Adrian Walsh, who runs the Prince Michael Road Safety Awards, told an At Work Road Safety conference that the Government should be leading the way in providing financial help to boost take-up of driver training schemes. He said: 'A number of companies are 'non-believers' and we would look to the Government to provide tax breaks or other incentives to businesses to introduce driver training.'
The calls follow pleas made at the Fleet News Budget Briefing by ICL vehicle fleet manager Fred Noakes, and was backed by Steve Jackson, general manager of Ford Rental. Delegates also heard that smaller companies with few vehicles covering low mileage might have low accident rates and would be reluctant to invest money for a limited return. Dianne Rees, business services manager at Leo Pharmaceuticals, said afterwards: 'Government funding is the only way companies will take it on board. In relation to the fleet industry, only a small number of companies have driver training programmes.
'In small companies it will not be a major priority. They would be more concerned about paying staff at the end of the month. There has to be some kind of incentive but how that would be implemented is another problem. Risk management should be fleet best practice, not only for drivers but the attitude and culture of individual companies. Companies need to be educated.'
Steve Johnson, head of communications at Drive & Survive, said the idea of Government funding should be explored fully. He said: 'Management must accept they have to pay for this, but we would suggest that the Government considers extending training grants to cover driver training. Individuals can obtain grants to get more computer training. If the car is used as an extension of the workplace then surely this would apply.'
Responses to the Task Group's discussion document, Preventing at-work road traffic accidents, must be made by May 23. Copies can be downloaded from the HSE website or acquired by writing to HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA.