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Implementing a Fleet Safety Program

Supervisor Obligations
Supervisors play an essential role in carrying out a fleet safety program. For a program to work, supervisors must

  • Ensure that employees are familiar with and adhere to all aspects of the fleet safety program
  • Maintain a list of all current drivers and their drivers' license numbers
  • Conduct an annual review of all drivers' records
  • Familiarize employees with new vehicles and ensure that they are aware of and understand any unique features of the vehicles
  • Investigate accidents involving department vehicles
  • Ensure that employees attend all required driver education programs, including refreshers.

Disciplinary and Other Policies
You must have a disciplinary policy to take action against employees who commit violations of the fleet safety program. Where applicable, other policies may have bearing on the situation. These may include policies on:

  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Motor vehicle accidents, or
  • Unacceptable driving records.

You may also want to consider including a provision in your disciplinary policy that requires employees who commit violations to attend a course designed to improve individual driving skills. Of course, this should be used only for violations and employees that don't warrant immediate termination.

Policies Regarding Personal Vehicles
A policy should also address employee use of personal vehicles. Generally, employees should not use their personal vehicles to do company business if there is a motor vehicle available in operating condition that isn't being used. But occasionally, employees may have to use their personal vehicles to perform their duties. To reduce the potential for accidents, injuries and liability, employees should follow the same practices as outlined for the operation of company-owned vehicles. In addition, your program should outline these particulars:

Employees who expect to drive their personal vehicles for company business must show that they have automobile insurance in force. They should maintain at least the state-mandated minimum liability coverage, but should be urged to carry a higher liability level along with collision and comprehensive coverage.

In the event of an accident involving an employee's personal vehicle, the employee should

  • Follow their insurance carrier's procedures for reporting the accident and obtaining information
  • File an Incident Report with the supervisor, and
  • If injured, file an Employee Injury Report according to the company's policy.

Mileage claims
Your plan should address whether employees are to claim mileage from their federal income taxes or to be reimbursed by the employer at the prevailing IRS rate. Thus deductibles and claims for vehicle damage that are not covered by the employee's insurance policy are the responsibility of the employee. The thought here is that the mileage deduction/allowance is intended to cover most if not all expenses involved in the operation of an automobile. Any exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis and should be careful not to set a precedent.

Employees who operate a motor vehicle for your company should be seen not only as a driver but also as a company representative. Therefore, employees must make a conscious effort to drive courteously, maintain alertness and obey all traffic laws and rules of the road. Making sure they do will help your drivers stay safe and enhance the image of your organization.