Choosing Drivers - What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
Are you putting the right people in the driver’s seat of your vehicles? A driver’s past driving behavior is a good indicator of future accident risk, so make sure you do your homework before you hand over the keys.
Get With the Program
The first step to selecting quality drivers is creating a Fleet Safety Program. This should spell out your organization’s fleet policies, including who is eligible to drive a fleet vehicle, what training you provide, the safety rules drivers must follow, maintenance schedules and how accidents should be handled.
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Check Driver Histories
Before granting driving privileges to an employee, check their driving history by ordering a motor vehicle record (MVR) for the past three years. It’s also a good idea to get an updated MVR for approved drivers annually, or to subscribe to a driver monitoring service for the most up-to-date information about your drivers.
Your fleet safety program should outline what past offenses are unacceptable for drivers of fleet vehicles. The following may be cause for disqualifying the employee:
- Driver’s license is currently suspended or revoked
- Driver does not have at least one year of verifiable driving experience
- In the past three years, driver has had more than two at-fault accidents, three moving violations or two moving violations plus one at-fault accident
- Within the past five years driver has been charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving, hit and run, vehicular manslaughter/homicide, leaving the scene of an accident, speeding 15 or more miles over the speed limit, or refusing a field sobriety test
- Driver tested positive for alcohol or drugs while employed with you
Communicate Authorized Vehicle Use
In general, your organization’s vehicles should only be driven for business reasons. Depending on your particular policies and procedures, you may allow employees to drive vehicles home at night and on weekends for convenience or security purposes, especially if they may be called upon to handle emergencies. However, nonemployees such as spouses, children, other relatives or friends should not be allowed to drive organization-owned vehicles at any time.
Employees with CDLs
Depending on your operations and the regulations of your state, you may employ drivers who hold commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). Employees with a CDL should be held to a higher standard when it comes to driver qualification. Some of these additional requirements include the ability to read and speak English, possession of a valid medical certificate and successful completion of additional safety and equipment operation training.