If your fast food restaurant offers food delivery or other mobile services, your business faces certain risks that others don’t. Having employees that drive for work and company vehicles that need to be serviced and maintained increases your exposure to accidents, claims and liability lawsuits.

Driver safety is paramount when it comes to minimizing your exposure while still providing quick and safe food delivery and mobile restaurant services. Driver safety starts by understanding the risks of the road for today’s businesses as well as the driver safety tips that will reduce your risk.

Use a third-party food delivery system? Your business may still be at risk. Learn more from out recent blog, What to Know About Third Party Delivery Systems

Why Driver Safety Matters

When you are managing drivers out on the road, safe driving is crucial for business success. But there are plenty of things working against you. Traffic is more congested in many places and some routes need repair or safety improvements.

Today’s typical driver also pays less attention behind the wheel, which has led to a spike in traffic fatalities. The National Safety Council has estimated that the U.S. experienced a 20% spike in the death rate just in the first six months of 2020.

For a fast food restaurant, a preventable serious traffic injury or fatality could greatly impact your operations. Injured employees, damaged vehicles and disrupted operations are compounded by the impact on your reputation and the stress of dealing with a claim. Insurance data shows liability claim losses in 2019 exceeded $20 billion, while property damage claim losses were around $5 billion.

11 Tips for Safer Driving

Experts believe more serious accidents are occurring because drivers are not taking the necessary precautions. Restaurant owners can’t do much about traffic or potholes, but you can take steps to help your drivers avoid claims and accidents.

One of the ways you can manage this risk exposure is by creating a safe driving program for your company vehicles and drivers. Safer driving can reduce workplace injuries and workers’ compensation claims, protect business property and financial assets, and reduce the risk of a liability lawsuit.

  1. Involve stakeholders at all levels, from senior management to drivers, in creating a safe driving program for your restaurant, which helps keep everyone on the same page.
  2. Document your policies and procedures in writing such as rules about seat belts, hands-free phone use, alcohol and drug use, distracted driving and other rules to reduce accidents.
  3. Plan to maximize drivers’ personal safety with surroundings awareness training, minimizing carried cash and valuables and issuing drivers a phone or radio.
  4. Require employee drivers to sign an agreement committing themselves to safe driving to help set expectations, increase awareness and positively influence behavior.
  5. Conduct driver screening, record checks and periodic reviews to minimize risk, such as screening out drivers with poor driving records with DUIs, aggressive driving or other issues.
  6. Arrange for trip navigation aids such as dash-mounted GPS systems, hands-free devices or route checks before travel to reduce distracted driving.
  7. Require reporting and investigation of all traffic incidents to study what incidents are occuring so that similar incidents can be prevented in the future.
  8. Choose the right company vehicles for your restaurant, such as models with high safety ratings, and develop a process for regular preventative maintenance and vehicle inspection.
  9. Create a system for enforcing your policies and procedures, including how to handle policy violations with specific disciplinary actions or corrective measures.
  10. Offer safe driving rewards and incentives for employees who are safe drivers, such as recognition, prizes and special privileges for reaching safety goals.
  11. Ensure your safe driving program meets employer, industry and government highway standards and complies with all laws, rules and regulations. More information is available at OSHA.

Reduce Your Risk and Protect Your Restaurant

Driver safety can help you reduce your risk and protect your restaurant while still providing quick and safe food delivery and mobile restaurant services. As you work on developing a safe driving program for your restaurant, keep your insurer in the loop. It’s important to be in compliance with all the terms of your current insurance policies and to adjust your coverage and limits to protect new drivers and vehicles when needed.

Remember that your restaurant can be held liable for any accidents or incidents involving your drivers, vehicles you own and potentially even those vehicles you don’t own. A key factor in these cases is often a claim of negligence when screening, training or monitoring drivers. A good safe driving program can help protect you from such claims.