Sponsored by TDG Logistics and the contract and agency driver supplier People Direct Recruitment Services, the report 'Managing agency drivers: moving towards best practice' applies to all companies who employ temporary staff, including those using vans for delivery or courier work. Researchers found that while agency drivers undertook 20% of the driving among the 146 companies which responded, they were involved in 30% of the accidents.
Dr Will Murray, a researcher at the University of Huddersfield, said in some cases the high accident rate was due to agency drivers being used as 'scapegoats' by vehicle operators. 'But in the majority of cases the major contributory causes of accidents were that these drivers were not properly introduced to a company's operating practices and were not given adequate information about delivery plans and locations,' he said.
The report proposes a joint development strategy for suppliers and users of agency drivers. Recommendations made included: developing a partnership approach based on forward planning, better management by both agencies and vehicle operators, improved communication, emphasis on quality as well as cost, setting and working to agreed standards and guidelines and improved driver recruitment, assessment, training and monitoring. Much of the emphasis for change is placed on senior management.