A great safety record is now paramount in the Ontario truck insurance market, if you are not a safe company you may not get your insurance renewed and will be out of business.
Here are 3 things you can do TODAY to bring your company up to standard, improve your safety record, and impress the fleet services guy when he comes to your office before your next insurance renewal.
You will see the word WRITTEN many times below because, if it's not WRITTEN, it does not exist! Write your policies in plain language.
Written company speeding policy.
"how can we speed, our trucks are limited at 105?" NOT GOOD ENOUGH! Your drivers have to understand that going above the posted speed limit is illegal, and will not be tolerated. Make them understand. How about posting it on a wall in big print?
Written policy on leaving space behind the vehicle ahead.
If one of your units rear-ends a passenger vehicle, be prepared for lawyers to get involved. As soon as lawyers get involved your insurer will likely put aside $100,000 - $200,000 as a "reserve" to pay a future claim. Does a "reserve" count against you on your renewal, or when shopping for new insurance? YOU BET IT DOES! Don't let it happen. Your company policy should be to leave adequate space at all times so that your units always have time to stop in case of an emergency.
Written maintenance statement.
Your trucks and trailers are probably all ready on a maintenance schedule, WRITE IT DOWN, and then make sure you are within the schedule. IE: if your trucks go in every 20,000K make your policy 25,000K. It doesn't matter if it's one of your trucks or an owner operator. In the event of an accident the plaintiffs lawyer will be looking at your vehicles maintenance record. If it's over-due the judge won't care that the owner should have taken care of it, it's YOUR COMPANY that is on the line.
Have you got your policies in place? GREAT!
Now, you must follow them. The reason why safety inspectors consider written policies to be of value is you are BOUND to them. Because, (and here is the catch) not following them will really sink you if they can be used against you.
Think about sitting in a court room and having to respond to this question, "Sir, you have a company speeding policy. Can you please tell the court how it's possible that at the instant when your truck applied its brakes before it struck the plaintiff, the skid marks prove that it was travelling at 95 KPH when the posted speed limit is only 80 KPH?" OUCH.
This blog post is a matter of opinion only, you should consult a certified safety consultant to construct your / your companies safety procedures.