MANAGING RISK: Down The Road
Maintaining safety awareness with drivers already in the seat is good business.
Having the right delivery staff in place is a key to the dealer equation—deliveries have to be on time, undamaged and complete, or reputations suffer.
While hiring the right drivers for the job is the dealer’s responsibility, making sure drivers are following the rules of the road and performing safely is an equally important responsibility. False steps on the road can lead to more than just a damaged reputation.
When it comes to managing risk at your company, proper procedure should include making sure that drivers continue to follow the rules of the road and keep safety at the forefront of their decisions. By maintaining in-house standards, and reinforcing them to your drivers, it pays dividends in headaches avoided and dollars saved down the road while preserving the company’s image.
“Always keep the topic of safety in front of your drivers,” says Jack West, national accounts manager at Federated Insurance. “Once a driver has been hired, never leave the topic of safety alone.”
Routine driver meetings, a daily topic, safety posters or fliers attached to a paycheck are all methods that can help keep good driving in the spotlight. But a dealer should also establish exact rules of road and delivery conduct, which drivers are fully aware of—or sign-off on—once they are employees of the company. This might include what won’t be tolerated regarding drug and alcohol use, cell phone regulations, load-checks and how many infractions a driver is allowed to receive before there are consequences.
“It helps to create a documented training program that you have laid out for the drivers,” says Greg Pianko, vice president of loss control at Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company (PLM). “This way the drivers are aware of properly operating a vehicle in the manner that you want.”
Pianko also recommends paying closer attention to new or problematic drivers. “That’s where the focus needs to be,” he says. Pianko also recommends working with your insurance company, broker or agent to develop personal company standards.
“A driver might have a clean record but that doesn’t always mean they’ve been trained for all of the aspects they might encounter when making a delivery,” Pianko says.
There are rural routes and urban routes. Some driveways are short, some are long and winding and others aren’t paved at all—the same goes for job sites. A driver might not encounter another vehicle for long stretches of road and the next day they’re stuck in stopgo- and-stop-again city traffic.