The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Ensuring the Safety of a Mobile Sales Force

At Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, driver safety is a partnership between the company and its employees. The three-year old fleet safety program has significantly reduced the number of claims and preventable crashes.

October 2009, by Shelley Mika - Also by this author

In the pharmaceutical industry, fleet vehicles are a critical component of business. Field representatives must make sales calls to busy doctors. Pharmaceutical company Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. (BI) is no exception. Operating 2,700 vehicles, fleet is a valuable component of BI's business. With so many employees on the road, safety is clearly a concern, both in terms of caring for employees and maintaining the flow of business.

Changes at BI led to a need for consistency in the company's safety policies. BI took this opportunity to get key stakeholders on the same page and provide consistent, easily understood safety policies and procedures to employees. As a result, the BI Fleet Safety Program was launched in February 2006. Three years later, BI had significantly reduced the number of claims as well as the number of preventable accidents.

Lee Miller (l), fleet, sales operations and David Redalieu, associate director, environmental,health & safety work together to maintain a safe working environment.

Prevention and Monitoring: Key Program Elements

Prevention is the first component of BI's risk management program. Before drivers take fleet vehicles on the road, BI performs motor vehicle record (MVR) checks for both drivers and their spouses or domestic/civil union partners. The checks are performed annually.

"Annual MVR checks are a crucial first step. Identifying drivers with suspended, expired, or restricted licenses quickly is extremely important to ensuring limited liability exposure," said Lee Miller, manager of fleet services. "The goal is to ensure we have only drivers with valid licenses out on the road."

Driver performance is monitored to ensure the safety of employees and other drivers on the road. Partnering closely with its accident services provider, Fleet Response, and, BI determines low-, medium-, and high-risk drivers using a driver history profile database. This system captures all authorized drivers' MVR histories as well as accident claim frequency.

Regardless of accident history, every driver is required to take six modules of online driver safety training annually, which keeps drivers abreast of safe driving guidelines.

"Because driving the company vehicle is an essential part of the employee's job, we stress the importance of using the vehicle in a safe and compliant manner and make the safety training modules a mandatory component of their ongoing learning plan," Miller said.

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