012, one person died in a drunk-driving crash every hour.
  • No cell phone use while driving. Distracted driving accidents killed more than 3,000 people in 2013.

Businesses should also set guidelines for employees to follow when they use company vehicles, such as:

  • Limit their non-business use of vehicles. If employees take company cars home with them, the employer should set reasonable limits on personal use.
  • Allow plenty of time between meetings and assignments. This  will make it less necessary for employees to speed.
  • Instruct employees to park vehicles in well-lit areas and lock them.

Beyond setting rules and guidelines, businesses can take steps to encourage safe driving:

  • Check prospective employees' driving records before hiring them.
  • Restrict the driving activities of those with poor records.
  • Require employees to report accidents they have when they are off the job.
  • Be on the lookout for employees with short tempers, as they may be prone to road rage.
  • Provide occasional driver training for employees who drive, especially those learning to use large commercial vehicles such as dump trucks.
  • Give rewards to employees or departments that stay accident-free for periods of time.

Even with all the preventive measures in the world, an accident will occasionally happen. Employers should prepare their drivers for that event.

Develop procedures for what an employee should do after an accident. Keep copies of the procedures handy in vehicle glove boxes. The procedures should include things like:

  1. Remaining at the scene
  2. Calling the police
  3. Gathering information from the other drivers (if any) and any witnesses (names, addresses, insurance information, license plate numbers, and so on)
  4. Reporting the accident to a designated person with the company

Auto accidents disrupt lives and business operations, and they can be costly.

Connect with our business team to talk through vehicle risks to your business.

May 29, 2017
by John Connor
Business Insurance Advisor