It’s part of their job, just as driving safely and doing their utmost to avoid crashes should be a basic requirement of doing their job.
But it doesn’t work like that when it comes to driving in many cases and, as asking turkeys to vote for Christmas might seem illogical and contradictory, so is rewarding employees for not putting their lives in danger. But it can work.
A poor attitude from drivers can lead to added wear and tear, through greater damage, shorter tyre life because of driving style or breakdowns, and of course could lead to a higher accident rate.
So one method of improving attitude and creating a culture of responsibility could be to reward drivers with a bonus or incentives for taking care of their vehicles and driving in a trustworthy manner.
Sean Bingham, director of new business at Godfrey Davis Contract Hire, said: ‘A culture of care and responsibility around the company car could help prevent thousands of accidents each year.
‘Yet many organisations are still lagging behind when it comes to implementing such a policy. What companies should question is whether accidents are something that just happen or whether they are events which can be managed. It would be naïve to say that policy alone could stop accidents altogether, as there are many other factors involved.
‘However, the need for more employers to implement management control to encourage a culture of care and responsibility is evident.’
Bingham believes that employees should be made aware that if they are involved in an accident that they would, at the very least, be questioned about it.
A report published by Godfrey Davis earlier this year (Company Cars – The Driver Perspective) shows that only one-third of employers penalise drivers who cause accidents and actively encourage drivers to take ownership by paying the excess on the damage or a mandatory sum.
Rewarding drivers for good behaviour on the road is not a new idea.
Last year, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association’s director general John Lewis, encouraged fleets to ‘name and shame’ drivers who regularly rack up penalties for fines, while praising competent drivers (Fleet NewsNet, November 13 2003).
Speaking at an Arval Business Outlook conference last year, Lewis said: ‘The way out of this is to look at ways of educating drivers either by cajoling or by penalties. Name and shame bad drivers or give prizes to the best drivers.
‘We need to educate drivers to drive lawfully, not to incur speeding fines and pay charges such as the congestion charge up front. If they do this it will be cheaper and it would reduce fleet administration.’
Driver training group Driveco recently announced it had launched a new training programme which focuses on driver psychology.
This aims to deal with the problem of poor driver attitude through remedial training.