3M, a diversified technology company that produces Post-it products, reflective materials, industrial tapes, packaging solutions, and more, calls its risk management program the "U.S. Safe Driver Program." The 2,500-vehicle fleet is used primarily for sales (2,200 vehicles) as well as plant facility vehicles (300).

The goal of 3M's risk management program is to reinforce good driving habits that keep employees safe, protect the company's reputation, and minimize the risk of financial exposure.

"We perform annual motor vehicle record (MVR) checks on every 3M employee and other eligible drivers given permission to drive a 3M vehicle, including spouse/domestic partner and adult child over 21 living at home," explained David Haslerud, global process specialist, administrative services at 3M Center.

Points are assigned to driving infractions and three-year point totals are calculated for each driver, with increasing severity of corrective actions (online class, classroom training, removal of vehicle, etc.).

The driver's manager is notified of corrective actions, and a record is kept in the employee personnel file.

"We do MVR checks in the middle of the year so we are done in time for the normal fall ordering cycle," said Haslerud. "Drivers who do not complete any required training will not be able to order their replacement vehicle."

Facing Problems & Realizing Accomplishments

According to Haslerud, initial problem areas included motivating drivers to complete the MVR form in a timely manner, authorizing 3M to check their driving record, and sending incomplete or inaccurate forms.

"We now only need a completed authorization form from new employees as the initial form allows us to check every year," noted Haslerud.

The current process is completed in a few months. In the program's first year, the process took more than six months from start to finish.

"A bit of a surprise bonus is 2009 (our second year of the program) saw a 14-percent year-to-date reduction in accidents and more than $200,000 less in accident repair costs," said Haslerud. "In talking with a few select sales reps about the program, they indicated just knowing we are going to be checking their driving record has caused them to be more aware of how they are driving. They're slowing down, are able to react quicker to developing situations, and as a result, are better and safer drivers. We appreciate it and hope they and their families do too."

To develop a risk management program, Haslerud suggests to "just get started."

"Involve management of the drivers, as their support for the program is critical. The potential liability to your company if you don't do anything is staggering. This is one area in which you don't want to bury your head in the sand," said Haslerud.