All Businesses Are Vulnerable to Catastrophic Auto Liability Claims

Last month, on August 9th, a tour bus carrying Japanese sightseers from Las Vegas, NV to a national park in Utah, crashed on Interstate 15 north of Cedar City, Utah. Three were killed in the crash and 11 injured.

This photo released by the Utah Highway Patrol shows the bus at the scene of a crash north of Cedar City, Utah

The 26 year-old driver of the bus was reported to have smoked marijuana heavily for several days before falling asleep at the wheel of the tour bus when it crashed. He was charged yesterday with 10 felony counts of negligent driving under the influence, and one misdemeanor charge of having marijuana residue in his system.

To date, no charges have been filed against the bus company he was driving for. That company supplied the shuttle bus and driver to other tour operators who organized the trip.

What if this happened to your business?

You might not be in the tour bus industry, but this doesn’t mean an accident of this magnitude can’t happen to your business. Do you own commercial autos titled under your business? Have a commercial auto insurance policy in force? Or, do you simply have employees run errands to the post office, store,  or to pick up your lunch? What if your employee was distracted at the wheel and veered off the road killing or injuring others? Are you certain your business is covered for these circumstances? You may want to inquire with your insurance agent NOW to confirm.

Aside from having the proper insurance coverage in force to protect your business from auto liability claims, here are some basic risk management measures you can take as a business owner to help mitigate the situation. Although, following these measures is no guarantee accidents will NOT happen.

  • Check employees’ driving records, and prohibit employees with poor driving histories from operating company vehicles;
  • Emphasize driving safety, and require employees to wear seat belts; establish a cell phone usage policy for employee drivers;
  • Ensure that employees know how to properly operate company vehicles;
  • Properly classify vehicles with your insurance company. Track vehicle usage and the number of miles driven per year, and update these records when you renew your commercial auto insurance policy;
  • Keep all company vehicles well-maintained;
  • Choose vehicles with updated safety features, such as anti-lock brakes and air bags.
  • If you have additional stories, advice, or recommendations to share, please comment!

    JK

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    About Jim Kinmartin - CA Small Business Insurance Agent/Broker

    Jim is a California licensed Property & Casualty AND Accident & Health insurance agent working at the ISU - Olson Duncan Insurance brokerage in Torrance, CA. He grew up in Fullerton, CA and graduated from Servite High School in Anaheim and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and currently lives in Long Beach, CA. Have questions? Just ask! Or, follow Jim on Twitter at @JimKinmartin

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