According to the National Transportation Safety Board, motor vehicle crashes are the single largest source of workplace-related injury and death in the United States. In fact, Risk and Insurance Management Society estimates employer costs at over $16,500 per motor vehicle accident. That figure quickly rises to over $70,000 if a personal injury is involved.
Every time an employee gets behind the wheel of a company vehicle or uses their personal vehicle on company business you’re at risk. Unfortunately, checking motor vehicle records at the time of hire and once a year may not be enough. This can leave large time gaps creating liability risk for your organization.
This liability risk is called negligent entrustment. Negligent entrustment arises when you know that the use of a vehicle by that driver may create a risk to others. In order for your company to be held responsible, a court must determine:
- You knew or should have known about the drivers incompetence;
- You gave permission to drive;
- The driver’s negligence caused the accident.
The driver is automatically judged “incompetent” if any of the following are true:
- Your driver was not qualified to drive safely at the time they were hired;
- Your driver was disqualified under DOT regulations;
- Your driver has a history of accidents and violations;
- Your driver lacks the skills for the type of vehicle or driving involved.
Your best defense if something goes wrong behind the wheel:
- Have a formal, consistent MVR review policy;
- Evaluate and review all new hires;
- Formalize driver review and training;
- Enforce consistent disciplinary standards;
- Deploy post-accident reviews.