Use Personal Car on Company Business?

Keven Moore regularly authors articles on insurance and safety matters, and he’s come up with another brilliant summary of the sticky issue of using your personal vehicle for company business.

His original article can be found by clicking HERE.

cropped-thanksgiving-traffic.jpg

Suppose your teenaged son or daughter wanted to deliver pizzas in his/her spare time to earn some cash towards their own car or reimbursing you for the gas they spend from your tank (I can dream, can’t I?)  They get a job, but have a fender bender on their third week of working.

  • Surprise #1 = the pizza chain’s insurance is excess after your family coverage is exhausted.
  • Surprise #2 = your personal auto policy may specifically exclude any/all work related travel (other than commuting to an office or job location)
  • Surprise #3 = you’re now covering the whole claim out of pocket – not just your deductible. Ouch! (OK, I’m exaggerating — the employer’s coverage ought to kick in if they’ve got “non-owned auto” coverage and have listed the delivery driver’s vehicles, but…what if it didn’t?)

As Keven points out in his article;

…many auto insurance carriers exclude business use of personal vehicles, such as for delivering pizzas, flowers, sub sandwiches and groceries. As a result, there are tens of thousands of part-time delivery drivers riding around your streets today without coverage because of this exclusion on their auto insurance policy…Pizzerias that deliver are not going to come out and tell you that your auto insurance carrier will probably exclude you from their policy and that you are delivering pizzas without any insurance coverage. So it’s up to you to call your insurance agent to verify coverage.

Keven also offers some good reminders:

  • If you plan to use your personal auto on company business, inform your agent ahead of time and confirm that your policy will cover you in the event of a crash.
  • If you get a ticket on company business, it will still post to your personal MVR record (affecting your personal insurance rates and future employ-ability rating)
  • Many employers that require you to use your own vehicle will ask for proof that you have personal auto coverage, and what limits you carry.  This helps them manage their risk that your coverage would be exhausted and their coverage would have to kick in to pay the claims.
  • Especially tragic crashes may go into litigation, and if the employer’s policy limits are exhausted in settling the claim, your personal assets could become a target to satisfy the judgement.

cropped-web-banner-blog-20112.jpg

As employers, it’s important to make sure your drivers have adequate coverage if their operating their vehicles on the company’s behalf.  As drivers, it’s also important to verify that you have sufficient coverage on your own car and that it covers business trips adequately.

SafetyFirst isn’t in the insurance business, but we work with a network of 75+ insurance providers.  We also have employers who use our online services to help keep track of the insurance coverage of drivers who use their own cars on company business (while also looking at their MVR records, offering supplementary driver training, etc.)  If you’re an employer who is struggling with record keeping issues related to driver safety and risk management, give us a call or check out our web site!

http://www.safetyfirst.com/e-driverfile.php

E-DriverFile

All About Cars: 9 Fun Car Facts | The Torch: Liberty Mutual

All About Cars: 9 Fun Car Facts | The Torch: Liberty Mutual.

A fun blog post over at Liberty Mutual’s blog site.  Our favorite from their list is number 6:

  • Your car is an elaborate puzzle of parts. Estimates show that the average car has over 30,000 parts. It might seem incredible, but when you start counting things like side panel pins and interior handle screws, you can see how the numbers can start to add up. That’s a lot of little pieces to put together.

Carjackings On The Rise

Yesterday, a local news report was published indicating that there had been 450 carjackings in Essex County, NJ – setting an all-time record for this part of New Jersey. The article offered these additional insights:

So far in 2013, there have been 450 carjackings in Essex County, up from 422 in 2012, and 410 in 2011. In 2009, there were just 200. Law enforcement experts said that those numbers should scare you.

“They said they make more money stealing one car than they do slinging drugs on the street corner and their risk of getting killed by the competition is much lower,” former Morris County detective Dan Coleman explained.

A demand for nice cars has made the luxury SUVs popular with thieves, and new technology like push-button starters make hot wiring the new models virtually impossible, so criminals need the car and the key.

Ten percent of the stolen cars wind up in containers at nearby ports, Sloan reported. “There are very sophisticated rings stealing luxury cars and shipping them overseas. In a post-9/11 world we’re watching what’s coming into the port. What’s going out isn’t watched as closely,” Coleman said. Many of those cars are then sent to Africa where there is a high demand for luxury vehicles, Sloan reported. 

Surveillance footage has even shown thieves stealing cars at gas stations, following drivers home, or initiating bogus accidents by bumping cars from behind.

