Commercial auto losses have become more frequent in recent years, driven by increases in both traffic and distracted drivers. Meanwhile, rising medical and auto repair costs have made the impact of these losses more expensive. Combined, these two factors have created a reality where commercial auto claims are also becoming more costly Thankfully, there are ways to reduce your risk and maximize your protection.
Implement a fleet safety plan
Having a fleet safety plan will help reduce liability and eliminate any guesswork for your staff. The plan should lay out company policies; explain standards for safe driving; spell out how to schedule and check out vehicles; and include an up-to-date list of approved drivers. The other six items listed below should also be incorporated into your plan.
Enforce company policy for use of vehicles
Create a clear policy for the operation and use of company vehicles. Explain safety issues such as distracted driving, seatbelts, and substance abuse; create clear guidelines around personal use of company vehicles; and lay out consequences for noncompliance.
Hire qualified drivers
To help reduce liability, hiring safe, experienced drivers is a first step. Start with setting clear criteria for the role—internally and in job postings. When hiring, make sure you obtain a driving history, medical evaluation, and background check from each applicant, and check their license to ensure that it is up-to-date and is the proper license for the vehicle they will be using.
Create a preventative maintenance plan
To help reduce risk and lower costs, have a preventative maintenance plan. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for things like inspections and oil changes, schedule maintenance tune-ups far in advance, and train drivers to inspect and report things like underinflated tires and fluid leaks. If your staff frequently uses their own vehicles, consider buying or leasing vehicles to avoid extra risk.
Train your drivers
After you have hired safe, reliable drivers, make sure you provide periodic training to help with breakdowns, distracted driving, driving under the influence, taking rest breaks, and speeding. Remember that not all training should happen in a classroom setting—in-the-vehicle training can sometimes be even more effective.
Monitor drivers with telematics
Telematics can help control unsafe behaviors like speeding and driving aggressively. Track—and periodically review—metrics including fuel mileage, tire replacement, seatbelt use, over-speeds, and hard stops or hard lateral steering (swerves).
Review every crash
When accidents happen, conducting official reviews can help prevent repeat incidents. Make sure you have a clear policy on how to report crashes or other incidents, and ensure that reporting forms are easily accessible in all vehicles. To help prevent further incidents, investigate every incident and speak to everyone involved to get all of the necessary information.
Following the tips above can help keep your drivers and vehicles safe and your costs down. Unsure on what type of insurance you need to keep your vehicles and drivers covered? Check out our article, 7 Questions to Ask Before Upgrading to Commercial Auto Insurance.
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