Make safety a priority.

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Decision Points

  • Does your company employ persons who drive while at work? If so, your business is vulnerable to vicarious liability or negligent entrustment claims. How do these claims arise? If your employee, driving a vehicle while on company time, causes damage or injury, your business may be found liable. Typically, these claims rest upon a showing that your company was aware, or should have been aware, that the particular driver wasn't competent, was inexperienced, not properly trained, or in some manner unsuitable to operate the vehicle at that particular time. How can you guard against negligent entrustment? A new white paper, "Understanding Negligent Entrustment Issues When Employees Drive on Company Time" sets forth five key factors: 1.Select your drivers carefully --

  • Ensuring driver safety is the biggest priority of fleet managers, according to a survey conducted at the 2014 NAFA Institute and Expo by GE Capital Fleet Services. With more than a third (35 percent) of fleet managers identifying it as their main concern, driver safety outpaced cost-savings goals and workforce productivity (27 percent and 22 percent, respectively) as the top concern for the second year in a row. In addition, 62 percent of survey respondents said that the main focus of their company's executive (C-suite) leadership is achieving cost savings. With this goal in mind, fleet managers are using a number of tactics to manage costs. Forty-three percent of respondents cited vehicle purchasing decisions as the greatest opportunity for savings,

  • If you’ve not heard, a mother of two was killed as they crossed the street by a SDG&E company driver that police suspect was distracted while driving. The family of the victim has filed a negligence lawsuit against SDG&E for allegedly not having a cell phone policy in place. While the accident is still under investigation, police have cited inattention or distracted driving as the likely cause of the accident, but have not specified if it was cell phone use….the lawsuit alleges that SDG&E acted in negligence forsupposedly failing to implement a cell phone ban policy for fleet drivers. Negligence lawsuits related to lack of policies, lack of testing employees understanding of policies, or operational inconsistencies regarding policies are on the

  • Minicars generally fared poorly in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s newest and toughest trial. Of the 11 minicars tested, none achieved the institute’s highest rating of Good. Only one – the Chevrolet Spark – achieved the next highest rating of Acceptable. The others received ratings of either Marginal or Poor, the lowest rating. The two worst-performing vehicles were the Honda Fit and the Fiat 500, although a completely redesigned Fit goes on sale this spring. Russ Radar, a spokesman for the institute recommends “…If safety is a priority, it’s better to move up even one class size.”

  • General Motors said Friday that they will recall 370,000 full sized pickups due to fire risks posed by a software bug that may cause the engine to idle incorrectly, overheating elements of the exhaust system. GM confirms that there have been at least 8 fires cause by the software problem, which sometimes causes a "check engine light" and "engine power reduced" warning lights to illuminate. GM said Friday it will recall 2014 Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras to reprogram software that could lead to overheating of exhaust components, potentially causing engine compartment fires. The 2014 Silverado is one of three finalists for North American Truck of the Year, which will be awarded Monday at the North American International Auto Show.

  • The Center for Truck and Bus Safety studied carrier crash data from DOT and (14) participating commercial fleets to study the effectiveness of on-board safety systems (OBSS) in reducing or preventing collisions. Today's modern trucks commonly feature one or more of OBSSs to help the driver mitigate or avoid a crash. Examples of commonly deployed OBSSs for CMVs include electronic stability control (ESC), roll stability control (RSC), lane departure warning (LDW), blind spot warning (BSW), forward collision warning (FCW), adaptive cruise control (ACC), and collision mitigation braking systems (CMBS). In-service effectiveness assessment of these systems is of significant importance to FMCSA, U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), fleets, safety advocacy groups and other industry stakeholders. This study not only augments the

  • It's important to demonstrate that your employees comprehend and understand the policies you work so hard to create. Considering that your average worker reads at a 6th grade level, and your policies are written (and/or vetted) by attorneys, there is need to focus on communication of policy principles using plain language that "anyone" can understand. Confirming policy comprehension requires something more rigorous than simply having a signature upon hire. Testing each employee on the key points in your policies demonstrates that not only were they aware there is a policy (like a signature), but provides a record that employee also understood the contents of the policy. Passing "score" should be 100%, and a record of each failing attempt should be

  • The Traffic Injury Research Foundation recently released a paper (.pdf) citing several early studies that indicate driving with "voice to text" texting technology is still a major distraction for drivers, and dispels the myth of employees being able to "multitask" during "windshield time".The crash risk associated with hands-free texting while driving is not as well understood because in-car voice-to-text technology is relatively new, and few studies investigating this specific issue have been completed to date. ​​What is known, however, supports the contention that hands-free texting while driving poses significant distraction, and consequently, unacceptable crash risk (Tijerina 2008). ​​T​o put this traffic safety issue and public health concern into perspective, this paper draws upon existing research in order to share insight

  • Guest Blogger: Bob O'Connor, CFO, I recently reviewed the excerpts of a topic at the 2013 Fleet Safety Conference (.pdf) in relation to the personal use of company vehicles. Those in attendance were clearly exposed to some excellent information in relation to positioning themselves and their companies to reduce their exposure to risk and enhanced employee accountability. It was one area that really caught my eye that I want to discuss. Now I do have to apologize in advance that I was not in attendance at this event so for those exposed to this article it is here I would ask for your feedback to ensure the audience can also benefit from the experience. In allowing employees families the

  • The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a facts sheet that summarizes state-by-state trends in seat belt usage. The national average is up in 2012, to nearly 86%, but some important changes to the criteria used were also made recently. In 2012, seat belt use in the United States ranged from 66.5 percent in South Dakota to 96.9 percent in Washington. These results are from probability-based observational surveys conducted by 50 States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. These surveys are conducted in accordance with criteria established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ensure reliable results. Compliance with the criteria is verified annually by NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis... ...Sixteen States, the District

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