|Government Agencies Consider the Costs|
Government agencies are responsible to their employees and the communities they serve. In the past, building a fleet safety program included an annual driver’s license check on employees that operate an agency-owned vehicle, in addition to those employees that might drive personal vehicles on agency time. While driver records are often reviewed upon hire, many managers never check those employee driver records again. This administrative oversight can be costly.
Do you know the driver’s license status of your agency employees?
A shocking 2003 large city audit identified the importance of more frequent employee driver record reviews. The city audit reviewed the records of 10,836 city employees. 1200 employees who drive vehicles in the course of their municipal duties were unlicensed, 784 city employees had DUI/DWI convictions and another 1,869 had two or more accidents on their records. 2,567 had poor driving records and significant notations on their records.
Crashes are costly and can rapidly affect an agency’s bottom line.
Government Fleet magazine notes that the industry average for repairing a fleet vehicle involved in an accident is $1,848, with a small fender bender starting at $500 and moving upwards depending on the severity of damage. Including the additional costs of possible liability, Workers’ Compensation, legal expenses, third-party litigation, vehicle downtime, and the other indirect expenses, the total cost exceeds $10,000 per incident. There are very few places in a budget where employers and agencies can experience such a dramatic savings. Proactive driver record monitoring is the first critical step in reducing the number of preventable accidents.
City of Fort Collins improves administrative efficiency and maintains a more qualified fleet
Acknowledging the serious liability risk of unlicensed drivers, the City of Ft. Collins, Colorado implemented SAMBA FleetWatch, an automated monthly driver record monitoring service. All city employee names are entered into the SAMBA FleetWatch system, where each month, lists are checked against the state driver database. SAMBA reports any new citations, DUI/DWI convictions, expired licenses and upcoming license renewal dates. The concise report includes only those drivers with incidents. Management no longer sifts through hundreds of records to discover those few employees that need attention. Management can immediately remove unlicensed or dangerous drivers. In many cases, agency management requires those with new citations to take some form of driver training.
High-profile agency incidents are costly
Jury awards in negligent entrustment cases are escalating. Government fleets are at risk for high-profile incidents. Highlights of recent water department settlements for employee drivers include the City of Tampa, with the largest payment in its history, an almost $18 million dollar jury award. The City of Detroit paid $5.5 million and $3.9 million in two different law suits involving drivers for their city water department.
It’s your bottom line.
Every fleet safety program should include monthly driver’s license checks to ensure a qualified fleet. Clearly written fleet policies should define the number of violations an employee can accumulate before losing driving privileges. Management and their agency could experience a negligent entrustment lawsuit for failing to take remedial action. Fleet and Safety managers, Human Resource Directors and supervisors, are ultimately responsible for being informed on their driver’s histories. FleetWatch makes that easy.