When was the last time you reviewed your formal vehicle policy? Is it up to date considering new and developing federal, state and local regulations regarding distracted driving, cell-phone use, anti-idling regulations? Does it include policies that compliment your in-house safety, maintenance, and green-fleet initiatives? Are you sure your drivers understand it?
If you don’t yet have a written policy, or haven’t reviewed your written policy recently, you may be putting your drivers and company at greater risk of fines, higher operating costs, or potential negligent entrustment lawsuits.
A written vehicle policy is essential for any company that owns a fleet of vehicles that has drivers on the road, including those that are driving their own personal vehicles on company business. It lets employees see, in writing, what is expected of them. The policy should lay out the rules and regulations, in detail, required in order to drive for your company. Outline the principal policies, rules and regulations in a clear, concise detailed manner. If everything is clear cut, there will be no questions or confusion as to what is expected of your drivers and will help limit your liability.
Do You Drivers Read and Understand the Policy?
Simply having employees “sign on the dotted line” that they’ve read the policy isn’t enough – especially if the vehicle policy is mixed in a pile of other employment papers that are signed one after the other at time of hiring.
Even if your drivers took the time to read the policy, consider for a moment that U.S. Department of Education studies (1992, 2003) indicate that 33% of adults have only basic or below basic abilities to perform simple and everyday literacy activities. Do your drivers really understand your policy?
Testing each drivers understanding of your vehicle policy leaves virtually no room for excuses of “not knowing” what your company expects, and creates a document that may come in handy during any future internal performance review or unexpected legal action.
How to Test?
It’s possible to create your own in-house vehicle policy test and keep the results with personnel records, covering key issues contained in the policy. A randomized test will help keep the test repeatable and honest. An easier method may be to use a managed policy testing system for presenting your policy and testing your drivers comprehension with a professionally designed randomized test.
In either case, it’s advisable that drivers be re-tested on the policy throughout their employment on a regular basis – perhaps once a year. This will help keep the policies clear and fresh in their minds, and ensure that any updates made to your policy actually make it to the people in the driver’s seat.
More Than a Document
With yearly policy review and comprehension testing, your vehicle policy will no longer be just a condition for employment, it can become an important corner-stone document and active participant in your “corporate culture of safety.”