To help avoid trouble, establish a successful vehicle loss control program. We can help. The Hortica vehicle loss control program consists of six elements:
- Management leadership and support
- Selecting a driver
- Driver training
- Driver supervision
- Vehicle inspection and maintenance
- Accident procedures
Management leadership and support
Management’s supportive attitude is the key for a successful vehicle loss control program. Unless management endorses the basic concept that loss control is a vital function of doing business, the program won’t succeed. For your program to be effective, someone must be placed in charge to organize and run the program.
Driver selection and training
Effective driver selection begins by clearly defining the requirements of the job. These should include the duties, physical and mental skills required, and necessary education and training. They should apply to every driver—whether a part-time, seasonal, temporary, or permanent employee. When selecting a driver, use the following tools:
- Application form: This is the first source of information you have about a prospective new driver. Although federal and state laws regulate the type of information you may request, it’s safe to ask for:
- Name, address, telephone number, Social Security number, and date available to start work
- Work experience
- Interview: Discuss previous employment, training, and other qualifications for the job. Check the applicant’s driver’s license for the expiration date, identification number, and class of vehicles they’re authorized to operate. You can also ask about the person’s driving record and for them to bring a copy of their current motor vehicle record (MVR) to the interview.
- Reference checks: Verify the information from the application and interview. While past performance isn’t a sure guide to future behavior, it can be helpful.
- Traffic accident records: Understand that a driver with a poor accident or violation record is much more likely to have repeat accidents.
- Driving tests: Use the type of equipment the applicant will be driving on the job. Improper driving habits aren’t easily hidden and should be evident to the evaluator.
A well-trained driver is good for your business, while an untrained or poorly trained driver is an accident waiting to happen. To help ensure a driver forms correct driving and work habits, you need to provide training to teach safe driving. Training falls into three categories:
- Initial training establishes baseline requirements.
- Refresher training updates and maintains driver skills.
- Remedial training corrects substandard performance.
Hortica has a wide variety of training courses and resource material to help you plan and provide the necessary defensive driver training for your employees where and when you want it.
Delivery drivers supervise themselves for a large portion of their workday. That’s why establishing specific guidelines for job performance—including evaluation criteria, incentives, and disciplinary procedures—is crucial. These guidelines must be clearly understood by both your supervisors and drivers and applied equally to everyone.
Vehicle fleets require maintenance to keep equipment operating safely and efficiently. Successful fleet managers follow a preventive maintenance program that consists of daily vehicle checks by a driver and regular inspections (based on time or mileage) by mechanics. A well-maintained fleet helps ensure the vehicle can arrive promptly and safely, while reducing the possibility of accidents caused by mechanical failures.
Accidents do happen. If one does, you need to have well-established procedures to ensure the proper actions are taken. Be sure to notify us as soon as you have the basic information about the accident. Delays make it more difficult to handle your claim quickly and effectively.
The driver’s initial actions at an accident are critical. Make sure your drivers know what to do, including:
- Don’t leave the scene
- Help the injured
- Turn on four-way flashers and carefully set out reflectors
- Notify police
- Report to your employer
- Provide your name, company name, and their driver’s license to those involved
- Don’t apologize or admit guilt to anyone, no matter who’s at fault
- Only talk to the police and your company’s representative
- Take photos of the accident scene with camera or cell phone—if it’s safe to do so
- Fill out an accident report
After the accident, you’ll want to perform an accident analysis. This involves gathering facts, arranging them in a usable format, and analyzing what happened. In most cases, accidents are due to driver error. A good job of fact-finding will identify any driver issues that need to be corrected. We can provide you a vehicle accident review form that’ll that’ll help with your analysis.
Putting a program in place
For your vehicle loss control program to be successful, it must be integrated into your workers’ day-to-day activities and become a company norm—not an add-on. Set policy, establish procedure, assign responsibility, hold people accountable, help keep your drivers and business protected, and measure performance.
Be sure to review your insurance coverage for your vehicle fleet. Talk with your Hortica representative for other tips to help protect your business. You’ll also find supporting materials on fleet safety at the Members Only section of our website or by calling Loss Control & Safety Services.
For more information on workplace safety, check out the Hortica Resources section.
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