If your company operates motor vehicles for business purposes, you should have established policies that govern the operation and use of your fleet of vehicles. Employees should be made aware of your safety standards while on company time. These standards are derived from written safety policies and procedures.
Your safety policy should have the following elements:
- Outline safe vehicle operation standards
- Address both employee and management responsibilities
- Policy should be reviewed with all employees
- Policy acknowledgement should be signed off and kept in the employee file
- Clear accountability standards should be spelled out for violating the safety standards
- Driver selection/qualification standards should be stated
- Accident review policy clearly stated
- Training standards outlined
Sample policy statement
“Vehicle accidents can cause serious injury and undue hardships on you and your family. It is the policy of (your company name) to achieve the greatest practical freedom from accidents and to provide every company driver with safe and healthful working conditions. We have begun a fleet safety program to reduce and prevent vehicular accidents. We will, as always, comply with all applicable regulations and expect all drivers to drive safely and to obey traffic laws. Safety is a priority. Your cooperation and help are needed to make our program a success.”
Please see our Hanover Risk Solutions resource found here: Sample safety program: Non-regulated fleets | The Hanover Insurance Group
A good safety policy should address topics that reflect needs. Specific topics could include but not be limited to the following:
- Driving―Employees must follow all written safety programs set forth by your company. All local, state, federal law and regulations must also be adhered to.
- Seatbelts―All occupants of the vehicle must wear a seatbelt while occupying the company-owned vehicle.
- Cellular devices―Using a cell phone and other devices for communication should be prohibited while the vehicle is in drive. Texting and driving should be banned by your company. Communicating with an escort vehicle or in an emergency would be possible exemptions.
- Distractions―Operators must take all precautions to eliminate distractions while driving. Examples of distractions that can be eliminated with pre-planning would be entering information into your GPS, adjusting the radio, looking at papers, etc.
- Substance abuse―Consuming alcohol and any other substance that would alter or inhibit their reaction time while driving, even if prescribed, should be prohibited while operating a vehicle.
The selection and qualification of drivers is an integral part of a good fleet safety policy. Employees that have clean driving records and companies that require clear Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) standards in general have fewer motor vehicle collisions. Please find Hanover Risk Solutions other related articles on Driver Qualification Files for Regulated and Non-Regulated Fleets and Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) for clarification on best practices for screening new and existing drivers.
The evaluation policy should indicate your company will review a driver’s past driving performance annually, to :
- Review their MVR and pre-hire information
- Ensure that they have a valid license
The qualification policy should indicate standards that your company and employees will be held to, including state regulations that must be met and as applicable Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. Your policies should consider if your drivers will be meeting commercial interstate requirements or foreign commerce in a vehicle meeting any of the following criteria:
- Gross motor vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more
- Designed to transport 16 passengers or more
- Transporting hazardous materials that fall under needing a placard under the DOT standards
- Drivers operating a vehicle with a gross motor vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more
Drivers meeting the above criteria need to have Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and have a DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Program.
Accident investigations and collision reporting
Policies should include accident reporting and recordkeeping requirements to ensure management and employees understand what is required in the event of an accident and the steps that we will be taken post-accident.
An investigation policy will aid your company in recognizing if you need to take any of the following steps:
- Alter driving routes
- Improve inspection practices
- Improve maintenance activities
- Improve driver training annually and at hire
- Remedial training post-accident
- Documentation of investigation determinations
- Actions taken immediately following the accident
- Management actions taken (drug and alcohol testing and results)
- Accident reporting trend analysis while identifying subsequent training needs
All accidents should result in the completion of a formal accident report with the collision reviewed for preventability. The report should be clear and concise, defining who, what, where, when, why, and how. Please see our Hanover Risk Solutions document on determining preventability post-accident. Determining the preventability of motor vehicle crashes
Where feasible, a crash review board (CRB) should be formed. The CRB is a peer group panel consisting of management representatives and drivers. The purpose of the CRB is to evaluate crashes with the purpose of improving the safety of operations. The number of representatives on the board will depend on the size of your business but should always be an odd number to avoid tie votes. Members can include department representatives from management, dispatch, maintenance, drivers, and safety.
The CRB should convene as soon as possible after the facts of the incident have been verified. The CRB’s decision should provide a clear explanation of findings and what can be done to improve the operation (i.e., if the crash was preventable by the driver, if the driver needs training, if a change in the way vehicles are equipped is necessary, or if maintenance procedures need to be modified).
The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries ("The Hanover") specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with The Hanover. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.