Paul Holmes, managing director of Fleet Mangers Friend (FMF), looks at the importance of driver communication.
In recent years the fleet industry has seen a big increase in the tracking, checking and validation of at-work drivers.
The use of telematics is now common place, the ability to check driving standards has never been easier and the validation of a driving licence for drivers is now the norm for most companies.
The introduction and use of all of these measures will help reduce work-related road risk and therefore assist in reducing and controlling costs.
However, if these systems and processes are not introduced with a clearly thought through operating strategy a company could potentially not maximise all the potential benefits.
It is clear from our reviews, there is often a serious disconnect in the perception risk reduction activities when you take on-board the views of the manager and the driver.
Without the correct implementation and associated required communications, the introduction of black boxes, driver assessments and licence checks can result in a driver perception that the company is always checking up on them, damaging the trust between the driver and their employer. This scenario does not aid business morale and therefore the acceptance and the embracing of the risk reduction strategies that could eventually help driver.
When driver awareness is at the cornerstone of any implementation process the chances of driver acceptance is significantly increased and therefore the results a company is looking for will be enhanced.
Driver awareness does not only relate to risk management it should be the key to all fleet matters. How do you expect a driver to act if you have not advised them of what is required of them?
We had example only three weeks ago, when a van driver stated that if he was pulled over by police and found to have a bald tyre, the fine would go to the company.
In recent months, we have seen several changes, including a change to drink drive laws in Scotland, while the licence counterpart will also be phased out soon. Are companies ensuring they are maintaining business and driver awareness?