Why Annual Motor Vehicle Record Checks Are Not Enough

There are more than three and a half million truck drivers in the United States according to the American Trucking Association. Surprisingly, that number accounts exclusively for commercial truck drivers. Add in bus drivers, private shuttles, taxis, ride-sharing services, delivery services, movers and more, and there are millions of people across the United States who spend most of their workday behind the wheel.

If your employees drive for work, you need to know that they’re being safe. The fear of not knowing whether your employees violate traffic laws or cause a crash while on the clock could cost you more than you think.

Annual Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Checks Aren’t Enough

If you employ commercial truck drivers, you’re legally required to pull motor vehicle records at least once a year. Making things more confusing, that requirement doesn’t apply to non-commercial drivers.

For non-commercial drivers, employers typically check MVRs only upon hire, with some employers not checking at all. If there are not appropriate steps taken to attempt to keep the driver, company and community safe, the employer can be found liable for any incident occuring on (and sometimes off) the clock.

That’s why there’s liability insurance – right? Partially true. While your insurance should cover any damage that employees cause, there’s a catch — insurance companies are concerned with who was at fault.

Let’s say you hire a new employee with a clean driving record in June. Over the course of the next few months, they incur a few moving violations off the clock in their personal vehicle. Although seemingly minor, these continuously add up and create costly implications for the driver and the company. Then your employee gets into a crash on company time due to driving too fast,  entering an intersection after the light turned red, colliding with another car.

Insurance companies are going to examine the most current driving records of both parties, subsequently deciding who’s at fault for damages. When they do, they’ll find that your employee has a history of moving violations, meaning they were high-risk and shouldn’t have been behind the wheel.

If only puling MVRs once a year (or not at all), there’s no way to know that the employee had these violations. Although a convincing argument, it won’t matter to insurance companies. What they’ll see is that you allowed an employee with a history of unsafe driving to get behind the wheel on behalf of your company and, as a result, a crash occurred.

In some states, you may be found responsible for the crash, as it could fall under “negligent hiring” or “negligent retention.” This means that you’re found guilty of hiring or keeping an employee with an unsafe driving record. Despite not knowing about these infractions, you’re running the risk of being punished for their bad behavior.

After all, a crash could cost your company millions, whether it be the seemingly insurmountable legal fees brought on by a lawsuit, damages incurred, property damage, medical expenses, rising insurance premiums or loss of productivity Even worse is the hit to the company’s reputation — according to SambaSafety data and research, company revenue after a negligent crash drop an average of eight percent from the negative press.

Harsh Reality For Fleet Owners

Despite the fact that fleet crashes cause major problems for their drivers, communities and the company itself, most fleet owners don’t use continuous driver monitoring. In fact, through SambaSafety’s data gathered, only 30 percent of fleet owners employ some sort of driver monitoring.

Let’s look at some more data – almost 60 percent of companies don’t have a driver safety program, two-thirds don’t pull employee driving records once a year and a quarter of companies use an electronic MVR system. Despite those compelling numbers, 80 percent of companies say that driver safety is their number one priority.

Continuous Driver Monitoring Is The Best Solution

If safety is your number one priority, you should to be monitoring your drivers — and continuously at that. SambaSafety’s monitoring keeps an eye on company-specific driver MVRs, saving the hassle and cost of pulling records on a continuous basis. With the ability to be notified almost immediately, continuous driver monitoring seems like an easy way to keep all on and off the road safer.