At the request of its insurance carrier, and to show it is committed to promoting safety awareness and responsible driving behavior, the city of Hastings has drafted a fleet safety program policy.
Bob Davis, the city’s director of safety, presented a draft of the city’s fleet safety program, a policy that looks at motor vehicle safety for city employees who are required to drive as part of their jobs, during the Hastings City Council work session Monday.
“We need to have good, safe drivers in our vehicles who are abiding by the rules,” Davis said.
He worked on the 15-page document with City Clerk Kim Jacobitz, City Administrator Dave Ptak and Utility Manager Kevin Johnson.
The fleet safety program will be on the agenda for the City Council’s Oct. 14 meeting. If approved the policy will be given to all employees who are required to drive for their jobs and also posted on the city’s website.
Davis said the city’s insurance carrier, Travelers’ Insurance Co., told him Hastings’s fleet safety program is one of the best Travelers has seen.
According to the proposed fleet safety program, there are three levels of driver qualification criteria.
State-regulated driver qualification parameters must be met. The employee’s motor vehicle record will be reviewed annually, or more frequently if reasons warrant. Employees who require a commercial driver license for their specific job description will comply with CDL regulations and will be enrolled in a Nebraska Department of Transportation drug and alcohol testing program.
Jacobitz said the city will use a Nebraska.gov program to do those annual reviews at a cost of $3 for the initial review. The city will receive push notifications at 6 cents per employee on the list per month to have them on a list in case an incident occurs after that initial report is given to the city.
The city pays $3 to receive that notification.
“At least then we know we have the most accurate information,” Ptak said.
The Nebraska license point system will be used to identify high-risk drivers.
The city will monitor motor vehicle records in order to determine the appropriate driver category for authorized personnel.
One to five points within the Nebraska license point system is deemed acceptable.
Six to eight points is considered borderline. Nine to 12 points is considered high risk.
In the case of a driver in the acceptable category, the employee will receive a letter of warning. A borderline-category driver will receive a letter of reprimand, successfully complete a driver improvement course, and may be suspended without pay for one day.
In the case of a high-risk driver, according to the draft, the driver will receive a letter of reprimand and may be suspended without pay for one week. Management will determine if the employee will be reassigned to a non-driving position, if available, or be reinstated following the completion of a driving course.
There was some discussion during the work session whether reprimand is too strong of word for action taken in regard to an employee in the high-risk category.
Admonishment was mentioned as a possible alternative.
“We’re trying to protect the city as best we can, not to punish the employee,” Ptak said. “If this creates an incentive to drive more safely then that’s probably the net effect of what we’ve accomplished.”
Mayor Corey Stutte said establishing the fleet safety program is a good step toward establishing a low-risk profile for the city.
“I think what we want to make sure is that the public feels confident we’ve got safe drivers out there and employees that are making good decisions,” he said.
He commended Davis, who has worked nearly five years as the city’s first safety director.
“You’ve done an outstanding job of helping put this group together and look at these sorts of issues,” Stutte said.