Fleet News

Scheduling pressures: On time – but at what cost to safety?

By Duncan Pickering, market development manager, IAM RoadSmart

The pressures we face in everyday life seem to be getting greater. And one sector for which this has never been truer is that of the beleaguered delivery driver or courier.

With a seismic shift in the way we shop, the role of the delivery driver has never been more crucial to the fabric of UK society. And as a result of this, many of them are being presented with an unrealistic schedule of drop-offs and collections that are causing them to take unnecessary risks when it comes to driving. Could company car drivers be facing similar pressures?

An IAM RoadSmart staff member said nine out of 10 people she spoke to in the commercial sector said that, to meet the schedules they had been given, on paper it would require them to break the speed limit all day. 

According to campaign group Driving for Better Business, every day of the year more than 150 vehicles driven on company business crash. Every year, there are 14,000 road deaths and serious injuries involving people at work.

We are finding that many businesses, both large and small, are putting little thought into the capacity of their drivers, traffic conditions and schedules – and forcing them to break the law and compromise safety as a result.

Businesses need to be working a driver risk management schedule into the way they work, and senior managers should not ignore the importance of road safety when implementing sales and delivery targets. For any company that has road delivery as part of the way it works, road safety has to become a part of its culture. And that culture must begin with the CEO, MD, directors and management.

Realistic journey management, supported by investment in technology, must be a part of this. Already the earliest sat-nav systems cannot take into account changing traffic conditions, while Google maps and the like can. Technology is becoming more affordable, with little excuse for not using it.

So we urge businesses to do the right thing: ensure road safety is appropriately prioritised in the boardroom and that road safety is not sacrificed in the pursuit of marginal gains to profitability.

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