Fleet News

Government urged to take training role

THE Government needs to take the lead in ensuring fleets embrace risk management policies, according to driver training specialist Pro-Drive.

The company believes many fleets have still not got the message and will only take steps to put proper risk management strategies in place if the Government does more to promote the benefits and demonstrates the costs of doing nothing.

The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) rejected plans that would have seen the Health and Safety Executive scrutinise risk management policies and investigate incidents involving at-work drivers.

But the House of Commons Transport Select Committee has called on the Government to provide the HSE with the necessary resources to carry out the recommendations of the Work-related Road Safety Task Group.

Graham Hurdle, managing director of risk management provider Pro-Drive, said: 'Until an organisation like the Health and Safety Executive makes more of it, there will always be fleet managers or operators who think it does not apply to them.

'The Government needs to do more if it wants risk management to be taken seriously by every fleet, and it must make the resources available to ensure it is taken on board.

'Whenever there is a serious train accident there seems to be uproar, but nine people are killed on the UK's roads every day.'

Hurdle was present at a Pro-Drive pilot event organised for Audi sales staff on the Allroad model's off-road and towing capability. The course means that in future when customers have enquiries about the car's off-road ability, staff can advise them with first-hand experience rather than referring them to a brochure.

Pro-Drive was established in 1991 and now has a team of 52 instructors but is about to recruit a further 20 in response to demand for driver training.

As well as offering training for company car drivers, it also provides instruction in all kinds of disciplines.

Hurdle told Fleet NewsNet: 'Attitudes have changed towards driver training over the past 10 years. It began just as driver training, but the emphasis has turned to fleet risk management in the last three to four years and this has gained a higher profile with the study by the Work-related Road Safety Task Group.

'Risk management is continually changing and we are constantly changing our product as the issue evolves.

'Our risk management programme starts at the company level and looks at the broader issues that could create risks for businesses and vehicle fleets. We look at policies, procedures and vehicle selection, then we look at individual drivers and their claims histories and accident rates. It is not just about sending better drivers back to companies.

'A lot of the more proactive companies are happy to take advice on board. We also find that with most drivers, by the time we get to them they have already seen a presentation on how the company will benefit and are willing to learn.

'We will write to individuals beforehand if companies want us to, to explain why we are carrying out the work and that they have not been singled out.

'I don't want to make generalisations, but some small to medium-sized companies need that extra push from the Government.'

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