The majority of auto accidents are caused by driver error, whether it be following too closely, speeding, driving distracted, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a variety of other reasons. As a business owner, you have control over who’s operating your vehicles and you should take this responsibility seriously. Always have an applicant sign a waiver permitting you to obtain a motor vehicle record (MVR) before you make a hiring decision. If there is any doubt about the acceptability of the record, forward it to your agent or insurance company for review before allowing the applicant to drive.
If you have a fleet (five or more power units) and good loss experience, you may have an experience credit on your policy. You may also receive better insurance rates because of your good experience. The reality is it only takes one unsafe driver to ruin all your good experience and drive your auto insurance costs up. Because experience credits may involve up to four years of data, it could take years to get credit back after an at fault accident.
While not always the case, many accidents involve drivers with several prior moving violations and/or at fault accidents. Exercise your right to choose someone with a good record before allowing them to use your assets. Would you allow someone with little or no prior experience to operate a 100,000 piece of machinery?
Pay close attention to the age of pilot car drivers as well. Statistically, drivers under the age of 25 are more likely to be involved in at fault accidents. Most insurance companies are going to be reluctant to allow someone under 25 years old to be a driver on a commercial policy. This also brings in to play the issue of personal vehicles being insured on a commercial policy and driven by young family members. This is not the intent of a commercial auto policy and should be avoided.
One final point is that when your company’s name and logo are on the vehicle, it’s a target. If one of your vehicles cuts somebody off in traffic, tailgates, or hits someone, people will notice what company that vehicle belongs to. In today’s legal climate commercial vehicles are easy targets for attorneys, as they know adequate limits of insurance are required. Safe drivers will help you avoid these headaches!
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