The world of liability risks can be full of countless what-ifs and endless sources of confusion for fleet managers. Without a talent for clairvoyance, it’s impossible to predict exactly what liability issues may arise in your fleet’s future and is thus impossible to prepare for all of these. That doesn’t mean, however, that you cannot prepare for the most common issues that may arise. While you could dwell on distant possibilities and hypothetical scenarios when trying to figure out how to limit fleet liability, using some actionable strategies to limit sources of exposure will generally yield much better results.
1. Improve Your Insurance
While insurance doesn’t necessarily limit liability exposure, the right insurance coverage will certainly minimize liability costs. Unfortunately, finding this insurance can prove difficult for fleet managers trying to strike a healthy balance between cost and coverage. Finding the ideal coverage for your fleet involves taking into account a number of factors, including fleet size and risk factors. The amount of coverage your fleet needs can vary, but liability coverage is always essential. Collision and comprehensive coverage options, while not always necessary, can definitely help control accident costs.
When researching coverage options, take some time to assess your fleet’s unique insurance needs and ask prospective providers how they intend to meet these. Don’t be afraid to shop around–getting a feel for what different providers are offering might help you zero in on what exactly is best for your fleet.
2. Make Smart Hiring Decisions
Finding the right insurance coverage is a great first step, but your company’s insurance bill and liability exposure can only be reduced if safety risks are properly managed. Putting even a single inexperienced, untrained, or undisciplined driver behind the wheel of one of your vehicles can lead to accidents and, in turn, liability costs. While no fleet manager can control every potential risk and pitfall their fleet may face, there are several things you can do to minimize the dangers presented by an unsafe driver.
Driver risk management and accident reduction begins with the hiring process. Some prospective drivers present more of a liability than your fleet may be able to take on, which is why thorough background checks are essential when hiring new drivers. If a candidate has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, reckless driving, or speeding, it’s important that you’re made aware of it as soon as possible. A background check can go a long way toward reducing both your company’s accident risk and potential liability costs down the road.
3. Safety and Supervision
No company wants an unsafe driver operating one of their corporate vehicles, putting both their assets and their reputation at risk, but it can be difficult for fleet managers to ensure every driver is on their best behavior at all times. This is why it’s necessary to impress upon your drivers the importance of safe driving practices. It may be necessary to revise an existing safety program–or implement an entirely new one–to make sure your driver training covers all necessary bases.
Every fleet manager knows how important safety training is, but few realize that adequate driver supervision and assistance–even after the training process is complete–can be just as important. A mobile workforce management system can empower you to make decisions based on up-to-date information while maintaining contact with your drivers. With such a system in place, you can always know if a job is being done in a timely and safe manner, reducing your drivers’ accident risk and your company’s liability exposure.
4. Stay Current With Compliance
Sometimes it can seem like there are more rules and regulations to follow than any fleet could possibly manage. Ensuring compliance with all of these can be a difficult and convoluted process, but doing so can keep your liability exposure at a minimum.
Industry and statutory standards exist to address and prevent potentially dangerous problems. Keeping up with the constant changes and additions to these can be a hassle, but it’s well worth your company’s time to ensure compliance with all applicable standards. Failing to do so can expose your fleet to unnecessary risk and leave it vulnerable to liability costs.
5. Keep Up On Maintenance
Unsafe and poorly-maintained vehicles, much like unsafe and poorly-supervised drivers, present a serious risk to your company. The cost of repairing preventable damage can skyrocket quickly if a thorough and regular maintenance schedule isn’t in place. Additionally, the potential liability costs of an accident caused by an unaddressed vehicular issue will likely dwarf any amount that addressing the issue would have required.
Keeping current on the status and maintenance needs of every vehicle can be challenging, especially for large fleets. Using scheduled maintenance reminders and real-time diagnostic alerts keeps your maintenance activities on schedule, reducing the risk of vehicles missing necessary repairs or inspections.
Your fleet’s liability exposure shouldn’t be keeping you awake at night. Limit your exposure with thorough hiring and training processes, regular maintenance, and a fleet-wide emphasis on compliance. By mitigating the most common sources of liability costs, you can protect your fleet from potentially devastating expenses. Using the strategies listed above can help you get started down the right path.