Kathy Wellik, CAFM
Fleet Director, Iowa State University Transportation Services; Secretary and Treasurer, NAFA Fleet Management Association
While never easy to revoke driving privileges from a member of your fleet, here’s how to approach the process and keep your company’s liability in check.
Pulling driving privileges from fleet drivers is not one of the more exciting duties of a fleet manager, but it is an absolute necessity at times. When vehicle operators are not driving safely or have bad habits behind the wheel, it puts your employees, other drivers on the road, and your company or organization at extreme risk.
“Drivers are a key link to the success of many organizations, so revoking privileges isn’t an action to take lightly,” said Bill Schankel, CAE and the interim CEO for NAFA Fleet Management Association. “This action may affect a driver’s livelihood, however poor safety practices can affect other drivers on the road, and those impacts can be tragic.”
What to look for
A variety of factors can influence whether a driver may be permitted to operate a vehicle: certain types of moving violations, driving under the influence, too many violation points in a set period, and even non-driving matters, including licenses being revoked for lack of child support payments. It’s imperative that an organization monitors all of these situations in order to develop a clear picture of its drivers.
When evaluating whether or not you should suspend driving privileges from a driver, it is important that you collaborate with other departments in your organization or institution, such as risk management, human resources, and legal.
Here are six steps to follow if you need to suspend a driver’s driving privileges:
- Standard operating procedures (SOPs) MUST be in place, vetted, and approved by all departments of concern.
- Educate and share the SOPs with all employees that will be operating fleet vehicles, as well as with supervisors responsible for those drivers.
- Keep accurate records on drivers. Running motor vehicle record checks before granting privileges and routinely once a year is important to determine your drivers’ driving habits. When you receive driving complaints, extensively document any information you have on the complaint, all actions taken, and the driver’s response.
- Get the facts (not assumptions) about your driver and/or the situation. Depending on the situation, telematics can be a huge assistance to management in assessing unsafe driving situations. Depending on the telematics product your fleet uses, you can gather valuable information such as location, speed, hard acceleration, and fast braking, to name a few, to aid in assessing the situation at hand.
- Notify the driver’s supervisor, or other responsible people, of the situation to make them aware. This alerts the proper oversight personnel to know that there could be something more to the situation, such as other unsafe behaviors in other aspects of the driver’s job.
- Collaborate with human resources and the driver’s supervisor to determine if it is mandatory for the driver in question to operate vehicles, or if the driver can be reassigned to other duties to stay employed. Once any court cases or situations are investigated, such as an Operating While Intoxicated charge, then the driver may potentially be reinstated.
These six steps can reduce the liability to both you and your organization, and collaborating with other departments throughout the process will provide you support. As you approach a situation involving potential safety concerns with a driver, just remember: safe drivers hold the “keys” to your success.
Kathy Wellik, CAFM; Fleet Director, Iowa State University Transportation Services; Secretary and Treasurer, NAFA Fleet Management Association; [email protected]