Are your company vehicles costing you too much money to operate or are they actually a benefit to your overall business operations?
There are two distinct groups of company vehicles; primary and incidental. The primary vehicles are those that can be used to generate income for your business by being able to establish charges for their usage, which is billed to the customer.
Incidental fleets or vehicles are those units that generate no operating charges, yet are essential for company personnel to conduct business, such as those company owned vehicles that are assigned to job foremen, superintendents, project engineers, sales, maintenance staff, or material delivery personnel.
These vehicles may be costing your company more than the fuel, insurance, and upkeep that it takes to maintain them.
Did you know that in addition to the normal expected costs, job related vehicle incidents are the leading cause of work-related fatalities and lost time injuries, which cost companies millions of dollars in additional expenses?
You may have a safety program in place with policies and procedures intended to protect your employees from workplace hazards and exposures related to the job activities associated with your operations. Does your company safety program or risk control measures, address the necessary steps to afford the same level of controls and protection for the company vehicles that are provided to employees in order to carry out their day to day activities?
The following four step fleet program is a good start.
Step #1: Administrative Commitment
Top management/ownership must be committed to fleet management, showing that they are genuinely concerned for the safety and well-being of all employees within the organization while operating and using company vehicles. The next step in the process is to have written policies and procedures. Policies should be written and spelled out covering issues such as: Safe Use and Operations of Company Vehicles, Drug & Alcohol Usage, Driver Qualifications, Driver Screening, Personal Use, Distractions (electronics, cell phones, eating, etc.), Accident Reporting Procedures, and Disciplinary Measures.
Step #2: Driver Control
The company needs to establish the necessary controls to assure that they are allowing only qualified employees to operate company vehicles. Qualified means not only meeting state and federal regulations for having the proper license to drive, but they also meet other qualifying requirements established by the company.
Other qualifying criteria, in addition to a valid driver’s license, include age requirements, physical capabilities, experience, passing company written and road tests, and an acceptable driving history. A drivers’ prior driving history should be verified through a current motor vehicle report (MVR) secured through the state where their license was issued.
Specifics regarding your company driver requirements should be spelled out in the fleet policies. “Acceptable” driving history should also be outlined. What constitutes a “non-acceptable” driving history should be included in the company policy. Some non-acceptable criteria generally include items for prior convictions within a specified period such as; Driving Under the Influence (DUI’s) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI’s). Five (5) years prior is usually the recommended time period for DUI’s or DWI’s. Suspension or revoked driver’s license within the last three years, along with convictions for causing a death while operating a vehicle, hit and run or careless/reckless driving are other infractions that should make the unacceptable category.
Step #3 Vehicles: Selection, Maintenance and Inspections
Company vehicles should be properly selected based on type and usage. A vehicle safety features should be included in the selection process. Maintenance intervals should be established and conveyed to the drivers. Tracking and follow-up with the drivers to assure that these intervals are met reinforces the company’s commitment of having safe, well-kept vehicles in the hands of those operating them. Like maintaining company vehicles, inspecting them on a regular basis is equally important.
Step #4 Regulatory Compliance
Determine whether the company vehicles fall under the scope of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations because of their usage, vehicle size (weight), and/or materials transported, handled or towed? Drivers of company vehicles, based on the factors previously noted, may be required to carry a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Additional endorsements for the CDL may also be required for specific driving operations, including chauffeuring more than 15 people.
Beyond just the drivers licensing requirements, there are other documentation requirements necessary to comply with the D.O.T. regulations. This documentation includes previous employment verification, drug and alcohol screening, and driving history verification.
Step #5 monitoring
Use a “How am I Driving” Bumper Sticker reporting system: How many times have you been cut off and wished the other vehicles had a bumper sticker? By using a “How am I Driving” campaign you will begin to experience more cautious drivers and ultimately fewer collisions.
Our How am I Driving? System includes a toll free call center where the public can easily report their observations. After words an observation report will be emailed to you so corrective action can be taken. We offer this monitoring service for Safety Partners with small to medium fleets for as low as $150/ year!
Our fleet safety solutions are the most cost effective and professional solutions available! For more information on our new Fleet Safety Initiative call Randy Free at 407-353-8165