Any business with job positions that require employees to operate company owned, leased or personal vehicles for business use faces a heightened liability risk.
One small distraction behind the wheel can lead to a serious accident causing injury or death to others. Or, a not so serious accident with someone who sees “deep pockets” because they were hit by a vehicle operated by a business can lead to a large defense claim.
Think about it, you constantly hear personal injury attorney advertisements on the airwaves encouraging people who have been hit by commercial vehicles to call them because “big money can be at stake.”
What this means is your business must have a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Program in its driver qualification and selection process.
Without going into full scale detail about MVR programs in this post, businesses should, at a minimum, require applicants for driving positions, to submit a copy of their driving record as part of the application process. Additionally, require drivers to provide updated MVRs on an annual basis to evaluate driving performance and qualify them for continued operation of company owned and/or leased vehicles.
Drivers that received violations and/or were involved in preventable vehicle incidents may need training, counseling or other appropriate actions to correct poor driving behaviors.
This is where the the California DMV Employer Pull Notice (EPN) program comes in to play.
The California DMV Employer Pull Notice (EPN) program enables commercial organizations to monitor the driving records of employees who drive for them. By monitoring their employees’ driving records, organizations can:
- Ensure that each driver has a valid driver license.
- Recognize problem drivers or driving behavior.
- Improve public safety.
- Minimize liability.
How it Works:
Each employer enrolled in the EPN program is assigned a requester code. The requester code is added to applicable employees’ driver license records. When an employee’s driver license record is updated due to an action or activity, the DMV makes an electronic check to determine if a pull notice is on file. If the action or activity is one that must be reported under the EPN program, a driver record is generated and mailed to the employer.
Every year on the enrollment date, the EPN program automatically generates and mails a driver record when any of the following actions or activities occurs:
- The driver is enrolled in the EPN program.
- When a driver has any of the following actions or activities added to their driver record:
- Failures to appear (FTAs).
- Driver license suspensions or revocations.
- Any other actions taken against their driving privilege.
With the potential risk your business faces by having owned, leased or personal vehicles on the road, now is the time to put any and all risk management practices into place to to help lessen the likelihood of a loss. And the California DMV Employer Pull Notice (EPN) program is a great starting point. Check it out for yourself and contact me if you need any help with this.
Remarkable (watch with audio):
…And commercial auto insurance rates are spiking hard as a result. Carriers are backing down on coverage and most are putting some serious restrictions on their appetites.
See Property Casualty Insurers Association of America’s (PCI) 7 summer driving safety tips:
Also, see more from Hanover on why auto insurance rates are rising so dramatically:
Consumer advice website NerdWallet recently compiled a list of the 10 worst cities to drive in, based off five different criteria:
- number of days of precipitation
- annual hours of delay per commuter
- gas prices
- population density
- average city car insurance rates.
Here are the results:
- New York City, NY
- Detroit, MI
- San Francisco, CA
- Chicago, IL
- Washington, DC
- Seattle, WA
- Boston, MA
- Miami, FL
- Honolulu, HI
- Oakland, CA
I’m absolutely shocked that Los Angeles nor Orange County, CA is on this list. As the most dense city in America, New York City takes the top spot. While many of the others on this list are very dense cities as well, large
public transportation systems can be found in each and offer a less stressful option for getting around (Not true for LA or OC!)
Volkswagen created a pretty impressive PSA for an audience in Hong Kong that shows what happens when you look at your phone while driving.
After they were seated, the audience was shown a first-person view of a car on the road.
Using a location-based broadcaster, a person hiding upstairs then sent a text to everyone in the theater.
See what happens next…
“Mobile use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel,” the ad finished.
Good work Volkswagen. I thought this was a clever and thoughtful message.
This powerful and simple driving safety advertisement from the New Zealand Transport Agency will really make you think about speeding and will probably give you some serious goosebumps when you watch it.
From Mashable: the public-service announcement dissects an accident by freezing the moment before impact. A man who pulled out of an intersection too fast pleads for his life and that of his son. The request falls on deaf ears, though. “I’m going too fast,” replies the driver of the oncoming car. The point: Other drivers make mistakes, too, so be careful.
Take a look for yourself:
Be careful out there and make sure you think of others first before yourself when you’re running late for that party, for work, or wherever else you’re trying get to. Give yourself plenty of time so that you’re not putting yourself in the situation where you feel the need to speed.
Check out this cliff-hanger video. This drunk driver nearly causes multiple accidents but ends up crashing and putting his/her own life in jeopardy. Some tense moments on this two lane highway!
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), out of every three traffic deaths involve drunk driving. Every 53 minutes on average, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash (9,878 people in total in 2011). Every 90 seconds, someone is injured because of this entirely preventable crime.
About one-third of the drunk driving problem – arrests, crashes, deaths, and injuries – comes from repeat offenders. At any given point we potentially share the roads with 2 million people with three or more drunk driving offenses.
What to do when you spot an Impaired Driver
- Stay far behind the suspected drunk driver.
- Get out of the way and expect the unexpected.
- Wear your safety belt (and make sure that any children or other passengers have their safety belts fastened as well) – It is one of your best defenses against a drunk driver.
- Stop right away and look for a phone.
- Report suspected and impaired drivers to the California Highway Patrol or local police by dialing 911. Give the location, direction of travel, and description of the car and driver’s behavior.
What NOT to do when you spot an Impaired Driver
- Do not try to pass the car!
- Do not try to stop the vehicle.
- Do not follow too closely. The car may stop abruptly.
- Do not attempt to act in the capacity of the police.
- Do not try to detain or confront the driver.
- Call the local police or 911 and let them take care of it!
Most of the time, the signs of a drunk driver aren’t as obvious as the white Ranger in this video. Stay alert on the roads out there!
