Establishing A Dealership Driving Policy
To protect your interests and help ensure an accident free dealership, you must take concrete steps to keep bad drivers from getting behind the wheel:
The primary way to accomplish this is the proper screening of new employees before they are allowed to drive.
Only employees with good driving records can be allowed to drive.
Employees with poor driving records or employees who violate company policies on safe driving must be subject to discipline, ranging from safe driver training and (temporary) prohibition on driving all the way to termination.
Any employee who must drive while working but whose driving record is unacceptable should be moved into another position which does not require driving.
If this is not possible, it may be necessary to terminate the employee based upon the inability to perform the job safely.
There are five basic elements in a safe driver program:
- Establishing a clear policy that safe driving is an essential job function.
- Having every employee who drives sign a safe driver certification (the form is part of this packet).
- Performing an annual or semi-annual check of driving records for all employees who drive while working.
- Requiring employees to report any on or off the job moving violations or accidents within specific time frames.
- Taking prompt disciplinary action with appropriate documentation on any employees with poor driving records or accidents.
You should have a written policy on safe driving that contains the following language:
Safe driving is an essential part of your job.
Management will periodically review driving records of all employees who drive in the course of their work and will take appropriate corrective action for any employee with a history of poor driving, whether on or off the job.
Employees with a pattern of poor driving will not be allowed to drive in the performance of their jobs.
Employees who fail to comply with this policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.
Setting Up Your Program
Following is the information needed to implement a comprehensive program to establish Dealership driving policy.
Steps to be taken include:
- Orient all employees to the importance of safe driving:
Each driver should read and sign a “Safe Driver Certification” form. Each employee should be made aware of new company policies, including the need to report any accidents or moving violations (as outlined in the “Safe Driver Certification” form).
- Track the submission of individual driving records
- Review the records as they are submitted:
Guidelines for reviewing records are found below.
Schedule follow up reviews as needed (at least annually for drivers with clean records; more frequently for drivers with poor records).
- Take action:
Inform each driver of his/her status
Drivers with serious violations or multiple offenses should be put on probationary status with limited or no driving.
Any subsequent problems with these drivers must result in loss of driving privileges.
- Schedule periodic reviews:
Keep good records. If problems/litigation arise, you will need to prove that your safe driver program is credible.
New employees must be required to submit driving records as above.
For employees who drive extensively in the course of their jobs, safe driving should be an important aspect of performance reviews, including grounds for achieving goals/bonuses.
All employees who drive while working should sign this form.
Make two copes:
- Have the employee sign both copies.
- Keep the original in the employee’s file.
- Give a copy to the employee.
The process of signing this form should be done annually. In addition, make sure that all new employees who may drive as part of their jobs sign the form during new employee orientation.
I recognize that safe driving is an essential part of my job. I will abide by the following safe driving standards:
- I am committed to safe, defensive driving at all times and will maintain a valid drivers license.
- I will use a seat-belt at all times and will advise customers that State law requires all passengers to wear them as well.
- I will never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- I will inspect company vehicles prior to driving and will report any mechanical problems or body damage immediately.
- I will report any on-the-job accidents or moving violations to management immediately and will cooperate fully with the insurance claims investigation.
- I will report any and all moving violations or at-fault accidents that occur off-the-job immediately.
- I will report any medical conditions and/or doctor prescribed medications that may impact my ability to operate a vehicle.
- Management may check my driving record at any time they deem appropriate.
My signature indicates that I am fully aware of and will abide by company safety policies related to driving.
FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE ABOVE DESCRIBED SAFETY POLICIES MAY RESULT IN EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE UP TO AND INCLUDING TRANSFER TO A NON-DRIVING POSITION OR TERMINATION.
Employee sign & date
Manager sign & date
[Keep original in file. Give a copy to the employee. This form should be renewed annually.]
While the format of driving records varies somewhat from state to state, the essential information is the same.
Key information includes:
The nature of violations/accidents
The total number of violations/accidents
Please note that employer discretion is evident in any interpretation of data.
You may well find that essential employees are in the high risk category.
There are few hard and fast cut-off points in this analysis. But keep in mind that by allowing people to drive while they work for you, you are explicitly endorsing their driving skills and experience.
These standards apply to ordinary driving only.
For drivers with commercial licenses, the standards are much stricter.
The ability to drive with a CDL license is governed by federal statute.
Red Zone: Highest Risk Drivers
These individuals generally should not operate motor vehicles as part of their employment.
One or more serious violations (DUI, license suspension, hit and run, etc.)
One or more serious accidents (at fault)
One serious accident or violation plus several minor infractions
If you choose to allow a driver in the “Red Zone” to drive for your company, you have created a very open-ended liability for their driving actions.
Yellow Zone: Moderate Risk Drivers
These individuals may drive while working, provided they maintain clean records.
Their records reveal:
One or 2 minor violations over a three year period
One minor accident
If these drivers report any additional violations or accidents, you will need to sit down with them and review their driving status.
Corrective actions may include short-term suspension of driving privileges, limited driving for a set period of time, essential driving only. You may choose not to impose sanctions, but merely to reiterate safe driving policies.
Once again, document actions taken.
Green Zone: Low Risk Drivers
These individuals have clean driving records for at least three years.
If these drivers report minor violations or accidents, you may choose to continue their current unlimited driving status. If they are involved in more serious accidents or violations, you should take corrective action, ranging from “yellow” to “red” zone sanctions, depending upon the severity of the incident.
One final note:
You may have older individuals who have driven without incident for many years.
If these people develop age-related symptoms of impaired driving (slower reflexes, difficulty with night vision), work with the individuals and their doctors to ensure that they can still drive safely.
For questions regarding Human Resources or employment regulations you may want to Jennifer McBennett of Seay Management Consultants at 407-426-9484 or email her.