Fleet News

Fleet managers warned of 'harrowing experience' of crash investigation

FLEET managers have been warned they face being 'ripped to shreds' by a rigorous police investigation should one of their drivers be involved in a serious accident. David Lee, fleet manager at John Laing Construction, has experienced the 'harrowing' experience of a police investigation following the death last year of one of the company's drivers in a road accident.

Lee, in charge of a 2,500-strong fleet, was visited repeatedly by Hertfordshire police officers who scrutinised driver and vehicle data. 'Everything I've done has been with full awareness of the 1988 Road Traffic Act and have taken every possible action to ensure we're bullet proof,' said Lee. 'Even so I wish I had done more. The police do everything they can to establish there was nothing the employer had not reasonably done to ensure the driver wasn't committing an offence.'

John Laing Construction was not blamed for the accident and one of the investigating police officers said: 'Laing's vehicle policy appeared thorough and included good monitoring and the ability to highlight sub-standard usage by employees.' Lee has since tightened up company guidelines and further enhanced the company car users' manual, which outlines safe driving practices in relation to traffic law. He warned: 'If the police went into every company with a fleet in this country and investigated them in the same way I was, 99% of them would be ripped to shreds. It was a harrowing experience and one I would not want repeated.'

Lee believes he owes his life to choosing a car based on the European New Car Assessment crash test results. He walked away from a head-on collision in his Vauxhall Omega, which he had chosen because of its safety credentials. NCAP's findings also form the basis of Lee's car choice on the company fleet.

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