Fleet News

Fleet backing for driver safety move

SAFETY-conscious fleet managers have backed the prospect of the Government taking a tougher stance on driver training and believe they are ready for health and safety laws to be extended to the company car. The Government's increasing alarm at the number of company car drivers involved in accidents culminated last year in an unprecedented attack by Roads Minister Lord Whitty, who said businesses were failing to take any interest in a safety culture.

He has given assurances that complacent fleet managers will be singled out in the forthcoming road safety strategy and more recently the Health and Safety Executive has intimated its intention to use its powers to govern the use of company cars. But leading fleet figures and road safety specialists believe they are prepared for the changes. Rob Edwards, safety adviser for Manweb, a division of Scottish Power, said: 'At the moment road safety is not a big issue because there has been no legislative pressure. But there will be and we want to be ready for it.'

Edwards oversees the training needs of 1,400 car, van and truck drivers. Ron Addison, fleet administrator for ICL, which has 5,200 essential use and benefit cars, believes that hand-in-hand with pressure from insurance firms, the Government will insist on driver training becoming part of the employee induction process. 'We will see fleets having to train drivers in order to get insured because allied to the Government inevitably taking a stronger position on training, insurance companies are now making it clear premiums will be higher if fleets do nothing,' he said.

The belief in the inevitability of greater Government involvement in fleet driver training is mirrored by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Addison and Edwards expressed their views at the preview of a new one-day RoSPA course - Behavioural Aspects of Driving - based on altering a fleet driver's attitude to road safety and behaviour.

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