Fleet Risk Management

Today’s fleet owner-operator is faced with a seemingly unending number of local, state and federal regulations that have a direct and indirect impact on the vocational fleet. These regulations impact:

  • Design and specifications of your vehicles
  • How your vehicles are used and maintained
  • Drivers/operator and mechanic qualifications
  • Record keeping.

Developing a risk management plan for your truck fleet operation and familiarizing yourself with regulatory requirements and exceptions; are keys to establishing safety and efficiency within your organization.

The first step in developing risk management plan for your fleet is systematical identification of physical and regulatory risk elements associated with the ownership and operation of your fleet. As a part of the regulatory evaluation, determine the regulatory classifications of your vehicles and whether your fleet is engaged in “inter-” or “intra-” state commerce.

Once you have determined how various vehicles are classified for regulatory purposes, identify the state and federal regulations that may impact the operation of your fleet.

Having identified potential risks, list them by general category. Typical fleet-related general risk categories may include, but are not limited to:

  • Vehicle design 
  • Regulatory (federal, state and local)

Develop action plans to address each category of potential risk. As you cultivate each action plan, always start with a general overall plan and then develop specific actions to address individual identifiable risks. Keep in mind the various elements of your plan will inevitably become inter-linked as you move forward. A critical part of every action plan should be a regular review of potential risks to determine if it is still current and effective. Other components of a typical plan may include, but are not limited to, items such as:

  • A written company general safety policy (review with all employees).
  • A written company vehicle use and driving policy (review with all employees).
  • Regulatory compliance procedures and schedules for all applicable areas.
  • Written employee records that are maintained and include areas such as:
  • Performance reviews
  • On-the-job observation
  • Training and re-training
  • Coverage of company policies, practices and procedures
  • Injuries (on- and off-job).
  • Formal safety training programs in all applicable areas, including use of qualified instructors in areas such as the operation of special equipment.
  • Written vehicle and special equipment maintenance schedules and procedures to ensure and document proper maintenance of equipment.
  • Documentation of vehicle design and engineering processes to ensure vehicles are safe and appropriate for their intended applications. These records should be maintained for the life of vehicle plus five years. Equipment vendors can assist you in this area.
  • Train employees and identify risk elements using outside specialists, such as insurance company risk management experts.

Implement plans and keep them up-to-date. Bring new employees up-to-speed and monitor that existing employees also follow the plan.

As a part of an overall risk management program, the vocational fleet owner-/operator must be able to document that he/she is making a good faith effort to fully comply with all applicable regulations and standards, that his/her vehicles are properly engineered and maintained and that he/she has implemented all of the company’s safety and training programs.