Overview

Carjacking is the theft of an auto while it’s occupied by its lawful operator. Carjackings are often characterized with serious threats of violence or death by gunfire or stabbing. Carjacking is on the increase throughout the world as thieves can easily make their getaway in the seized vehicle. In rare cases, the lawful operator is kidnapped as a passenger under duress, or made to drive the vehicle on behalf of his/her abductor.

In 1992, Congress passed the Federal Anti-Car Theft Act (FACTA) making it a federal crime to use a firearm to steal “through force or intimidation” a motor vehicle. Unfortunately, the law was seldom enforced since most cases are held at local or state level courts.

Commercial fleet operators whose managers use high value, target vehicles (SUVs, etc.) would be wise to educate these operators about the nature of these crimes, and steps to consider if attacked.  Trucks carrying high value goods may also be hi-jacked for their commodities.

According to the Department of Justice there are some general characteristics of carjacking events:

  • Carjacking victimization rates were highest in urban areas, followed by suburban and rural areas. Ninety three percent of carjackings occurred in cities or suburbs.
  • A weapon was used in 74% of carjacking victimizations. Firearms were used in 45% of carjackings, knives in 11%, and other weapons in 18%.
  • The victim resisted the offender in two-thirds of carjackings. Twenty-four percent of victims used confrontational resistance (threatening or attacking the offender or chasing or trying to capture the offender). About a third of victims used nonconfrontational methods, such as running away, calling for help, or trying to get the attention of others.
  • About 32% of victims of completed carjackings and about 17% of victims of attempted carjackings were injured. Serious injuries, such as gunshot or knife wounds, broken bones, or internal injuries occurred in about 9%. More minor injuries, such as bruises and chipped teeth, occurred in about 15%.
  • 68% of carjacking incidents occurred at night (6 p.m. – 6 a.m.). 
  • 44% of carjacking incidents occurred in an open area, such as on the street (other than immediately adjacent to the victim’s own home or that of a friend or neighbor) or near public transportation (such as a bus, subway, or train station or an airport), and 24% occurred in parking lots or garages or near commercial places such as stores, gas stations, office buildings, restaurants/bars, or other commercial facilities.
  • About 63% of carjacking incidents occurred within 5 miles of the victim’s home, including the 17% that occurred at or near the home. Four percent occurred more than 50 miles from the victim’s home.
  • 77% of carjackings — 98% of the completed crimes and 58% of the attempts — were reported to the police.
  • Partial or complete recovery of property occurred in 78% of completed carjacking incidents. A quarter of carjackings involved total recovery of all property.

The US Department of State offers tips on avoiding carjacking incidents:

  • Stay alert at all times and be aware of your environment. The most likely places for a carjacking are:
    • High crime areas
    • Lesser traveled roads (rural areas)
    • Intersections where you must stop
    • Isolated areas in parking lots
    • Residential driveways and gates
    • Traffic jams or congested areas

In traffic, look around for possible avenues of escape. Keep some distance between you and the vehicle in front so you can maneuver easily if necessary–about one-half of your vehicle’s length. (You should always be able to see the rear tires of the vehicle in front of you.)

When stopped, use your rear and side view mirrors to stay aware of your surroundings. Also keep your doors locked and windows up. This increases your safety and makes it more difficult for an attacker to surprise you.

Accidents are one ruse used by attackers to control a victim. Following are common attack plans:

    1. The BumpThe attacker bumps the victim’s vehicle from behind. The victim gets out to assess the damage and exchange information. The victim’s vehicle is taken.
    2. Good SamaritanThe attacker(s) stage what appears to be an accident. They may simulate an injury. The victim stops to assist, and the vehicle is taken.
    3. The RuseThe vehicle behind the victim flashes its lights or the driver waves to get the victim’s attention. The attacker tries to indicate that there is a problem with the victim’s car. The victim pulls over and the vehicle is taken.
    4. The TrapCarjackers use surveillance to follow the victim home. When the victim pulls into his or her driveway waiting for the gate to open, the attacker pulls up behind and blocks the victim’s car.

If you are bumped from behind or if someone tries to alert you to a problem with your vehicle, pull over only when you reach a safe public place.

DURING A CARJACKING

In most carjacking situations, the attackers are interested only in the vehicle. Try to stay calm. Do not stare at the attacker as this may seem aggressive and cause them to harm you.

There are two options during an attack–nonresistive, nonconfrontational behavior and resistive or confrontational behavior. Your reaction should be based on certain factors:

    • Type of attack
    • Environment (isolated or public)
    • Mental state of attacker (reasonable or nervous)
    • Number of attackers
    • Weapons
    • Whether children are present

In the nonconfrontational situation, you would:

    • give up the vehicle freely.
    • listen carefully to all directions.
    • make no quick or sudden movements that the attacker could construe as a counter attack.
    • always keeps your hands in plain view. Tell the attacker of every move in advance.
    • make the attacker aware if children are present. The attacker may be focused only on the driver and not know children are in the car.

