Industry experts anticipate such involvement will lead to fleet managers having to record in minute detail the mileages, schedules and the accident records of all their drivers in anticipation of a visit from a health and safety inspector. But while it is acknowledged that such visits are many months away, fleets say that the warnings of such an eventuality during the last few months have hit home.
Roland Puckett, transport team leader at shipbuilder Vosper Thornycroft and manager of 110 vehicles, said: 'HSE involvement means my responsibilities will grow significantly. At the moment it's up to the drivers to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy and if they have an accident they fill in the accident form and both they and their head of department will have that embarrassing black mark against them. It's amazing how well that acts as a deterrent. While I see my workload increasing, the established culture we have should smooth the changes.'
Colin Cross, national fleet manager for sheltered housing builder McCarthy and Stone, is in favour of 'anything that improves the safety of his fleet'. 'One of the benefits of my running an all-diesel fleet is that it alters the drivers' perception of the performance of their cars. When we were running petrol cars a driver could get cut up on the road, the red mist would descend and he'd respond aggressively,' he said.