Fleet News

Fleet safety: 'attitudes must change'

RAC Motoring Services has unveiled a new report showing how the fleet industry can improve its safety performance – and it includes some shocking findings. The chief executive of the RAC has issued a direct call for fleets and company executives to commit to safety improvements after new research revealed a number of problem areas.

Andrew Harrison claims that despite an increased focus on safety among fleets, there is still a need for companies to apply new policies, such as how to deal with drivers covering business miles in private cars.

He said: 'The question of who takes responsibility for crashes caused by company car drivers has been on the political and motoring agenda for some time now. Driver training, safer vehicles and comprehensive risk management programmes are all available to help fleet decision-makers and company directors ensure safer driving conditions for their drivers and other motorists.

'However, these tools are only part of the solution. Attitudes must be changed at all levels.'

The need for a change in attitude is emphasised in Driving on Company Business, part of the RAC Report on Motoring 2003.

It reveals that in addition to three million company car drivers, there are a further five million employees covering business miles in private cars. However, just 2% of fleet decision-makers regularly check these cars for safety and roadworthiness.

Furthermore, most private cars driven on work-related business may by uninsured for this purpose. More than half of fleet decision-makers incorrectly believe insurance policies for private cars cover work-related journeys. And only 18% of drivers say their employer has asked if they have the appropriate insurance cover to use a private car on business.

By contrast, 59% of fleets say they have a safety policy for company car drivers, up from 44% in 2000.

The RAC said: 'Companies must acknowledge the importance of the issue and develop a road safety policy that applies to both company cars and private cars when driven on company business.'

Mike Wear, director of fleet operations for Ford, backed the report, saying: 'What is perhaps astonishing is that in some companies even the most basic practices, such as checking a person's driving licence, go overlooked. In these instances, how can they be sure that the safety of a driver and their passengers is not at risk?'

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    The report in brief

    THE RAC has providing a snapshot of the world of transport as part of its RAC Report on Motoring 2003. During the year, new additions to the report will be published to add to Driving on Company Business, Motoring Facts, Making the Most of Britain's Roads and Mobile Phones.

    Here we summarise some of the findings so far.

    Company cars

  • There are about 2.4 million company cars on the road and 600,000 belonging to the self-employed
  • The average age of a company car is 3.4 years old, compared with 6.3 years old for private cars
  • In 2001, 78% of company car drivers were male
  • Company car drivers are more likely to have points on their driving licence – 28% compared with 16% of private drivers
  • UK businesses accounted for 43% of the short-term hire market, which was worth £1.2 billion in 2000


  • Company car tax raised £3.7 billion in 2001
  • Vehicle taxation has increased by £10.6 billion since 1996 while overall investment in road infrastructure has fallen by £1.6 billion
  • 82% of fleet decision-makers oppose any attempts to introduce workplace parking charges


  • Overall levels of traffic have increased tenfold since 1955
  • Road traffic has increased by 15% since 1991
  • Car travel accounts for 81% of vehicle mileage and 85% of all passenger mileage
  • In 1955, nearly one-fifth of road mileage was by bike, compared to less than 1% now
  • 72% of commuters do so by car, while 55% of parents who have children at school take them by car
  • Consumers spent £25 billion on cars in 2001, compared to £23 billion on going to pubs
  • 1.5 million cars were produced in the UK in 2001
  • 827,000 jobs are dependent on the UK motor industry

    Running costs

  • The average price paid for a car has risen from £8,200 in 1992 to £11,800 in 2001
  • The average price for a used car has grown from £3,200 to £6,000
  • 30% of all motorists are unaware how much their car costs to run


  • 79% of drivers support a ban on the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving, compared to 39% who support banning all use of phones while driving
  • Motorways are the safest roads in the country, with 18 accidents per 100 million kms
  • The most dangerous are built-up areas with 73 accidents per 100 million kms

  • Driving on Company Business, costing £149, forms part of the fifteenth annual RAC Report on Motoring. The survey questioned 1,000 drivers, including 250 company car drivers, along with 250 fleet decision-makers. Further sections of the main report will be published throughout 2003. Call 0208 9172500 for details.
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