The initiative is a reflection of a Government ambition to set minimum standards for 'fleet driving instructors who specialise in providing instruction to the significant numbers of people who drive for work.'
Transport Minister David Jamieson said: 'We want to raise the profile of training on offer to fleet drivers and their employers. The scheme will establish an industry standard, and make it easier for managers to get their drivers involved in further training.'
Industry-wide standards have been the holy grail of the fleet driver training industry, although training companies have been unable to agree either on key elements of a trainer register or how to police it.
In particular, defensive driver training companies that employ former police class one instructors refuse to accept that these trainers should also be Approved Driving Instructors, the required qualification for learner driver trainers.
The DSA insists that 'only Approved Driving Instructors will be accepted on to the new register when they have successfully completed additional accredited training or passed a DSA exam, which will be introduced in July.'
The Fleet Safety Association, formed from the merger of the Fleet Driver Training Association and the Fleet Forum in March this year, immediately welcomed the register.
A spokesman said: 'We fully support this initiative to establish standards in the fleet driver training industry.'
The DSA said the voluntary register could also help company directors to manage the health and safety risks involved in driving for work, and added that defensive driver training could lead to lower insurance premiums and a reduction in work-related road casualties for businesses which require employees to drive cars or small vans as part of their work.
'Some company car drivers, such as sales reps, have attracted criticism in the past for being inconsiderate drivers,' it said. 'And company car drivers are 30%-50% more likely to be involved in accidents than other drivers. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 77,000 fleet drivers are injured in crashes each year while at work. The Government wants to set minimum standards for the training of these drivers.'
John Ascroft, head of risk services at RAC Business Solutions, said: 'It's excellent that the Government is putting something into place that will regulate the standards of company vehicle driver trainers.'