Andrew Bourne & Co have listed some key considerations for fleet managers when they are reviewing their existing vehicle management processes.
- Crumple zones
- Airbags and side curtains
- Seat belt pre-tensioners
- Child seats
- 'Snap off' foot pedals and collapsible steering columns
- 'Active' head restraints
- Car seats
- Padded dashboards
- In vehicle equipment e.g. warning triangle, fire extinguisher, first aid kit
Maintenance & Inspections
Both drivers and employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the roadworthiness of their vehicles. All vehicles including employee's own vehicles used for business should be maintained in accordance with the manufacturers recommended schedules and applicable ‘O' licence rules.
Ideally servicing should be administered centrally and detailed records kept.
Regular vehicle inspections should form part of the driver's duties listed in the Driver's Handbook and any problems should be acted upon immediately.
Managers too should undertake periodic inspections. In order to make the administration simpler several forms are available for use.
It is worth remembering that the condition of a vehicle at the end of contract or at disposal time can have a significant impact on residual value or termination fees.
Useful forms and templates to help you manage your vehicles:
Car / Van Managers Inspection form
Car / Van Maintenance & Condition - Monthly report
Goods Vehicle Drivers Checklist / Defect Report
The sooner your insurer is notified of a motor claim, the faster they can assist their customer and control any Third Party (TP) claim, and/or pursue a recovery against the responsible party.
That's why it's so important notifications are reported as early as possible, preferably immediately after the event occurring.
Literally every hour matters, in particular any delay in reporting a claim involving an innocent TP increases the likelihood of intervention from a 'claims farmer' and a consequent rise in the costs claimed.
In addition, Ministry of Justice reforms introduced during 2010 require that in the case of injury claims up to £10,000, insurers must make a liability decision within 15 days from receipt of a TP claim.
Claims can be proactively managed so that the innocent party suffers minimum inconvenience, they can be provided with immediate service thus vastly reducing the insurer’s claims costs, which in turn assist in the control of premiums.
The driver's handbook should contain clear guidance about what to do and who to contact in the event of a motor accident.
The availability and use of a comprehensive Incident Recording Form will assist drivers to record all pertinent information including witness and third party insurance details etc.
Similarly, a simple Exchange of Information Form, will ensure that drivers comply with their legal obligation to supply certain driver, vehicle and insurer information to any person having reasonable grounds for requesting these details.
If a camera or camera phone is available, the driver should photograph the incident location from a number of different directions and take pictures of any vehicles/property damaged. Road measurements may also be useful to record.
At no stage should a driver admit responsibility or make a statement regarding the incident (except to a police officer).
Incidents involving personal injury must be reported to local police within 24hrs and it is also necessary to notify police of damage to lampposts, telegraph poles, bollards, manhole covers, road signs or other public property. Remember a driver who fails to stop after an accident and fails to notify the other party or report the matter to the police, is likely to face prosecution.
Claims under the insurance policy ought to be initiated as soon as possible to minimise the consequences, preserve corporate image and to contain fleet operating costs.
The great majority of motor incidents involve human error and as such are avoidable by one driver, or the other, or both. Further, in hindsight, it is often the case that effective management action could have prevented the occurrence altogether.
Andrew Bourne & Co recommends that following every incident, the circumstances are thoroughly investigated, recorded and the driver interviewed by a manager. Usually there are lessons to be learnt.
Periodically, the information should be collated by a senior manager and any commonalities or trends identified and addressed.
The Post Incident Investigation Checklist is designed to provide managers with a framework around which to conduct a post incident investigation. The questions posed are intended to provoke reflective thought and to encourage preventative measures being taken to minimise future risk.
Factual details of the occurrence are best obtained using a standard Incident Recording Form.