Dr Will Murray, principal lecturer at the Centre for Automotive Industries Management at Nottingham Business School, claims that whatever approach is used, fleets should stick to key rules.
He said: 'Many driver assessment tools are available and have particular advantages, disadvantages and champions. All require the necessary cost, cultural and operational trade-offs to be made to evaluate their usefulness in each situation.
'In an ideal world, all organisations employing drivers would use a range of assessment tools. In reality, cost and operational issues, as well as market trends, will influence those that are chosen. Whatever approach to assessment is used, however, a systematic five stage process should be followed.'
Murray says that first, all managers should undertake the assessment themselves. This shows their commitment to safe driving and helps to sell the concept to the rest of the workforce, as well as learning how to use the system and the data outputs from it. Secondly, all existing drivers should then undertake the assessment, possibly at one site initially, to build up a benchmarking database of existing company norms and standards.
This would then identify the training needs of existing staff and set appropriate targets for all new drivers to achieve.
The penultimate challenge is to expand checks to staff before they join the company and finally reassessment is vital to identify improvements.