It’s not just insurance companies that use vehicle monitoring to evaluate the performance of drivers. The technology to track speed, location, G-force, and other aspects of vehicle operation is now used by many employers as well. Since auto accidents remain a leading cause of work-related fatalities, implementing a monitoring program is worth consideration. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons—along with tips for implementing a smart policy.
On the Plus Side
Examining the behavior of drivers operating workplace vehicles offers several benefits. First, knowing that a vehicle is monitored may give drivers a greater sense of accountability, increasing the likelihood that they will use good judgment on the road. This includes staying on schedule and not making unauthorized side trips or stops.
Second, regular evaluation of recorded data may provide insight into additional safety training (such as defensive driving) that is needed to increase the safety of employees on the road. Finally, if an accident does occur, it’s often hard for the people involved to recall precisely what happened. With monitoring, the events that immediately preceded the accident can be examined to discover the facts.
The Downside of Vehicle Monitoring
An improperly implemented program could violate employees’ right to privacy, leading to legal trouble for employers. A monitoring device that is installed in the wrong location in a vehicle may also create blind spots or other hazards, increasing the likelihood of accident or injury.
In addition, stored data that shows a pattern of unsafe driving on the part of workers might also be used against an employer in litigation. This is especially true if no corrective action was taken to curtail risky behavior.
Tips for Getting It Right
- Know the purpose of your monitoring program (are you seeking to correct driving behaviors, make safe driving a part of employee evaluation, or have a record in case of an accident?)
- Create a written driver performance monitoring policy that complies with federal and state law.
- Disclose your driver monitoring policy to employees and explain its purpose as part of the overall workplace safety program.
- Make sure the monitoring technology meets state requirements and does not interfere with safe operation of the vehicle (e.g., it should not obscure the driver’s view, obstruct windshield wipers, or be placed in the airbag deployment zone).
- Follow up on any incidents of unsafe driving to take swift corrective action in accordance with agency policy.
- Retain records on file as required by law since the monitoring data may be subject to subpoena in the event of litigation or workplace safety inspection.
Do you have questions about using technology to increase employee safety? Contact DKF to talk about health and safety in the modern workplace.