How to maintain driver, fleet safety training for your business Featured

7:25am EDT February 1, 2013
How to maintain driver, fleet safety training for your business

Having a driver training or fleet safety program is likely something your insurance company already has on its radar. Companies with five or more vehicles and a history of claims could be required to complete the insurance company’s fleet seminar or safe driving training.

But even if your company has a good driving record, some type of driver safety class and/or additional training benefits your business directly, as well as the insurance company.

“It does have an impact on your rates, only because if you do implement a fleet training seminar, each year or every other year, you will start to see an improvement in your rates because it’s less likely that you’re going to have an accident,” says Todd Winter, executive vice president at SeibertKeck.

Smart Business spoke with Winter about the importance of driver training and steps to consider taking that could help you maintain a motor vehicle safety program in your workplace.

What’s the first step to driver safety for business owners?

Business auto happens to be one of the bigger exposures to a business because, if there’s an accident, depending on injuries, it can be a pretty significant. So first, you want to start with employee drivers who have a good driving record.

If job candidates are applying for a position that requires them to drive, you can require a check of their motor vehicle report to make sure they are acceptable. Insurance carriers can provide you with what they recommend to be acceptable. Of course, if their record were clear, that person would be a good choice.

What are some conditions that affect auto rates or how much training employees need?

A number of things affect the underwriting, such as the radius of operation — a long distance radius of 200 or more miles could mean a higher rate. Other considerations can depend on the size and weight of the vehicles.

Often companies don’t have a choice with what kind or how much training employees need. Many insurance companies provide it through their loss control department at no cost. A loss control engineer may require drivers to attend a two- to three-hour class and take a test, or just listen to a seminar.

What, then, can employers do to create and maintain a motor vehicle safety program in the workplace?

Having formalized vehicle maintenance and a safe driving program of some kind are must-have risk management tools. However, some employers may feel reluctant to institute them because of the amount of time to set them up in their office. The idea is that improving driver training and fleet safety programs only can help your company, as the business auto exposure is lowered.

Some best practices that could help are:

  • Safety policy statement indicating that the company has established a fleet safety policy to emphasize a commitment to the safety of its employee drivers and the general public.

  • Seat belt use to reduce the severity of injuries.

  • Restrictions on personal vehicles for employees using a personal auto for company use.

  • Driver selection and qualification, including application for employment, reference checks, motor vehicle report investigations and an annual review of driving records.

  • Vehicle inspection and maintenance.

  • Post notices and signs in your building and in the yard reminding drivers to be safe and maintain their vehicle.

  • Driver training annually, either online or conducted by a loss control engineer.

  • Accident reporting and recordkeeping.

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Todd Winter is executive vice president at SeibertKeck. Reach him at (330) 865-6572 or twinter@seibertkeck.com.

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