In a resistive or confrontational response, you would make a decision to escape or attack the carjacker. Before doing so, consider:

    • the mental state of the attacker.
    • possible avenues of escape.
    • the number of attackers; there is usually more than one.
    • the use of weapons. (Weapons are used in the majority of carjacking situations.)

In most instances, it is probably safest to give up your vehicle.

AFTER THE ATTACK

Safety  —  Always carry a cell phone or radio on your person.

If you are in a populated area, immediately go to a safe place. After an attack or an attempted attack, you might not be focused on your safety. Get to a safe place before contacting someone to report the incident.

Reporting the Crime — Describe the event. What time of day did it occur? Where did it happen? How did it happen? Who was involved?  Describe the attacker(s). Without staring, try to note height, weight, scars or other marks, hair and eye color, the presence of facial hair, build (slender, large), and complexion (dark, fair). Describe the attacker’s vehicle. If possible get the vehicle license number, color, make, model, and year, as well as any marks (scratches, dents, damage) and personal decorations (stickers, colored wheels). The golden rule for descriptions is to give only that information you absolutely remember. If you are not sure, don’t guess!

 RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

Bridging The Gap for Results

I’ve read a LOT of “Driver Safety” or “Fleet Safety” articles over the course of my 23 year career.  They all look the same, they all cover the “basics” or “essentials” in the same way.

And they all miss the mark in the same way.

You see, they’re not bad articles and the tips are meaningful, but instead fall short in one key area: managing the performance of your fleet drivers.

The articles talk about the need for “top management support” for the fleet safety program (and that is important!).  The articles stress the need to have a written, enforced policy statement or handbook (and that is important, too.)  The articles plead with the reader about recruiting properly, qualifying prospective hires thoroughly and thoughtfully.  They talk about the need to obtain a driver’s history of tickets and past collisions, and then to score or profile that history against a standard (a meaningful exercise).

Of course, what self-respecting author would not then devote a couple of paragraphs about the need to “train-train-train” the drivers (before they drive, as they drive and after they crash).  After all, “Training is Great Stuff” (and a HUGE industry unto itself).

Then, alarmingly, these authors jump to the end of the story and tell you how drivers need to report crashes, and supervisors need to investigate the incidents with great attention to detail.

What happened to managing a relationship with the driver during their tenure as a productive employee?  What about performance reviews that actually solicit feedback SafetyFirstfrom drivers, catalog responses, identify common patterns of driver complaints?

What about carefully managing the reporting out put from driver monitoring programs such as EOBR, GPS, $Camera-In-Cab$ or my personal favorite — Driver Safety Hotlines?

These authors are brilliant professionals with many years of experience — I don’t doubt their knowledge or ability, but I can’t understand why “The Fleet Safety Story” has this gigantic hole in the middle on a consistent basis, either.

Another example of a blended scoreIf the average tenure of a driver was under a month or two, it would make sense to constantly be replacing and training drivers as your primary day-to-day safety activity, but we know that’s not reality (or shouldn’t be).  Sure there’s turnover, but what are safety managers doing in between that initial driver training class and the next accident investigation?  It seems to me that if a realistic “driver management” program were in place (as suggested by ANSI Z15), then the safety manager would spend much of his/her time working that program to PREVENT collisions, injuries and moving violations.

Drivers are bright people doing a difficult job in most circumstances.  Likewise, safety managers genuinely care about helping drivers be safe.

Let’s see authors spend more time and energy on the need to build relationships, provide helpful performance feedback and tailor training efforts to the individuals who need urgent attention from their management support team at the time they need it — before their attitude leads to a crash.  The day-to-day management of drivers is where discipline and creativity is most needed and often least available.  That’s where the articles need to fill in the gap, or build a bridge to achieving results (not just jumping to how we should diagnose the inevitable collisions and injuries).

TeleMaticsOur program – the driver safety hotline – is one realistic method to identify drivers who are “at risk” of becoming involved in a collision.  When a motorist sees risky behavior and takes the effort to file a report, there’s a real need to intervene with the affected commercial driver.  We send driver training materials matched to the reported behaviors so that the intervention is compassionate, not punitive.  The goal is to avoid tickets, fines, injuries or fatalities.

The missing bridge between effective driver qualification and results is an effective driver management program!

Driver Safety Cycles