Fleet News

Driver Training: Fleet saves £1m through safer driving programme

Hermes’ combined car, van and HGV fleet has seen £1 million in cost savings in the past 12 months after introducing a range of safe driving measures.

The catalyst for the financial savings and a string of other employee health and safety benefits is the Hermes Driving School, which ensures the company’s 480 employed drivers and 163 agency drivers meet its industry-leading safe driving standards.

The focus on safe-driving in 2009/10 when compared with 2008/9 saw a:

  • 109% improvement in accident-free days per vehicle from 216 to 434 days, resulting in significant reductions in vehicle downtime and the cost of vehicle replacement
  • 47% improvement in the accident rate – including bumps and scratches – per vehicle from 1.44 to 0.75
  • 41.8% reduction in the number of recorded accidents from 620 to 361 across the commercial vehicle fleet
  • 33.5% (£240,000) cut in the cost of incidents

The reduction in the number of vehicle-related crashes and their severity was recorded against a background of the size of the light goods vehicle and HGV fleet increasing 11% from 430 vehicles to 479 and the number of days of vehicle use rising 16.9% from 134,160 to 156,775.

In addition to the commercial vehicle fleet, Hermes also operates 183 company cars.

Simultaneously, the number of insurance claims related to vehicle damage has fallen by 60% and insurance premiums for the business dropped 10% in the last 10 months.

It is that focus on safety through the driving school, which was opened in 2004, and the subsequent reduction in vehicle-related crashes and resulting financial savings that has seen Hermes receive ‘business champion’ status from the Government-backed ‘Driving for Better Business’ campaign, which is managed by RoadSafe.

The safety drive has been led by Hermes chief executive Carole Woodhead.

She says: “Hermes has successfully achieved year-on-year growth in volume, revenue, market share, and profit.

"This success stems largely from a change in management culture which addressed, among many other factors, the need to manage those driving on behalf of the business more thoroughly and to scrutinise the costs associated with them more effectively.

The catalyst for change has been the driving school, which has delivered enormous benefits.

“A knock-on effect from the improved accident rate and the increase in the number of accident-free days per vehicle was the significant reduction in vehicle downtime and the cost of vehicle replacement across the fleet.

“We ensure that all drivers are made aware of the impact they deliver to business results through the improvements in reducing incidents involving Hermes vehicles and improving their fuel efficiency.”

The driving school now delivers induction and continuation training for all Hermes drivers with a concerted focus on safe driving and encouraging employees to drive fuel-efficiently with the end result being cost savings.

The focus on smarter driving has also contributed to at least a 4.5% reduction in fuel consumption in the past year.

All drivers are introduced to the Hermes work-related road safety policy and procedures in their initial induction training with both in-vehicle and classroom sessions and thereafter in all elements of the training delivered by the driving school.

Training is supported by ongoing one-to-one in-vehicle coaching.

Maintaining safety standards

Hermes’ company car policy ensures that all vehicles conform to the work-related road safety policy and procedures at all times.

Individuals needing to travel by car use either a company, hire or private car, with all vehicles operated under the terms of the company car policy.

All commercial vehicle drivers must meet minimum standards, which include: a minimum of two years’ driving experience and no more than six penalty points on their licence for speeding with no other offences acceptable.

When accidents do occur the company completes a detailed analysis.

If shortfalls in training standards are identified then drivers may receive additional training.

The success of its driving school, which trained 926 drivers and delivered 1,187 driver training days last year, has prompted an internal review to examine the feasibility of expanding and extending the courses and programmes offered.

The core programmes currently include: driver assessment, induction for all new drivers, driver Certificate of Professional Competence training, Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving, a drivers’ hours workshop and an annual practical in cab driver refresher course. 

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