Turn Fleet Risk Into Top-Flight Safety

Whether you’re a commercial trucking company or professional services organization, understanding potential risks faced by your fleet and knowing how to manage them effectively will save your organization money, time and resources. Today’s fleet owners and operators are faced with many potential risks. Those risks can be broadly placed into three buckets: physical, administrative and regulatory. Each of these requires its own management plan to mitigate costly errors and recover from accidents. Attention to each aspect of your fleet risks will also help you develop an overall corporate culture of hazard mitigation. Potential Risks Physical: Collisions, theft and other types of fleet damage, including vandalism and falling objects, can prove costly. Not all of these hazards can be prevented, but you can establish routine practices to avoid predictable losses. Administrative: Vehicle maintenance failures, route closures, driver error, faulty incident reporting, and poor record-keeping are primary causes of accidents, delays, injury, and substantial economic loss in legal and regulatory actions. Regulatory: As described by Transport Canada’s Motor Carrier Division, all commercial vehicles operated for interprovincial commerce are subject to regulation by various provincial standards and agencies and by the Motor Vehicle Transport Act (MVTA). Commercial fleets not involved with extra-provincial commerce are subject to regulation by the individual provinces. Violations of these standards can result in painful penalties and potential licensing problems.                                                                How to Manage Your Risks 1. Create a comprehensive safety policy: Team up with your company’s inside or outside counsel and your insurance broker to create a safety policy that addresses consequences of DUIs, poor driving, poor vehicle care, collisions, license suspensions and other policy violations. Ensure your drivers thoroughly read and sign this document, and consistently enforce guidelines so drivers respect the policy and understand its importance. 2. Provide driver training: Comprehensive driver training should include general awareness programs and safety tips for all drivers; proactive training, including online, in-class and on-road; and reactive training addressing specific driving behaviours for higher-risk drivers. 3. Select your vehicle fleet carefully and prioritize maintenance: When selecting vehicles for your fleet, keep in mind safety ratings, ergonomic features, passive and active safety mechanisms, and all-wheel drive versus four-wheel-drive options. Preventive maintenance on your fleet should include inspections on brakes, tire tread depth, and fluid levels. 4. Implement technology: Telematics refers to the technology that can monitor and report on vehicle location, mileage, engine on/off times, driver behaviour, fuel usage, vehicle performance, and more. Telematics should be used to collect data on fleets and drivers, which can be analyzed and leveraged to make better decisions. Using that data, you can protect all of your assets, including the security of your vehicle and the safety of your drivers and others on the road.Employing this technology will also allow you to create customized safety training programs. 5. Identify risky drivers: Each time an employee gets behind the wheel of a company-provided vehicle, your organization is at risk. Employers should always check driving records of any and all authorized drivers. For employers who issue company cars, this includes driving records of the employee’s spouse and any children who are within driving age. 6. Comprehensive insurance: Insurance coverage for any size fleet can be easily modified and adjusted to your company’s specific needs. Policies should include physical damage coverage against collisions, vandalism, falling objects and other risks. They should also have high liability coverage limits to ensure that, if an employee causes an accident, the business won’t be left vulnerable to unmanageable payouts. Your commercial auto insurance rates can be impacted by the driving histories of your fleet drivers. Keep your insurer in the loop regarding any new vehicles in your fleet or any new hires on your team. Over the past several years, auto repair costs have risen considerably. Commercial vehicle repair and replacement costs have increased 17% over the last decade. With the right risk management approach, you can protect your fleet, your employees and your company in an efficient and cost-effective way. Routine maintenance. Pre-flight checks Route planning and alternative route identification Driver training and monitoring High-quality record-keeping, audits and continuous oversight These are just a handful of the vital risk management functions fleet managers must dutifully carry out every day. By additionally applying technology, such as telematics, and keeping up to date on regulations, fleet risk managers can turn hazards into opportunities to improve safety, on-time delivery, financial stability and happy employees. Take your fleet operations to new levels by practicing best-in-class risk management. Then apply these techniques to all your business operations for a risk-aware, financially secure future. As always, you can reach out to your trusted insurance broker for advice and help with navigating your fleet insurance options. This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your attorney, doctor, broker or advisor to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

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