My Truck is Where?!? The Business Impact of Not Knowing Your Fleet's Whereabouts
Putting things into Latin always makes them sound more serious than they are – using “per se” instead of “in and of itself,” “et cetera” instead of “and so on,” or “persona non grata,” when referring to the neighbor you don’t want at your backyard barbecue are just fancier ways of saying standard, everyday sayings.
But sometimes a Latin phrase really does mean serious business, as with the words “respondeat superior” (literally, “let the master answer”) – a legal doctrine that means an employer may be vicariously liable for his or her employees’ offenses committed within the scope of employment.
For fleet owners and managers, this can have significant financial impact on a business. This means if employees use business vehicles after hours – or even during business hours but for personal errands – and get into an accident, the business may be liable for damage and insurance costs.
Even if vehicles are not involved in accidents, any extra driving after hours, on weekends or during the work day to run personal errands adds wear and tear on the car, which increases maintenance costs. There is a public relations aspect to this as well; if a branded company vehicle is seen speeding, running red lights or parked outside places a business owner might not want associated with the company.
Most employees don’t use a company vehicle with the intent of creating maintenance issues or tarnishing the company name – and of course, no one ever plans on getting into an accident– but things happen, and a fleet owner or manager can go crazy wondering where company vehicles are and praying that nothing will go wrong.
Fortunately, there are proactive ways for fleet owners and managers to get some peace of mind around their fleet.
•Run driver background checks – both when hiring and periodically (every six months or so). This way you’ll know if the employees behind the wheel have licenses in good standing.
•Establish clear policies on when it is and is not appropriate to use company vehicles, depending on your business and personal preferences. For example, it might be OK for an employee to use a company vehicle to grab lunch for the crew when they’re on a jobsite, but may not be OK to pick his or her kids up from school on the way home.
•Require that every driver take a training course that reviews general rules of the road as well as company policies and emphasize the importance of being a safe driver.
•Maintain adequate insurance. This will help cover you in the event that something does go wrong (knock on wood).
•Consider a vehicle tracking solution, which provides real-time GPS tracking to let a fleet owner or manager know where a vehicle is, how long it is stopped and how fast it is going, 24/7. A system sends alerts to designated staff based on certain triggers (after-hours use, speeding, lengthy stops, excessive idling, etc.). If a vehicle is reported stolen, the GPS can help law enforcement to track and recover it quickly. It benefits an employee to have someone know where they are in the event of an emergency, too.
Check us out to learn more about how a GPS vehicle tracking system can help provide transparency into your fleet.
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Check us out to learn more about how a GPS vehicle tracking solution can help provide transparency into your fleet.