Minimizing Employer Liability in Car Accidents

Anymore, multitasking is not a trend, it is a way of life. More drivers than ever are preoccupied while on the road. But distractions, however small, can lead to catastrophes, such as the 2004 private tour bus crash, which occurred when a bus driver using a hands-free device smashed into an upcoming bridge. Or consider the truck driver last year who didn’t notice a Nissan Maxima was lodged to his semi.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s website indicates that “crashes cost employers $60 billion annually in medical care, legal expenses, property damage, and lost productivity.” And if the accident occurs in the scope of a worker’s employment, employers are held liable. But that doesn’t mean car accidents are inevitable. There are numerous ways employers can increase employee safety and decrease the likelihood of lawsuits.

Implement a Total Ban Policy

Even hand-free devices are risk factors. When utilizing any telecommunication device, the brain quite literally stops processing one third of its regular amount of moving images. Banning all communications devices not only ensures motorists are paying closer attention on the roads, but it also is one step further from liability issues. Need a policy? A free cell phone policy kit can be found at the National Safety Council’s website.

Test Drivers

Exams ensuring drivers understand basic motor laws and company regulations provides documentation employers can use in the face of litigations. However, don’t be shy of technology. Virtual driving tests can offer a world of assistance to prospective employees by providing corrections and suggestions for improvement. Furthermore, the training can be modified to reflect common hazards future personnel may face, such as inclement weather conditions or drunk drivers.

Create a Rewards Program

Incentives that offer rewards for safe behavior can drastically impact safety. After implementing such a program in 2003, Georgia-Pacific Color Box experienced an extreme decline in its OSHA-recordable incident rates. They dropped from 9.7 in 1997 to 1.6 in 2003.

Provide Extensive Training

Extensive training doesn’t just include the regular introductory exercises. It can also comprise individual feedback gathered from telematics, accident avoidance techniques, regular assessments, weekly talks, and annual retesting. By employing these strategies, Pike Industries (which had over 250 employees in 2003 who travelled over 2 million miles) managed to avoid any significant incidents. What’s more, the company’s worker compensation claims for vehicle incidents fell from 73 percent to 2 percent of total losses.

Test Vehicles

Sometimes a collision or accident can be chalked up to poor maintenance. For any company that has employee drivers, vehicles need to be checked frequently.

Companies have the power to act before an accident strikes rather than afterwards. Jason Hennessey, the marketing consultant for Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer, had this advice: “We’re in the business of helping people who get hurt in car accidents. Whether the incident is business-related or personal, every driver and company should take action to reduce the dangers to themselves and others on the road. It might just save a life.”

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.