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In today’s difficult business environment, it’s critical for companies to make a firm commitment to risk management. One essential element of an overall risk management program is employee screening. By carefully screening prospective hires, companies can help ensure that they hire reliable, honest employees. Companies with employee drivers should take every reasonable step to make sure that those individuals are safe drivers to reduce risk and protect their businesses. Among those steps is the use of Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) to check an applicant’s driving history. MVR checks of employees have become a critical Fleet Safety Program component and can protect a company against litigation following an accident….
In the past, business owners would rely on their insurance agent or auto insurance company to review employees’ driving records and advise whether they were “insurable” and could be placed behind the wheel of a company vehicle. However, in the last decade, one key piece of legislation and an additional national standard has focused the burden squarely on the employer.
First off, The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, significantly limited the sharing of private information that financial institutions (including insurance companies) maintain. So, when an insurance company runs an MVR check on an employee, they will not share the results of that check with the insurance agent, or the employer. They will tell you if the employee is excluded from the auto policy, or not, but that’s about as far as it should go. Just because an employee is “insurable,” does not absolve an employer from any negligent entrustment or other liability for an employee’s acts behind the wheel.
Secondly, the American National Standard (ANSI) Z15.1-2006, Section 5.1.3 states that “Organizations shall perform applicant background checks, including state motor vehicle record (MVR) checks and reference checks with previous employers in accordance with applicable privacy laws. Organizations shall have a written policy as to what would disqualify an applicant. Organizations shall establish a program for periodically performing and reviewing each driver’s state MVR, to assure that the driver remains qualified.”
If the GLBA and the ANSI Standard don’t get employers motivated to implement a program and evaluate driving records for their employees, some statistics from the NHTSA, The economic burden of traffic crashes on employers just may.
“Motor vehicle crashes cost employers $60 billion annually in medical care, legal expenses, property damage, and lost productivity. OSHA estimates that the average crash costs an employer $16,500. When a worker has an on-the-job crash that results in an injury, the cost to their employer is $74,000. Costs can exceed $500,000 when a fatality is involved. If punitive damages are awarded, that figure can soar into the millions of dollars per incident.
As an employer, if you’re on board with running MVR’s on your own, then where do you go for guidelines and driver qualifications? Most insurance carriers may have templates for you to use, and they may vary slightly, but the most important recommendation is to put it in writing and be consistent for all employees. Here is what we recommend for clients of Gulfshore Insurance:
An organization should order an MVR:
- Prior to allowing an employee to operate a company-owned or leased vehicle
- Prior to employee using personally owned or leased vehicles on company business
- Annually for each driver there after
- Post crash for any driver
Driver Qualifications should include:
1. Age Requirement
- Must be at least 23-years old for CDL drivers and 21-years old for non-CDL drivers
2. Driving Experience
- Minimum of 2 years full-time verifiable similar type vehicle including tractor-trailer
3. No positive drug or alcohol test – including pre-employment, random, post-accident, or reasonable suspicion
4. Driving and Crash Record
- NO more than 4 moving traffic violations (including no more than 1 preventable crash) during the previous 36 months
- NO speeding excess (over 25 MPH over the speed limit) violation during the previous 36 months. If the exact amount is unknown, use the state category that most closely matches this speed.
- NO Driving Under the Influence, D.U.I. (Drug or Alcohol) conviction during the previous 5 years in a commercial or personal motor vehicle.
- NO Vehicular Homicide, Manslaughter or Assault
- NO operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked drivers license or history of license suspensions
- NO using a vehicle in the commission of a felony
- NO operating a vehicle without the owner’s permission
- NO reckless driving or speed contests
- NO leaving the scene of an accident – Bodily Injury or Physical Damage
- NO eluding a police officer
The implementation of any of these recommendations or a full Fleet Safety Program should fit in with your organization’s overall Risk Management program.
John Keller, CRM ARM CIC AAI is the Director of Risk Management and Claims at Gulfshore Insurance. John works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis and guidance. Comments and questions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
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