The Painful Subject of Progressive Disciplinary Policies for Drivers

by Jonathan Brown

In previous articles we discussed developing a process for checking the Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) history of drivers and classifying them by risk level based on these MVR’s. Once you know the history of your drivers, you need to have a system in place for managing them. A key component to fleet safety programs that has proven to be successful is the Progressive Disciplinary Policy. This policy addresses steps to take following accidents or incidents as well as how to respond to new convictions you find during your annual MVR checks.

We recommended in last month’s article that you should create three risk levels for drivers. This allows you to separate your low risk drivers so you can concentrate on intervention methods for medium- and high-risk drivers. In our example, we recommended a system based on the number of incidents in the previous 36 months. However, some companies with larger fleets may utilize a point system. An important aspect to remember with the point system is that there is no consistency among the various state DMV offices with regard to their point system.  For example, Kentucky may attach more points than Arizona for driving 10 m.p.h. over the posted speed limit.  Therefore, it will be necessary for you to establish an internal point system which is consistent among all drivers, regardless of the state(s) in which they drive.

The goal of the Progressive Disciplinary Policy is to identify bad driving habits before they result in an auto accident. This program, along with driver training and communication, has been very effective in reducing auto accidents and their associated liabilities. As with any disciplinary program, it is critical that expectations are communicated to your drivers before they drive. They also need to know what will happen if they continue to have moving violations and/or accidents.

The following are recommended steps to be taken after any new moving violation conviction or chargeable/preventable accident. These actions should be taken as soon as possible following the company becoming aware of the conviction/incident:

Risk Level 1 – Manager Interaction with Employee:

  1. States the improvements desired,
  2. Documents discussion, and
  3. Possibly imposes loss of driving privileges for a specified period of time.

Risk Level 2 – Manager Interaction with Employee:

  1. Provides written warning of unacceptable driving habits,
  2. Requires defensive driver training course, and
  3. Participates in a ride-along and documents any findings and/or coaching for employee.
  4. Imposes loss of driving privileges for a specified period of time

Risk Level 3 –Manager  Interaction with Employee:

  1. Suspends employee’s driving privileges until intervention actions are determined and completed,
  2. Provides written warning of unacceptable driving habits,
  3. Requires defensive driver training course (if not completed in past 36 months),
  4. Participates in a ride-along and documents any findings and/or coaching for employee and;
  5. Possible permanent loss of driving privileges or termination.

Employees with repeat moving violation convictions or accidents should be subject to proper disciplinary action with each new occurrence.

Keep in mind these suggestions just scratch the surface of a comprehensive fleet safety program. We will be talking about many more fleet safety topics in the coming months. In the meantime, if you have a question or suggestion for future topics, you can contact me at Jonathan@advancedsafetyhealth.com.

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2 Responses to The Painful Subject of Progressive Disciplinary Policies for Drivers

  1. Todd Tracy says:

    Indeed a useful information!

  2. Alan says:

    I read all your previous articles about developing a process for checking the Motor vehicle records. It was very informative just like the present article. You write amazingly organized and fine content. Nice article!

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