When your company’s name is in big, colorful lettering on the sides of large service vehicles, you have a special incentive to make sure your drivers obey the rules of the road. Dutton Plumbing does a lot of things to ensure safe driving by our technicians.
Even if we were inclined to be cavalier about the way our people behave behind the wheel, our insurance company will not let us. Our commercial liability carrier imposes a number of practices that we must abide by. A good driving record lowers the policy premium the company must pay. Accidents and traffic violations not only would cost a lot of money, too many of them would likely cause our insurance carrier to drop us from coverage and make it hard to obtain liability insurance from any other credible company.
Dutton Plumbing’s (and our insurer’s) commitment to safe driving begins even before we hire a technician or apprentice. Before anyone gets into the driver’s seat of one of our vehicles, our insurer conducts a background check with the Department of Motor Vehicles. A DUI conviction would almost certainly preclude us from hiring that person, as of course would any license suspension. Too many major traffic violations, especially in the recent past, also would be hard for anyone to overcome when seeking employment with us.
Once they pass muster, our drivers continue to be instructed and monitored on safe driving practices. Each of our service vehicles is equipped with a GPS system that constantly tracks the vehicle’s location and driving behavior. We prohibit any driver from going beyond 65 mph, the maximum speed limit on area highways. If someone exceeds that speed, his or her manager will be immediately notified and will question the driver as soon as the vehicle is stopped. Our people know this, so we seldom have to take any corrective measures.
Dutton Plumbing conducts bi-weekly safety meetings with our technicians. Safe driving is a recurring theme, along with safe working practices inside of customer homes. One of the things we emphasize is compliance with a recently enacted state law that prohibits talking on a cell phone when driving except via hands-free mode.
We have reminded our technicians of a recently announced crackdown by the Simi Valley Police Department against DUI and Distracted Driving. The Simi Valley Police Dept. received a $34,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to pursue this program after a two-year rise in traffic collisions resulting in fatalities and injuries. We’re not seriously concerned that any of our technicians might be drinking on the job, but we know that the temptation is great to make and accept cell phone calls while behind the wheel. This can be a difficult policy to police, so we are in the process of equipping all of our service vehicles with Bluetooth systems that will enable our technicians to communicate hands-free via cell phones.
I wish I could say our drivers have been entirely accident-free, but like anyone else in heavily congested Southern California, we are not immune to fender bender collisions, especially those caused by someone else. The most recent one occurred when one of our trucks got damaged (no injuries, thank goodness) when two other autos collided and one careened into our vehicle.
When one of our vehicles does get into an accident, our insurance company charges into action investigating the cause and extent of damage. Sometimes the insurer may ask the driver to submit to a test for intoxicants in his or her system, although that has not occurred in recent memory.
We are confident that our team of technicians is as conscientious about safety in your home and on the road as any you’ll find working for any service company. Besides providing them with the technical tools and instructions needed to make safety a high priority, Dutton Plumbing wields the ultimate weapon to make sure they are safe drivers.
That is the knowledge that they work for one of the top companies in our industry, with good pay, benefits and working conditions to match. Our technicians do not want to jeopardize their jobs by acting foolishly while behind the wheel or in your home.
If any of our employees do violate the rules of the road, we want to hear about it. Our telephone number appears in large lettering on the sides of our service vehicles. Please give us a call as soon as possible (after your vehicle is stopped) if you spot any of our drivers doing something unsafe.