What you need to know about operating Company Vehicles

Avoid Company Vehicle liability Issues

A company vehicle in many cases is vital to support the service one offers. It is as well an ideal platform to showcase your company brand and services offered through vehicle signage. This advantage is negated if your vehicle gets in an accident or breaks down and sits on the side of the road and that’s not the worst of it.

In a world of never-ending litigation of most anything, it is vital that your company establishes company vehicle rules/guidelines and well document that policy. The fact is there will be an event that comes up and unless you dot your I’s and cross the T’s you could open your company up to costly litigation plus negative exposure.

Steps you can take

Take the time to establish clear company vehicle policies and play it safe and require a background check and driving record report on any employee that drives said vehicle(s). Attached is a link to a free Company Vehicle Policy Template.

Vehicle Maintenance is a must!

Stay vigilant in regards to your Company Vehicle Maintenance Schedule, and keep all records updated. In the event of an accident and it appears clear your driver was not at fault you can still partially be found liable, which can be costly. Keeping clear and updated records in regards to the vehicle maintenance schedule can only help avoid a potential issue.

The Blame Game

in the event of an accident, a seasoned attorney will subpoena your driver policy guidelines, safety, and maintenance records.  Their goal is to establish a case where it may have been possible your driver could have avoided such an accident.  A sample of this is a cracked windshield, could your driver have avoided the accident or even caused it due to a vision issue because of the cracked windshield?  If your company does not even have a broken windshield policy is your company operating an unsafe vehicle?  A good attorney will do all they can to blame or share the blame. It is important to remember this is a big part of an accident attorney’s bag of tricks, that is too muddy the waters. The second common issue could be, driver, tires, and brakes. Therefore it is important that you have clear driver and maintenance policies and procedures in place.

Sadly this is the world we are in so to avoid issues take the following steps:

  1. Establish clear company driver guidelines and policies and document ongoing training and refresher courses.
  2. Maintain maintenance schedules and keep all records updated.
  3. Add a “How I am I driving” sticker with a vehicle ID number.
  4. Take advantage of a loop recording front-facing-camera, which can now be purchased for as little as $30-$100.
  5. Work closely with your insurance provider to  ensure you have adequate coverage and adopt any safety policies they might recommend.
  6. A company driver should at the least preform a pre-trip inspection when taking the vehicle off property each and every time. Ideally, a pre-trip and post-trip inspection should be established. – Vehicle Trip Inspection Form.
  7. Check or sign up for alerts with the vehicle manufactures web-site for any recalls and schedule for any recall to be addressed ASAP.
  8. Have your vehicle inspected annually by a 3rd party authorized vehicle inspection company.

DOT Mobile Express provides annual DOT and non-DOT standard vehicle inspections that follows the same guidelines set down by the (DOT) US Department of Transportation insuring your company is following the same guidelines established by the US government.

Summing it up

Although things happen in regards to your vehicles operating condition at any time you need to document that you as a company make every effort to keep vehicles, drivers and the general public as safe as possible by establishing company vehicle safety procedures.

A company vehicle is an important tool for many companies. We have to put our trust in the employee driving said vehicle plus every other person on the road, with well-established policies you can minimize that risk. The fact is at some point there will be an event and you may have a pack of wolves trying to turn an anthill into a mountain. Have the attitude all your records may be subpoenaed should you have pending litigation. I guess the question is, are you ready for that?

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