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Employers are vicariously liable for injuries to others caused by the negligence of their employees while driving on behalf of the employer.  Employers are also liable for injuries to the employee driver sustained while driving for the benefit of the employer under workers’ compensation laws, even if the other driver is negligent.

Whether an employee’s primary job duty is driving or if the employee occasionally drives, employers must prohibit texting while driving and require employees to follow rules of the road as part of their job.  Choosing the right employees to drive for your company is the most basic element in your company’s fleet safety program.

An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey of 2,511 drivers found that 88 percent of drivers, ages 19 to 24, engage in risky behavior behind the wheel including texting while driving, running red lights, and speeding.

Specifically, 59.3 percent of Millennials admit to texting while driving; nearly half admitted running red lights; and more than 10 percent said it was acceptable to speed in a school zone.

Eighty percent of drivers surveyed (Millennials, Generation X’ers, Baby Boomers, etc.) think it is unacceptable to drive while drowsy; however, 28.9 percent admitted driving while drowsy. Ninety percent of surveyed drivers understood it was dangerous to drive through a red light, but nearly one-third polled admitted driving through red lights.

Choosing the right employees to drive for your company is the most basic element in your company’s fleet safety program, because driver behavior is responsible for 90% of all highway accidents. In 2013, motor vehicle crashes cost U.S. employers $25 billion.

Who Are Your Drivers?

Anyone who drives a vehicle on behalf of your company, whether it is owned by the company, rented, or is a personal vehicle, should be considered a driver.  Employees hired mainly as drivers are easy to identify. But, occasional drivers who use rental or personal vehicles for business purposes are sometimes overlooked when companies consider their fleet risks. Companies must be mindful of everyone who is driving on behalf of the organization, and the extent of that driving.

Good Drivers Are Good for Business

Your business depends on your drivers and the decisions they make on the road every day. Here are some ways that good drivers benefit your bottom line:

  • Reduce the cost of loss. Fleet vehicle accidents are among the most costly of injury claims for business. The average cost of a loss related to vehicle accidents is approximately $70,000. Safe drivers can help lower the possibility of loss due to accidents.
  • Lower liability in case of loss. Effective screening, hiring, training and monitoring can help reduce liability.
  • Boost your public image. Every driver has the potential to send a message. When your truck is headed down the highway, you want it to tell a positive story about your company. A good driver tells the kind of story you want to tell.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources and is not all inclusive regarding the subject matter. This content is offered for educational purposes only. Posted with permission from Travelers Insurance.

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