1959 Chevrolet Bel Air vs. 2009 Chevrolet Malibu car safety crash test.
In the 50 years since US insurers organized the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, car crashworthiness has improved. Demonstrating this was a crash test conducted between a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. In a real-world collision similar to this test, occupants of the new model would fare much better than in the vintage Chevy.
“It was night and day, the difference in occupant protection,” says Institute president Adrian Lund. “What this test shows is that automakers don’t build cars like they used to. They build them better.”
The crash test was conducted at an event to celebrate the contributions of auto insurers to highway car safety progress over 50 years. Beginning with the Institute’s 1959 founding, insurers have maintained the resolve, articulated in the 1950s, to “conduct, sponsor, and encourage programs designed to aid in the conservation and preservation of life and property from the hazards of highway accidents.”
More information at http://www.iihs.org/50th/default.html
On any given workday, you may have employees on the road operating a variety of vehicles. Whether you provide company vehicles or your employees use their own vehicles, commercial auto insurance is a must.
Commercial/ business auto insurance provides coverage for cars, trucks and vans used by you or your employees for business purposes. Your business vehicles are not covered by your businessowners policy or personal auto insurance, so you must buy a separate policy.
When shopping for the right coverage for your business, here are ten good questions to ask about business auto insurance:
1. Is coverage mandatory for a business that uses vehicles?
Yes. Just like with personal auto insurance, it’s against the law to drive a vehicle without insurance to cover injuries or damage to others that an employee causes as a result of a car accident.
2. Is Business Auto Insurance better than Personal Insurance?
Business Auto coverage is similar to the coverage you may carry on your personal auto policy; however, business auto exposures can be more complex requiring specialty coverages to be considered based on individual business needs.
3. How do I find out about what’s out there?
The most effective way to compare rates and coverage available to you is through an independent agent or broker. They should be able to point you to the right type of policy based on the type of business you have and how you use your vehicles.
4. What can I do to influence the premium I pay?
The best ways to keep rates down is to make sure that you’re a safe driver, hire and employ safe drivers and use less expensive vehicles for your business.
5. What factors impact the premium I pay for Business Auto Insurance?
Insurance premiums can be affected by everything from the type of business you operate, to the type of vehicles you own; to the radius you operate your business in, and the driving records of yourself and your employees.
6. What is the reputation of the insurance company?
Make sure you do the research before moving forward with a Business Auto policy. Ask your insurance representative or go online to answer questions like — Do they have a long history? Are they reputable? Do they know your business?
7. What extra benefits are added onto the policy without additional cost?
Every insurance company is different. So make sure to ask about extra benefits when shopping around, because they could prove useful when an accident happens and save you money in the long run.
8. Does coverage vary state to state?
It definitely can. Each state has its own rules and regulations that can affect rates and types of coverage that an insurance carrier can make available to your business.
9. Are all my employees covered by my Business Insurance policy?
They should be, but there are exceptions. This is a very important question to ask when you’re shopping around for the best Business Auto policy.
10. How does the claims process work?
The process usually includes reporting an accident to both the police and your insurance company, assessing the damage, and working with a claims handler. When selecting an insurance carrier, be sure to ask about any benefits they offer in the event of an accident, like a network of repair shops where the work is guaranteed as long as the vehicle is leased or owned.
Source: The Hartford
This past weekend was the Long Beach Grand Prix, probably the biggest weekend annually in Long Beach and by far one of my favorites. We went on Saturday and enjoyed a perfect day of sun, fast cars, thundering loud sound and jam-packed bars. I’m not necessarily a race fan, but if you ever get a chance to check out a live race and get up front in the action, you won’t be disappointed. The speed and noise of these IndyCars give me the chills every time I see them.
Check out this short clip I filmed track-side. This was Saturday’s IndyCar qualifying for the main race on Sunday. Cars are flying by at 160-170 mph at this point on the track:
With the theme of fast cars and driving, take a moment to browse over these 10 safe driving tips:
Top 10 Safe Driving Tips
- Don’t Drive Drunk – More than 30 percent of all auto accident fatalities in the United States involve drivers impaired by alcohol. It’s easy to avoid driving drunk. If you’ve been drinking, ask a sober friend for a ride or call a cab. If you’re planning to drink, make sure you have a designated driver. The mild inconvenience of taking a cab home is nothing compared to the disastrous consequences of driving drunk.
- Don’t Speed – Research has shown that for every mile per hour you drive, the likelihood of your being in an accident increases by four to five percent
- Avoid Distractions – One researcher compared the reaction time of a 20-year-old driver talking on a cell phone to that of a 70-year-old driver. What’s more, working a cell phone behind the wheel can delay reaction times by as much as 20 percent.
- Don’t Drive Drowsy – A study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech reported that 20 percent of all accidents have sleepiness as a contributing factor
- Wear Your Seat Belt– NHTSA statistics reveal that more than half of all accident fatalities were people who weren’t using seat belts
- Be Extra Careful in Bad Weather
- Don’t Follow Too Closely – The three-second rule is simple. Find a stationary object on the side of the road. When the car ahead of you passes it, start counting seconds. At least three seconds should pass before your car passes the same object
- Watch Out for the Other Guy – One good rule of thumb to use is, “Assume everyone else on the road is an idiot.”
- Practice Defensive Driving – Defensive driving is not only safer, it can save you money. Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who complete defensive driving courses.
- Keep Your Vehicle Safe– One of the most common maintenance problems that can lead to a crash is improper tire pressure. Uneven tire pressure, or pressure that is too high or low, can impact performance or lead to a blowout — especially in high-performance cars or heavy vehicles like SUVs
For these tips and more, visit www.howstuffworks.com