Fleet News

Lease firms' role in driver safety battle

LEASING companies could be thrust to the forefront of a battle to cut at-work road accidents as fleets search for advice and support to meet their duty of care to drivers. The fleet management expertise of leasing suppliers will be used to create auditable proof that decision-makers have made the safety of drivers a priority.

Kevin Denham, marketing manager for Pendragon Contracts, said: 'While the exact measures that the authorities intend to put in place have yet to be finally agreed, it is clear that fleets will have to rethink their attitude to safety. Any corporate body which has a fleet or asks employees to use their own cars will need to have a thorough and carefully constructed safety policy in place.'

He argued that fleets which lease vehicles very rarely keep their own maintenance records because all work is usually looked after by the leasing company.

These maintenance records are vital for assessing running costs and proving vehicles have a full service history at disposal time, but they could play a part in proving a fleet decision-maker has ensured a vehicle is in a roadworthy condition, should the driver be involved in an accident.

Denham warned: 'This is an important new responsibility and many leasing companies like ourselves keep comprehensive vehicle maintenance records, but some may be guilty of taking a much more lax attitude.

'Fleets must ensure suppliers are keeping records with the depth of information that the company's safety policy states is necessary.'

His comments follow a survey that revealed some fleet operators are dangerously complacent about at-work driver safety.

Nearly half of fleet operators have not introduced any measures to make drivers more aware of safety issues, an exclusive study by Fleet News in association with ARVAL PHH Accident Management found last month.

The survey of 300 fleets discovered 40% have done nothing to warn drivers of the dangers of speeding, using mobile phones and road rage.

The same number are not planning to do anything about it in the next year. And 38% of fleet operators surveyed have not investigated their duty of care to drivers, despite repeated warnings they could be held liable for incidents occurring out on the road.

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