Safe Driving

Are your employees driving safe?

There are many examples of unsafe driving occurring every single day.

An employee was making deliveries and at the same time was trying to find a new song on this cell phone. The driver did not see a pedestrian crossing at an upcoming rosswalk and struck the pedestrian.

A driving became enraged with the driver he was following and lightly, but intentionally and repeatedly, used his front bumper to tap the rear bumper of the other vehicle. Witnesses confirm the incident. The driver left the scene.

A driver suffering from sleep apnea dozed off, crossed the center line, and collided head on with an oncoming vehicle. The oncoming driver had numerous internal injuries and multiple fractured bones.

After fixing a flat tire, the driver tried to make up time by speeding. He lost control of the vehicle on a corner and crossed the center line striking another vehicle head-on.

You may be liable.

Employers may be held responsible for the harm or damages caused by their employees where the harm or damage was caused by the employee while acting in the course and scope of his or her employment. For example, the employer’s liability (also known as vicarious liability) may arise when its employee, while acting in the course and scope of his/her employment, is involved in a vehicle crash that injures another person.

Damages may also be awarded to an injured party when the employer has entrusted a company vehicle to a driver who is known or should have been known to be an unsafe driver. This is commonly referred to as negligent entrustment. In some states, punitive damages may also be awarded and may not be covered by insurance.

To help protect your business, consult qualified counsel to understand the exposures unique to your business and the laws applicable in your state.

There are some tools to help.

Driving Policy

Developing an effecting driving policy that is read and signed by all employees is a crucial element to your company’s successful implementation of a safe driving program. Make it known that the purpose of the policy is to ensure the safety of the employees and the communities in which they operate. The driving policies outlines the expectations for each driver and the repercussions for any violation of the policy. Some key elements may include: mobile device restrictions, MVR standards, personal use of company vehicles, etc.

Driver Monitoring

A properly implemented and compliant driver screening program may help protect your business from driving-related losses. A driver screening program may also help you determine whether drivers meet your company’s driving standards.

Consider enrolling your drivers in the iiX Driver Advisor Monitoring program. You are alerted when new activity is detected on their driving records. This service also orders the motor vehicle records which can help you evaluate the driving behavior of those employees who are operating your vehicles.

Safety Meetings

Creating a policy and monitoring drivers is not enough. You must keeping safe driving front of mind though regularly scheduled safety meetings. Each meeting should be well documented with each employee signing in when they attend.

 

While this information is for general information only and should not be used as legal advice, these tips may greatly help reduce the risk of accidents. If you would like addition material or access to videos, please email me at [email protected] and I will be happy to provide them.

Stay safe out there!

 

On October 18th 2017 my fiancé Anna was in a major car accident that left her with a crushed right foot, broken sternum, a concussion, and scrapes and bruises all over her body. That afternoon Anna left a doctor’s appointment in Gastonia and was on her way to our apartment in Hickory when a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction as her attempted to cross in front of her at an intersection. The 1996 Toyota pickup failed to yield on their left hand turn and pulled directly out in front of Anna causing her to T-bone their truck at 45 miles per hour.

The police report stated that the driver of the other vehicle was distracted and placed 100% of the responsibility for the accident on that driver. In this case, the owner of the vehicle was in the passenger seat and his girlfriend was driving. Since auto insurance follows the vehicle not the driver, his insurance carrier is responsible for the property damage to Anna’s vehicle and her bodily injury claims – up to the limits that he had purchased, which in his case was $50,000 for property damage and $100,000 for Bodily Injury per accident.

Anna’s car – a 2008 Toyota Prius – was totaled and only valued at $6800. Since this is well under their property damage auto liability limit of $50,000, we had no issued getting this settled. The way this played out was pretty straight forward. Anna’s auto carrier is Erie Insurance. She was issued a check for $5000 immediately from Erie, and was told that she would get the balance of $1800 minus her deductible after she released the vehicle to the salvage yard. Even though she was not at fault, Erie was required to withhold the deductible amount until they subrogated against the at fault carrier (State Farm) to get reimbursed for the total amount. At that point Anna would get her remaining $500.

 

The major issue that we are dealing with is the bodily injury side of this claim. The bodily injury limit includes the cost of any medical procedures, treatments, medications, or physical therapy stemming from the accident, as well as any lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. With Anna being out of work for nearly 3 months and major medical bills piling up, she was beginning to realize that the at fault driver’s limit of $100,000 for bodily injury liability was not going to even come close to what she needed to be made whole. When this is the case, her Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) limits come into play to offer additional protection.

Aaron Peacock

Aaron Peacock

Hi, I'm Aaron and I'm a marketing representative for Federated Mutual Insurance Company - a Ward's Top 50 and an A.M. BEST A+ Superior rated insurance carrier. After my wife was severely injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, I've found one of my passions in life is to help educate people about the Danger of Distracted Driving and have started speaking to businesses in Western North Carolina on implementing the Federated Insurance DriveS.A.F.E. program. Click here to read more...

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