Risk management: Inexperienced drivers need extra attention

09/02/2012 in Fleet News Blog

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David Richards, marketing director, AA DriveTech

We’re getting really concerned about what appears to be a growing problem among the smaller fleets in this country.

Too many small and medium-sized businesses are taking on young, full-time and temporary drivers with very little driving experience and letting them loose in quite large, powerful vans without any additional training of any sort.

They can literally pass their test one day in Northampton and be driving a long-wheelbase Ford Transit to Newcastle the next.

Apart from the obvious unfamiliarity with the vehicle itself, they would be driving on motorways for the first time and it may even be their first outing in the dark.

It’s a terrifying prospect, because any collision that does take place under these circumstances is likely to be a serious one.

The 17 to 25 age group is already the most vulnerable when it comes to crash involvement.

Giving them a responsible driving job in a newish vehicle, without impressing upon them the need for restraint, risk awareness and a good understanding of the very different vehicle dynamics involved compared to the vehicle they passed their test in, is just asking for trouble.

We’re appealing for employers of young, inexperienced drivers to have a formal and robust induction process in place, rather than just throwing them the keys and hoping for the best.

It doesn’t have to be onerous, time-consuming or expensive but you must do something.

A three-hour workshop tuned to the needs of this specific age group would make a real
difference.

They need to know the differing regulations for cars and vans; they need to know the seriousness of texting and phoning while driving; they need to be aware of the impact of fatigue, drink and drugs; they need to realise the impact of excessive speed; they need to be familiar with the vehicle controls, dimensions and dynamic characteristics.

Above all, they need to understand that they have a responsibility for the welfare of other road users and that the vehicle they’re driving is potentially a mobile advert for their employer.

  • Do you agree or disagree? Have your say in the comments section below.

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