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Assess drivers to create a plan

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Your drivers are clocking up speeding fines and points on their licences, are involved in numerous accidents and are getting through tyres in miles measured in ‘hundreds of’ rather than ‘thousands of’. What do you do?

The answer is driver training.

But before you take a scattergun approach and put every driver through an intensive – and expensive – course of training, you need to establish the worst culprits and why.

Training helps fleets cut their costs through drivers having fewer accidents and driving less harshly which reduces maintenance bills.

But there’s also the duty of care aspect, with companies doing everything they reasonable can to keep their drivers safe.

However, rather than reacting to the issue by tackling drivers after they have offended or had an accident, fleets should take pre-emptive measures by identifying drivers that are high, medium or low risk.

High-risk drivers are typically those on higher mileages, with points on their licence, younger staff and those that have a history of accidents.

In addition, fleets with telematics can assess drivers that are accelerating, cornering or braking harshly – they are also high-risk even if they have not had an accident.

CE Electric UK has carried out an online assessment of its staff through IAM to help identify the top tier of high-risk drivers.

“We are prioritising those first through workshops on their development needs and then driving assessments,” says Chris Charlton, road risk manager.

“At the end of the year we will put them back through the process to give us a measure of success.”

The company will put medium-risk drivers through the workshop only while low-risk drivers will attend an awareness roadshow to ensure the programme is all-inclusive and to raise the profile with them of the risks of driving at work. There’s no room for complacency.

To be really successful, training needs buy-in at senior level. But many companies struggle to engage directors.

Helen Wood, group fleet co-ordinator at Lexia Solutions Group, took a direct approach to get the attention of her directors.

“I arranged for solicitors to go in to a board meeting and do a scare talk on corporate manslaughter and duty of care,” she says.

“They are now asking more questions and taking greater interest.”

It is important to set objectives to measure the success of any driver training programme.

Monitoring the number of accidents compared with the same period in previous years is one method.

For training to help reduce fuel consumption, average fuel consumption could be compared like-for-like before training is implemented.

These savings will help demonstrate to senior management that setting up a training programme is the right thing to do.

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