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3 Myths About Driver Safety Strategies for Fleets: Debunked

There’s a lot of misinformation surrounding how companies should be managing their fleets’ driver risk. This misunderstanding creates a dangerous gap between driver risk management myths and reality, which can expose businesses to unidentified risk, costly litigation and high insurance premium costs.

That’s why businesses need to remain as informed as possible while at the same time confronting their own often long-held misconceptions as to what effective driver risk management means. To help, we’ve debunked three of the most common myths we hear at SambaSafety.

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Three Most Common Myths About Fleet Driver Safety Management

MYTH: Background checks, public records and license status checks upon hire are enough

TRUTH: While the information you receive from each of these is important, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Additionally, cherry-picking the public information available about individual driving performance is risky, and while it may prove easy, it can often be inaccurate.

This is because the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires data used to take adverse action on an individual, including things like reprimands, suspensions and terminations, to be as current and accurate as possible. These two things typically work against each other, since public records include cases in progress and have at times inaccurate data. Often, public records don’t even meet FCRA standards.

You may also be missing out on valuable information needed to appropriately intervene with your employees. License status checks, for example, don’t provide any information surrounding driver behavior. They also lack specific violation details that outline the actions leading to the invalid status. Reasons also vary state-to-state when constituting a license as invalid, leaving much to be desired.

MYTH: Pulling motor vehicle records (MVRs) once or twice a year is best practice

TRUTH: This is a common and extremely costly misconception. What happens between these infrequent MVR checks can have a huge impact on your company’s liability, in addition to the safety of your drivers and community. Pulling MVRs at-hire, once a year or bi-annually only captures a snapshot in time, prompting the question – what’s happening all other days of the year? This is known as the visibility gap.

At SambaSafety, we’ve been analyzing driver data for over 20 years. We’ve found that when a company’s visibility gap goes unmonitored:

  • 10% of drivers make up 40% of a company’s crash-related costs
  • 3-5% of drivers have an invalid license
  • 19% of fatalities involve invalid licenses

Companies can’t afford to rely on the honor system for something as significant as managing driver risk. How would you know if an employee gets a DUI, doesn’t self-report and continues driving on behalf of your company? Would you find out about this violation the next time you pull an MVR? What if that employee who received the DUI was also involved in a crash on company time before you found out?

In order to gain full visibility of your company’s driver risk, you need to think beyond manual MVR pulls and driver self-reporting.

MYTH: In-vehicle telematics and GPS data give me enough driver insight

TRUTH: In-vehicle telematics and GPS, while beneficial in many ways, don’t give you the full driver insight needed to spot and mitigate driver risk most effectively.

Telematics and GPS don’t give you a view into off-the-clock behavior, or any sort of behavior once that device has been turned off. If relying solely on these technologies, you won’t know when a driver is arrested for a DUI, ticketed for a traffic violation or involved in an after-hours incident.

It’s important to have clear insight into an employee’s driver performance during non-work hours, as statistics show that incidents occur when much of the workforce isn’t on the clock – between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Driver Monitoring Best Practices to Keep Your Company Safer

The first step in combatting your company’s driver risk is to dismantle the long-held misconceptions surrounding what effective driver monitoring means. Violations and license data, background checks, detailed incident reports, telematics and MVRs are all part of an integrated approach to monitoring driver safety, but they paint an incomplete picture of driver risk on their own.

To discover effective solutions to the driver risk management myths we’ve debunked above, download this checklist to learn how you can implement a comprehensive driver safety program.

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