It was reported last month that one federal agency is claiming immunity from state and local regulations and thereby choosing to not pay traffic violations issued to them, such as those generated by red-light enforcement cameras. While it is likely a court will eventually enforce the agency’s obligation to pay the violations, one thing is certain, the rest of us are still on the hook when it comes to compliance with local, state and federal laws and regulations.
Managing violations is an important part of a fleet manager’s job. Naturally, violations have an impact on the bottom line. More violations means more money out the door. But an uptick in violations can also be an indication of a larger safety issue. You can’t really control the regulations and laws that are put in place, but you can control the measures you put in place to ensure your drivers are behaving in a safe and responsible manner. So what are some best practices you should consider?
-Check a driver’s record before they ever get behind the wheel and make it a practice to check a driver’s record on a regular basis. Before you ever allow a new hire to drive one of your organization’s vehicles, make sure to do a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) check. Individuals with a history of poor driving or a long record of violations should be given close scrutiny before being hired. And, once they are on the road, make it a practice to do an MVR check once a year to ensure you are aware of any changes – including violations you may not have known about – to that driver’s record.
-Have a clearly established driver safety policy. Having a clearly established driver safety policy will not only make it plain that safety is a priority but will also help define the protocol for drivers who are issued violations while in a company vehicle.
-Require training for new drivers and consider offering regular refresher courses for existing drivers. Every new driver should be given training and fleet managers should consider offering annual refresher courses to all drivers to ensure employees are familiar with and are following the established safety policy. Emphasizing safety and training from the beginning and as a regular course of practice will help prevent violations from ever happening in the first place.
-Address incidents in a timely manner. If a driver does end up with a violation, make sure to address it in a timely manner. This will not only make it clear to that driver that violations and driver safety are important to the company, it will set a standard for the other drivers as well.
The Violations Solution
Violations don’t have to be a necessary and routine course of doing business. While most of us are not lucky enough to be able to claim immunity from enforcement, fleet managers do have options to help them address violations and keep them in check so they don’t become an issue. Two main options that fleet managers must do is invest in things that will improve efficiency or stand up in a court of law. A Fleet Management System is one of those things. Having an In-Vehicle Camera or a GPS Fleet Tracking Device will increase efficiency and ensure legal proof of everyday occurrences. Time is passing by, and with that your fleet is losing money and creating unnecessary legal issues for your company. So, protect yourself and protect your drivers now!