Fleet News

Angry reaction to Government's 'gutless' road safety plan

THE Government's long-awaited road safety strategy has been blasted as 'gutless' for not forcing 'irresponsible' fleets into compulsory advanced driver training. After continued setbacks and promises to get tough on fleets with poor accident records, the strategy was published on Wednesday, prompting an angry reaction from industry experts who were counting on the Government to put in place new measures, backed up with legislative clout, which finally recognised the importance of training to company culture.

The move was widely anticipated following Road Safety Minister Lord Whitty's warning last year that the strategy would place the fleet sector in the safety spotlight after revelations that just 10% of fleets had a driver training policy while accident rates among company car drivers were 40-50% higher than for private car users. But the 84-page road safety strategy contains just a few hundred words on fleet.

A spokesman for Drive & Survive, one of Britain's major driver training companies, said: 'The strategy is absolutely gutless. It only gives tacit recognition to the concept of driver training. As an industry we have a tremendous job to do in raising safety standards, but we've been left without any Government support despite months of dialogue. Irresponsible fleet mangers have been let off the hook to continue to allow their drivers to kill and maim.'

Bob Smalley, general manager driver services at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: 'Lord Whitty can give the same warning to fleets as he did last year, but he cannot produce any clear guidelines for the Government to act upon because the conclusions of the Driving Standards Agency, which for the last few months has been discussing how best to promote driver safety, has still not been circulated.'

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