Lesley Upham, commercial director, Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), looks at risk management.
There are many pressures and constraints on fleets, both large and small. However, and despite everything else needing attention, addressing driver risk should not be allowed to fall between the cracks, as payback will be received in both increased safety and a reduced fleet bottom line.
A key statistic of note is that driving for work is easily the riskiest activity anyone will do during their employment and, while industries such as construction and manufacturing have made huge strides to reduce the number of serious incidents, those arising as a result of driving for work remain many times more likely.
Unfortunately, it seems clear that the fleet sector still needs educating when it comes to understanding just why it is vital to reduce risk for business drivers.
While larger fleets may have their house in order in this respect, I’ve quickly come across too many other businesses that either have no driver risk management (DRM) programme in place or have gaping holes in it.
Licence checks, but no assessment of risk, and assessments, but no remedial training, are typical examples of a flimsy DRM programme. This leaves any fleet wide open to prosecution should a serious on-road incident occur.
Over the next few years and through sustained promotion of the effectiveness of and requirement to have a DRM programme in place, I expect the fleet sector to have a much greater awareness of the need to safeguard drivers at work. And, that’s all who drive for work, irrespective of vehicle ownership.
Employers and fleet managers have many objectives to fulfil but in my experience a large number still need to better understand the importance of their grey fleet, the vehicles not owned or leased by the company but by private individuals and used for business activities, however infrequent.
Drivers of these vehicles also need the same attention when it comes to mitigating risk.
I’m finding that too often the grey fleet is overlooked, both the vehicles themselves and, worryingly, those who drive them.