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Fleet News roundtable: Grey fleet risk uppermost on fleets' agenda

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Managing risk is an on-going challenge for companies, regardless of fleet size.

All of the 2013 Fleet News Awards nominees who attended a recent Fleet News round table, sponsored by GreenRoad, are taking steps to manage risk and have the results to show for it.

For attendees from the public sector, the grey fleet (drivers using private vehicles for business journeys) is a particular risk, with some councils having thousands of grey fleet drivers.

The challenge is ensuring that the vehicles are taxed, regularly serviced and have an MOT and that the driver has the appropriate business insurance and driving licence.

How do you manage risk?

Mark Johnson, head of transport, Welsh Water: We put everyone through an online assessment.

We take the results of that and add them to statistics such as accident history, mileage, fuel consumption and licence points so we’ve got a complete risk profile of each driver.

We categorise drivers into high, medium and low risk. High-risk  drivers have classroom-based discussion or on-the-road training.

Eric Renfrew, head of work winning, Balfour Beatty Fleet Services: Balfour Beatty has a Zero Harm policy, which means no seriously disabling injuries, no long-term harm to health and no fatalities to our workforce, sub-contractors or members of the public.

We have employed a retired traffic policeman who has been a real ambassador for the business.

We put all our drivers through the Driver Risk Index to categorise them between low, medium and high risk.

It doesn’t solve the problem but it helps you understand where the risks lie. Low and medium-risk drivers take a workshop and high-risk drivers have a full day’s training. We also have car and truck simulators as a driver training tool.

Rick Young, fleet manager, Wakefield & District Housing: In January 2012 we introduced driver awareness sessions, which everyone had to attend or they were not authorised to drive.

We explained to them how much accidents were costing the business. Since then the number and seriousness of the incidents have dropped.

We didn’t think blanket training was needed but if we identify that someone would benefit from driver training we will consider it.

What results have you seen from driver training?

Gareth Roberts, transport manager, Countryside Council for Wales: We’ve gone through an eco driver training programme. The savings there are up to 17-18%.

Julie Fitzell, Odell & LHR Express: 92% of our drivers have been on  a Smarter Driving campaign and it’s now included in our induction programme. One driver told us that in the three years he had been using smarter driving he had saved £3,000. 

Eric Renfrew: We’ve seen a 40% reduction in costs and that saving is after the cost of training.

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