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Fleets urged: base car choice on crash tests

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A ROAD safety expert is urging fleets to base their car choices around the Euro NCAP crash test results.

Speaking at a road transportation law briefing hosted by Davies Arnold Cooper solicitors at its London offices, Saul Jeavons, group manager corporate and community safety group, investigations and risk management at the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), told delegates: 'Euro NCAP should be part of your fleet procurement policy for cars.'

Euro NCAP aims to provide consumers with an independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold in Europe.

Jeavons told how the Renault Laguna was the first to achieve a maximum five stars in the crash test. Explaining the work of the TRL, Jeavons said it was to advise companies and help them improve safety and limit liability.

He added: 'In particular, work can be done in assessing company operations with a view to not only improving safety, but also limiting corporate liability. These two are not always the same thing.

'Steps that improve safety will usually also limit corporate liability – demonstrating that risk has been reduced to 'as low as reasonably practical'.

'However, steps can also be taken to reduce corporate liability simply by recording, in an auditable way, things that the company may already be carrying out. This can mean documenting a system rather than actually changing it, so although safety may not be improved, the company can at least demonstrate that it acted correctly.'

Jeavons urged fleet operators to ensure that all documented systems for drivers were easy to read.

'Make sure the language is technically correct,' he said, 'but it must be understood.' He added that managing risk should include all drivers, 'including the person who pops to the local post office once a week'.

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