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Ground Transportation and Duty of Care: 3 Things to Consider

Three duty of care elements that should be considered as part of your car rental policy.

This article was originally posted by Direct Travel on the DT Navigator Blog

Since ground transportation is an integral part of business travel, travel managers need to pay close attention to safety and security issues. As part of duty of care, organizations need to assess all possible risks associated with vehicle rentals and ride-sharing services to prepare a plan that will not only help keep travellers safe, but will also minimize liability risks.

1. Lost Property

In the world of business travel, lost property doesn't just represent an inconvenience; it's also a serious business risk. If an employee leaves his or her laptop in a rental car, sensitive information on the device could find its way into the wrong hands.

Providing a checklist for renting vehicles can reduce the chances of the driver and passengers losing their property. With the right solution in place, the organization could automatically send travellers a text message as they are returning their cars to remind them to sweep vehicles for items dropped between the seats or left in the trunk.

2. Supplier Communications

Inpost2When employees are out on assignment, they need to be able to easily communicate with rental suppliers. The ability to reserve a specific type of vehicle helps travellers stick to their schedules and stay on policy. As noted by Business Travel News, travellers appreciate having multiple points of contact when they need assistance.

The article also talks about how car rental companies have paved the way for responsive driver care, particularly during times of natural disasters. Ask your car rental partner if their disaster plan includes things like working with local government and utility companies, setting up temporary locations and moving in extra vehicles when necessary.

Not only is responsiveness important in an emergency, but it's also critical for day-to-day changes. Dependence on an internal travel arranger for last-minute itinerary updates can be inefficient since it involves too many parties, which can run the risk of an important message taking too long to reach the traveller. Car rental suppliers that can communicate directly with travellers on the road can solve problems more quickly. Understanding the level of service car rental companies can offer your organization is vital prior to partnering with a supplier.

3. Car Accidents

According to the Association for Safe International Driving, over 2.3 million Americans are injured or disabled in road crashes annually. Internationally, that figure rises to between 20 and 50 million individuals, making this risk one that companies need to consider very seriously.

Although there's no surefire way to prevent accidents, a corporate travel policy should lay the groundwork for reducing the likelihood of a crash. Businesses could encourage drivers to consider using other ways of transportation like taxis, ride-sharing apps, metro transit or other options instead of renting a car when travelling to countries where driving laws and road rules are extremely different. To illustrate, Americans visiting London or Hong Kong might have difficulties driving on the left side of the road, not to mention from the right side of the car. For travellers where it makes the most sense for them to rent a car, make sure to negotiate a good insurance plan into your preferred car vendor agreement to mitigate risk of potential car accidents.

Duty of care policies should also address alcohol consumption, whether explicitly or indirectly, because drinking creates driving risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that alcohol-impaired drivers are responsible for 28 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S. Having a process in place for utilization and reimbursement for ride-sharing services can reduce the risk of impaired driving.

The Road Ahead

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Businesses that partner with a travel management company gain access to technologies that can help track down employees when they run into trouble. A good travel risk management solution should give managers the ability to easily find employees on the road, communicate with them in emergency situations and escalate any issues to the proper authorities if necessary. Preparing ahead of time by providing travellers with local emergency numbers and a briefing of local security and health information are other ways of ensuring travellers stay safe in any situation.

Educating travellers about these three risks and others can also help prepare them for various scenarios they might face on the road. To learn more, check out our Navigator Blog post on how to explain risk to business travellers.