When is a School Bus Invisible? Your drivers’ traffic violations may be costing you money

By  | Automobile, Laws & Regulations | 2 Comments »

Last month, a Tampa, Florida news channel reported that—in one day—bus drivers in Manatee County reported 194 incidents of school buses being passed by vehicles while stopped to load or unload children.  To emphasize the significance of this statistic, there are only 165 school buses in that county! The reporter went on to say that over 8,000 vehicles were observed passing stopped school buses in a similar state-wide survey conducted last year.  Florida drivers who were ticketed were asked why they did not stop. Their response was that they didn’t see the school bus.  Really?  How do you not see a school bus?  They’re big, yellow and have a lot of flashing lights when stopped.  An internet search showed this isn’t just a Florida problem.  Maryland reported over 7,000 vehicles passing stopped school buses one day in early 2011 and there are many more statistics like these.

As a business owner, if this violation appeared on the driving record of one of your employees, how would you react? 

How do you weigh the importance of any violations or accidents listed?  Do you review the records of all your employees who have driving duties?

If you don’t, you should. And, don’t limit the review to just the drivers with Commercial Drivers Licenses, but review records for every employee who ever drives for your business. People who rely on their licenses to make a living have reason to keep their records as clean as possible, but that might not be true for others who only drive occasionally.

Not all violations are equal.  

You know this is true because some violations carry heavier fines than others. But, insurance underwriters look at traffic violations based on their potential to result in high-cost claims, especially the ones that involve injury to a person because the ability to provide an adequate defense for your business may hinge on the record of your driver.

Three Warning Signs To Watch Out For:

1. Violations that put others at risk.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving under suspension
  • Driving to endanger
  • Passing that stopped school bus
  • Speeding in low speed zones where people or vehicles are likely to cross the road or stop suddenly
  • Failure to stop for a stop light or stop sign
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Distracted driving, such as texting or using a cell phone

2. Multiple accidents, whether or not someone else was involved.  These may be a reflection of the driver’s basic ability or whether he or she drives defensively.

3. Multiple violations of any kind.  These might include seat belt violations, expired plates or safety stickers and failure to pay fines or equipment violations.  They may indicate a lack of maturity or prudence or a general disregard for the rules.

Was that DUI an isolated incident, or just the only time the driver was caught?  If a string of violations occurred in the driver’s own vehicle, does that person change their driving habits because they are working?  If an employee explains his or her driving record to you, ask yourself if you believe the explanation, and if that explanation is acceptable.

Drivers’ records and violation severity have a bearing on your automobile insurance premium.  If the violations are bad enough, you may be rejected by standard insurers and forced to obtain coverage through a high-risk insurer where your premiums will really soar.

To protect yourself and your business:

  1. Review your employees’ driving records carefully and regularly;
  2. Weigh the known risks; and
  3. Decide carefully who will and will not drive while working for you.

 

Acadia is pleased to share this material for the benefit of its customers.  Please note, however, that nothing herein should be construed as either legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services.  This material is for informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.  Recipients of this material must utilize their own individual professional judgment in implementing sound risk management practices and procedures.

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2 responses to “When is a School Bus Invisible? Your drivers’ traffic violations may be costing you money”

  1. Paul Farrell says:

    Barbara, what a great article! Especially considering that a recent study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS), titled “Unlicensed to Kill”, states that 18% of fatal crashes involved an improperly licensed or unlicensed driver. Employers need to validate that licenses are valid and in-force as well as looking for a pattern of violations as you aptly point out in your blog post!

  2. Robert Mendoza. says:

    This is a great article for anyone who had a kid riding the school bus. Any parent who sends their kids by the bus should read this and take time in making sure that their kid is safe on their way to school.

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