Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

How to Identify At-Risk Drivers

May 2008, by Staff

Managing risk is one of the most important functions any company assumes. Risk can take any number of forms: the risk of liability for faulty products, financial risks of investments and debt, or the risks posed by hiring new employees.

It is that last risk that concerns fleet managers. Hiring employees who will be entrusted with the possession, care, and operation of a company vehicle worth thousands of dollars is a serious responsibility, one which, if done carelessly, can end up costing the company substantial amounts of money. The following are some processes and tools a fleet manager can use to identify at-risk drivers.

Considering the Risk Factor

Many of the risks drivers pose are fairly obvious. Improper or reckless operation goes under that heading with the following:

  • Safety. There is no small number of employees who operate a company vehicle in an unsafe manner, placing themselves and others at risk, not to mention the possibility of physical damage.
  • Security. Every year, companies suffer losses related to stolen or vandalized vehicles.
  • Efficiency. Drivers can take a cavalier attitude toward the vehicle. If they aren’t responsible for paying for it, they may be negligent in caring for it.

Fleet managers must be vigilant about these risks on a day-to-day basis. However, safety poses the greatest range of risks.

Assessing Safety Risk

Operating a company vehicle is a serious responsibility, but unfortunately one that most fleet drivers do not take as seriously as they should. While operated in an unsafe or cavalier manner, company vehicles pose a range of risks to the company, the driver, and the public. These risks include:

  • Physical Damage. The obvious and most common risk in operating a fleet of vehicles is physical damage. From parking lot fender-benders to serious crashes, the costs of repairing a company vehicle damaged in an accident can run a large repair bill, not to mention the possibility of total loss.
  • Personal Injury. Drivers are injured in accidents every day, costing the company downtime, no matter how minor the injury may be. Minor cuts and bruises might cost a day or two, with a more serious injury resulting in weeks or even months of driver absence. In addition, serious injuries impact the company’s risk rating when insurance renewals are negotiated, potentially incurring thousands of dollars in additional premiums.
  • Liability. When other parties are involved, the risk of liability for both property damage as well as personal injury is substantial. The company may be held liable not only for repairs to third-party vehicles, but also for injuries. In most serious cases, including and up to death, punitive damages can run into the millions.
  • Reputation. When a company is held liable for damages resulting from an accident involving one of its vehicles, the damage to its reputation in the community and the marketplace is real.

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