Fleet News

Safety strategy: what a washout!

ANGRY fleet chiefs have blasted the Government's long-awaited road safety strategy as 'disappointing' and 'wishy washy' for its failure to endorse company car driver training. The document - 'Tomorrow's Roads - Safer For Everyone' - had been expected to crackdown hard on fleets' poor safety record. But in an apparent U-turn the Government failed to single out the so called 'complacent fleet managers' it had promised to hit.

And the angry reaction of fleet managers was echoed by industry safety experts. Andy Price, market segment manager for Permabond, a division of ICI, said: 'It was very wishy washy and very disappointing. The Government had the opportunity to do something positive for fleet safety training and completely missed it.' Price, who has won the Fleet News Risk Management Award for the past two years for his DriveSafe scheme, which is aiming to create a culture of zero accidents through a programme of training, was particularly disappointed a blanket-ban wasn't imposed on the use of mobile phones in vehicles.

David Footitt, transport manager for NEWS Transport, who won the 1998 Fleet News Fleet Safety Award for his commitment to driver training, was dismayed by the safety strategy and its apparent disregard for driver training. He said: 'It is outrageous. We are heading to a nanny state where they think imposing speed limits is going to improve road safety which is ridiculous. We have seen fantastic results from driver training. And I have never known any company lose on its investment in driver training.'

James Sutherland, chairman of the Fleet Driver Training Association, said: 'The Government has dismally failed to take action which could be saving lives right now. All it does is call for yet more talking via another committee, which will waste even more time. Let's get on with it. We already have a training industry which is capable of helping companies devise their own Highway Codes.'

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