By Trent Dressen, Director of Sales, SuperVision
Employers typically pull a driver’s motor vehicle record (MVR) prior to hiring and once a year after that. Although completing the initial and annual pulls meets the minimum obligation, there is added value in continuous monitoring for employers.
Myth: Continuous MVR Monitoring is Unnecessary —Pre-Employment & Annual MVR pulls are “good enough”
Fact: Annual MVR pulls give risky drivers grace periods of up to a year
Drivers can receive a driving violation or license status change any day of the year; a company should be paying attention to their drivers’ records every day as well. Pulling an MVR just once a year means a violation can go unnoticed for a long period of time. For instance, if a driver gets a DWI the day after the MVR is pulled, he or she has a “grace period” of 364 days before a serious and potentially costly source of liability is discovered by the employer.
Continuous driver license monitoring eliminates the “grace period”. Employers have 24/7 license monitoring access and can rest easy knowing they are keeping the roads safe.
Fact: Drivers with violations are more likely to repeat history
Driver behavior plays a critical role in 88% of fatal and injury crashes. Commercial drivers with violation convictions in the past year are 43% more likely to be involved in crashes during the year following a conviction than drivers with no convictions. Fleets have a duty to know what is in their driver’s history prior to putting them on the road in a company vehicle.
Fact: Annual MVR pulls leave the company open to liability lawsuits.
Fleets are a target for litigation due to their perceived deep pockets and willingness to settle quickly. Regardless of the severity of the crash, potential harmful publicity can impact a company’s bottom line and brand reputation.
A 2019 verdict award from a commercial driving wreck lawsuit was the highest in history against a fleet company at $280 million. The average verdict award (not including settlements) has climbed to $17.5 million. Some of these cases involve a wrongful death charge, but most cases are brought with a charge of negligent entrustment by the fleet company.
Negligent entrustment occurs when a dangerous article – in this case a vehicle – is entrusted to somebody who is reckless, inexperienced, or incompetent. If the entrusted individual has an accident, the injured party has the right to bring a case against the individual’s employer.
In order to find fault with the employer, all the plaintiff needs to show is:
- The organization entrusted the vehicle to the driver
- The driver was reckless, incompetent or unlicensed
- The organization knew – or should have known – that the driver was reckless, incompetent or unlicensed
- The driver was negligent while operating the vehicle and that the negligence resulted in damages
What fleet companies don’t know about their drivers’ records can absolutely hurt them – and cost the organization millions of dollars.
Immediate, corrective action for any violation that a driver accrues is crucial. Once-a-year MVR pulls are not enough to ensure that risky drivers are in compliance with licensure standards. One of the best precautions that a company can take to prepare for potentially defending themselves in a liability lawsuit is continuous license monitoring.
Continuous license monitoring combined with behavioral monitoring is ideal for fleet managers to effectively monitor drivers’ license status, guarantee safety, reduce liability, and scale down business losses.
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