Fleets across the country have been spending thousands of pounds implementing driver training programmes as they tighten up their road risk strategy.
However, many will be putting that investment at risk if they don’t employ a robust plan to ensure that high standards are maintained for the long-term.
Hard fought reductions in road traffic accidents, parking damage and speeding fines could end up disappearing, as drivers return to their bad habits.
Tracey Scarr, fleet and road safety manager at Arval, believes that fostering a culture of road safety by employing a range of methods, including regular employee communications and events, is essential to maintaining success.
“We also analyse accident data on the fleet and we follow up every incident with a one-to-one discussion with the driver which can identify driver training requirements,” says Scarr.
“This approach consistently delivers tangible results for Arval, including a reduction in incidents across our fleet and a risk management rating of ‘very low’.”
Arval takes a hard hitting approach to its road safety training, focusing on the human cost of poor driving rather than the business cost.
“Following training, information should be made readily available to drivers to continually reinforce the messages they’ve heard,” says Scarr.
Meanwhile, Fleet News award winner Louise Claydon has taken it a step further by insisting employees at CGG Veritas complete the driver training every 12 months.
“We are also in the process of reviewing our training programme and changing training providers so that the programme stays fresh and innovative,” adds Claydon.
“Otherwise, I find that the training can become stagnant and drivers complete it from memory rather than learning from it.”
Many fleets also adopt a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to ensuring their drivers maintain the high standards originally achieved.
Claydon employs the ultimate sanction of making her drivers liable for excesses and end-of- contract damage penalties.
Meanwhile, CE Electric said the disciplinary process is always an option for its drivers who perform “seriously” below par or for repeat offenders.
“We are also at an advanced stage of the development of a scheme which will identify and recognise those drivers who maintain an exemplary driving record over time-based milestones,” explains Chris Charlton, road risk manager at CE Electric.
But whatever approach a fleet decides to undertake to ensure long term success, driver training shouldn’t be carried out in isolation.
“It should be part of a wider risk management approach, which is combined with licence checking, a formal road safety policy, a driver handbook, risk assessment, accident analysis and a series of road safety events,” concludes Scarr.