Guidance on Managing Vehicle Operations for Healthcare Organizations

Northbridge Insurance
Guidance on Managing Vehicle Operations for Healthcare Organizations

An essential component of our relentless commitment to serving Subscribers is ensuring you are always equipped with the latest information in safety and risk mitigation – and that sometimes includes going beyond healthcare facilities.

Together, with our partners from Northbridge Insurance, we aim to support your development of commercial auto risk control programs. Having a strong program in place can help your healthcare organization better manage day-to-day vehicle operations, driver training, audits and more.

If you have any questions or queries about the following information, our team is always here to help. Please feel free to reach out to us at

Commercial Auto Risk Control Programs

The vast majority of goods produced in Canada each year is transported by commercial automobiles, not common carriers.

Commercial automobile is a fleet of vehicles of any size, type and radius of operation owned or leased by an organization in any business other than transportation as their main business activity.

The fleet can be as large as several hundred and as few as one. It can be made up of private passenger vehicles for sales personnel or a fleet of tractor-trailers.

Risk Control Program

The key elements of a risk control program for commercial auto are:

  • Management leadership
  • Driver selection
  • Collision record-keeping, reporting and analysis
  • Vehicle inspection and maintenance
  • Driver training and motivation
  • Risk control program audit

Management relies on vehicle operators to supervise their own actions behind the wheel. It is important for your risk control program to emphasize the key elements in writing and in practice.

Management Leadership

A risk control program functions properly when management sets guidelines for fleet operations as they would for main business activities.

The nature and extent of the program depends on fleet size, number of drivers, supervisory structure and the relationship of the fleet to the organization’s operations.

Develop and implement a safety policy, including:

  • Management’s position on motor vehicle safety
  • The organization’s approach to controlling vehicle losses
  • The authority and accountability of personnel involved in the risk control program

With proper leadership, your organization can reap the benefits of profitable operations, driver safety and overall goodwill.

Driver Selection

The first step of hiring an employee is performing a job analysis to determine the skills required to perform tasks and processes.

If the job position involves driving, incorporate the following criteria into the selection process:

  • Confirm that the applicant has a valid driver’s license.
  • Verify that the applicant is qualified to operate a specific type of vehicle i.e. class of license.
  • Evaluate the applicant’s knowledge of vehicle operation, safe driving techniques and the rules of the road.
  • Request the applicant’s Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) and obtain their consent to collect it annually for as long as their position includes driving.
  • Conduct reference checks with the applicant’s previous employers and inquire about the applicant’s driving experience.
  • Request applicant to provide a letter of experience from their prior insurer confirming at least three years’ experience driving a similar vehicle.

Collision Record-Keeping, Reporting and Analysis

Your goal is to eliminate motor vehicle collisions. It is important to develop a system that reports, records and analyzes facts surrounding vehicular collisions. Management analyzes the details of collisions to implement corrective measures and to prevent recurrences.

Follow your provincial highway traffic laws and regulations regarding vehicle maintenance, inspection and record-keeping. Adopt applicable standards into your risk control program.

Equip each vehicle with a driver’s accident report booklet that includes reporting instructions, phone procedures, a report form and witness information cards.

Download Sample Driver's Accident Report Kit

Formulate a Collision Review Committee made up of management and drivers, whose purpose is to:

  • Evaluate the circumstances surrounding a collision, as well as the action taken by the driver.
  • Determine if the collision was “preventable” or “non-preventable” in accordance with standard criteria. A preventable collision is any collision involving the vehicle (unless properly parked), resulting in property damage or personal injury, in which the driver failed to do everything they reasonably could to prevent or avoid the collision.
  • Provide a means for enforcing management and driver accountability systems.

Create a file containing pertinent information concerning the collision, including:

  • A preliminary collision report from the driver
  • Copies of the collision report submitted to various agencies (e.g. broker, insurance company, local transport ministry)
  • Collision investigation data
  • Police reports
  • Entry of collision in your organization’s collision registry
  • Any other information relevant to the evaluation of the collision

Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance

Driver files and collision files are important segments of the fleet’s record-keeping process. However, this process is not complete without files documenting scheduled vehicle inspection and maintenance. It is also a good idea to maintain a collision registry that records every collision involving a commercial auto vehicle.

Over-the-road vehicle breakdowns are not only costly but create hazards that can lead to a collision. A vehicle inspection and maintenance policy help eliminate or reduce potential risks.

Pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspections enable drivers to spot defects that can lead to trouble on the road. These inspections are usually a requirement under provincial highway traffic laws and regulations.

To eliminate business interruption, be sure to schedule preventive maintenance by a qualified mechanic based on the manufacturer’s specifications.

Management can review records of maintenance to determine if additional work is necessary, not only for one vehicle but for the entire fleet.

Driver Training and Motivation

A successful driver selection process helps you hire drivers with basic knowledge and skills to operate vehicles. While driving may be an integral part of the position, driver training and motivation increases skills and strengthens any gaps, such as knowledge of organization policy, use of equipment and performance procedures.

Driver training and motivation includes:

  • Training on the organization’s safety policy and basic preventive maintenance
  • Periodic instruction on defensive driving
  • Incentives for collision-free and violation-free driving performance

Provide training in both the classroom and the vehicle. Classroom training consists of an initial training in defensive driving concepts. Provide refresher training on a scheduled basis.

Offer interim training in the form of driver safety meetings, where specific safety topics are presented, such as the organization’s loss experience and collision trends.

At a minimum, include the following subjects in a basic training curriculum (classroom and in-vehicle):

  • Organization policy and procedures
  • Equipment familiarization
  • Routes and schedules
  • Defensive driving techniques
  • Applicable government regulations
  • Cargo handling and load securement
  • Emergency procedures
  • Collision reporting
  • Familiarization with emergency devices
  • Specific, trend-identified exposures

Risk Control Program Audit

Once you’ve established the risk control program for your commercial automobile fleet, perform a periodic audit to ensure its effectiveness. The audit evaluates each component of the program and determines whether modifications are required.

Include a time frame for management to perform a follow-up investigation. Come up with a reasonable action plan for correcting noted deficiencies.

Your commercial automobile risk control program is an integral part of your organization’s overall safety and commitment. Implementing formal procedures protects employees, property and the general public regardless of your organization’s size and operation.

Contact us if your healthcare organization is interested in receiving more information about HIROC's commercial auto risk control programs in partnership with Northbridge Insurance, or if you have any questions about the information presented in this article. Contact us at

Content source: Northbridge Insurance

Northbridge Insurance is a trademark of Northbridge Financial Corporation, licensed by Northbridge General Insurance Corporation (insurer of Northbridge Insurance policies). This resource is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.