Fleet News

Put the emphasis on training, MAC chief urges Government

THE Government has come under attack for placing too much emphasis on catching speeding drivers and ignoring the desperate need for better driver training standards.

More than 70% of company car accidents could be prevented if drivers were given specific training, new research claims.

Interviews with 100 fleet drivers who have been involved in an accident reveal that 71 admitted their own driving was a contributory factor and that there was more they could have done to avoid a crash.

The figures, compiled by MAC Driver Training, suggest that better training could reduce road traffic accidents by up to 70,000 each year and save UK companies £100 million a year.

The firm is calling for the removal of VAT on driver training to make it more affordable, and for the Government to introduce a P11D tax allowance for those who complete a driver training course.

Tom Jones, general manager at MAC Driver Training, believes post-test assessments and training would substantially cut accidents on UK roads.

He said: 'Drivers will invariably say there was nothing they could have done to prevent an accident. But this is just not true. We need to teach drivers better observation skills and teach them to drive to the conditions of the road.'

In the UK, company car drivers are responsible for one-third of all accidents, despite the fact that they make up only 10% of road users.

'There are many facts and figures available about road safety but one figure we cannot change or escape from is that 3,443 people were killed on our roads during 2001, 1% more than in 2000,' said Jones.

He added: 'Whatever happened to the road safety officer's three Es: education, engineering and enforcement? Have we abandoned driver education in favour of enforcement?

'The Government seems to have all its eggs in one speed camera basket, hoping the 'speed kills' campaign will achieve the 40% reduction in road casualties by 2010.'

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