Safety on the Road

The final leg of a journey can be the trickiest to navigate for employees on a business trip. Many travelers want the flexibility of an on-demand ride and the ability to save their company money by using a service at an average lower cost than taxis. Ridesharing is the top expense for business travel, appearing in over 16% of expense report according to Certify’s 2019 SpendSmart Report. But because of Duty of Care obligations, many corporate travel policies expressly forbid their employees from using alternative suppliers, or the “sharing economy,” for transportation while they’re traveling on company business.

Duty of Care Concerns

Both major rideshare services screen potential drivers, including conducting criminal background checks, and they also provide liability insurance. But drivers with ridesharing services don’t have the state licenses that are issued to taxi and limousine drivers, and they use their own private vehicles. There is no guarantee that a vehicle in the “sharing economy” has been subjected to the same maintenance or regulation as a rental car or licensed taxi. These issues could cause a conflict with Duty of Care, the policies that place obligations on employers to ensure the safety of their employees while they’re on company business, including travel.

Besides issues surrounding Duty of Care, ridesharing services can also cause headaches for travel managers who are trying to control costs and negotiate rates. Ridesharing services base their prices on supply and demand, and that price rises sharply during peak travel times. Employees may not be aware of surge pricing until it’s too late and there are no other options to get where they’re going.

Rental Car Safety Features

The other common ground transportation choice is renting a car. National Car Rental was ranked highest among the rental car companies for the fifth consecutive year, according to Business Travel News' 2019 Car Rental Survey. The newest safety features that manufacturers are putting into their vehicles are making their way down market to the most commonly rented mid-size vehicles. Even base-level rental cars have a lot of technology built into them to protect drivers.

ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems) are now standard equipment in many vehicles. These systems include:

  • Lane assist to keep you within your lane
  • Collision avoidance to alert you if you’re about to hit something
  • Blind spot detection systems using sensors
  • Adaptive cruise control to regulate your speed in traffic
  • Automatic braking to reduce the severity of high-speed collisions

Maintenance Issues

A key differentiator between ride-share cars and rental agency cars is maintenance. Car rental companies are legally obligated to shelve a car that’s under a recall until it has been repaired. But with a ride share vehicle, you can’t be sure whether it’s been serviced or not. Rental car companies manage a diverse fleet with an average age of only 8 months.

Regardless of a car’s age, there is a maintenance schedule for parts and service based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. A car that’s due or overdue for service gets set aside so it can’t be rented. Once a car goes over 25,000 miles, it gets a brake check, a measurement on the tread on its tires, and fluid replacement among other safety checks.

Finding the balance between safety and convenience can be delicate. Keep in mind that your personal safety is your company’s highest priority while you’re traveling. For more on business travel policy issues, check out Top Signs Your Company is Doing Business Travel Wrong.

Ready to speak with a corporate travel expert about how you can better manage your business travel? Get in touch with us to schedule a free consultation that can help lower costs and improve employee productivity.