A safe fleet starts with safe drivers. As a business owner, you have control over who operates your business’s vehicles, which is a responsibility you don’t take lightly. An unsafe or poor driver could lead to increased commercial auto insurance costs, unexpected claims, and could even harm your business’s reputation within the community. Motor vehicle crashes cost employers $60 billion annually in medical care legal expenses, property damage, and lost productivity, reports the U.S. Department of Labor.
At Direct Auto Insurance, our agents live and work in the communities they serve, just like you. That’s one reason we’ve compiled this helpful information to help you hire safe drivers that will help protect your business’s vehicles and your bottom line.
Why Choosing Safe Drivers Is Important
1. More Affordable Commercial Auto Insurance
The price of your commercial auto insurance policy is determined by a number of factors, including:
- The distance and frequency the vehicles are driven
- The location in which the vehicles are driven (rural vs urban)
- The amount and type of coverage you choose
- The type of vehicle that is insured and how it’s used
- The driving records of your operators
When it comes to estimating the cost of commercial auto insurance, the driving records of your operators may be one of the most important factors. Your insurance company may have specific underwriting guidelines for drivers operating heavy-duty trucks and tractor-trailers, as may your state. Also, employees with poor driving records may cost you more to insure or may prevent you from getting the insurance you need altogether. A safe driver will likely be able to meet or have already met, underwriting and state guidelines for commercial drivers. It’s also likely that they will have fewer traffic violations, if any at all, than an unsafe driver.
2. Potentially Less Risk & Fewer Claims
Getting a quote for commercial auto insurance is similar to getting a quote for personal auto insurance. In both scenarios, the insurance company will take steps to evaluate how “risky” it might be to insure a specific driver. Insurance companies typically define “high risk” drivers as those who are risky to insure due to their inexperience, poor driving record, or credit history. A safe driver will likely have a driving record and experience that classifies them as “low risk.” Accordingly, safe, experienced drivers could help lower the possibility of an auto accident and the resulting claim.
3. A Better Business Reputation
When your truck or delivery van is headed down the road with your logo on it, you want it to tell the best possible story about your business. If your driver is speeding, swerving between lanes, and talking on their cell phone while driving, other drivers may think poorly of your business. A safe driver not only helps reduce the risk of an auto accident but can also help build your business’s reputation within the community you serve.
Tips for Selecting Safe Drivers
So how can you go about interviewing and selecting safe drivers for your business? Follow these helpful tips for identifying the safest commercial drivers!
Tip #1: Check & follow all state requirements for commercial vehicle drivers. If your business is made up of a fleet of Volkswagen Beetles, your drivers may not be required to maintain commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). If, however, your business relies on a fleet of heavy-duty tractor-trailers, your drivers may be required to have commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). Check with your state licensing bureau for more information about CDL requirements and make sure that your drivers meet these requirements. CDL holders are held to a higher standard when operating any type of motor vehicle on public roads. Also, you could be eligible to receive a discount on your commercial policy if all drivers on the policy have maintained a commercial driver’s license for a certain period of time.
Tip #2: Ride along with the potential driver. Go on a mock delivery or pickup trip with the potential driver and observe their driving habits. Do they use their turn signals diligently? Are they following the speed limit? How courteous are they to other drivers? If the potential driver doesn’t exhibit behavior you feel comfortable with, or behaviors you don’t want associated with your business, send them packing.
Tip #3: Check their motor vehicle records (MVR). A motor vehicle record is essentially a record of someone’s driving history. It indicates the status of past and current driver’s licenses, license class, endorsements, and restrictions. It also provides information about traffic violations, DUI convictions, accident reports, traffic citations, and vehicular crimes. An employer may obtain information relating to the holder of a commercial driver’s license, and any person may obtain another’s MVR if he or she can show written consent by the other party.
Tip #4: Ensure they have the proper training and education. In addition to verifying their certifications, credentials, and work experience, ensure that all drivers have the education and training required for the vehicle type. A well-trained driver is less likely to make costly, and potentially dangerous, mistakes while driving.
Overall, an effective screening, hiring, training, and monitoring process can help reduce your business’s liability when it comes to commercial drivers. Whether you have two employees or twenty, your business and your livelihood are worth protecting! Commercial auto insurance through Direct Auto Insurance can help you do so. Call us at 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732) to get a free quote for commercial auto insurance and get started today!
*Commercial auto insurance produced by Direct Auto Insurance agents and written by one or more insurers that are not affiliated with the Direct General Group. Availability, qualifications and amounts of coverage varies.