Fleet News

Fleets call for more health & safety laws

TWO-thirds of fleet operators have called for legislation to force them to introduce new safety measures, despite revealing gaping holes in their current risk management policies.

The safety call was made in an exclusive Fleet News health and safety survey, sponsored by Nissan, which lifts the lid on whether fleets are currently meeting their duty of care requirements to drivers.

A total of 64.2% of fleets said they would welcome more laws forcing the industry to take action to improve driver safety. Yet many fleets in the survey admitted their own safety policies were at fault.

The survey, which was revealed yesterday at the Fleet News Spring Conference: Safety and Numbers, sponsored by Nissan and co-sponsored by Lloyds TSB autolease, showed the true cost of operating fleet vehicles.

In the past five years, the 121 companies surveyed, which operate nearly 37,000 vehicles, had seen six drivers killed and 252 drivers hospitalised in work-related accidents. Yet although 95% of fleet decision-makers said they carried out licence checks, only 80% gave a formal explanation of company risk policies for areas including phones. Nearly half said they didn't carry out tyre checks, and more than 60% had no formal driver training in place. Just 31.7% issue penalties following accidents and fines, while only 12.5% carried out any remedial training following accidents. Less than 30% tried to carry out eye tests on staff.

The survey showed that fleet drivers are averaging 20,000 business miles a year, but drivers on some fleets averaged 50,000 business miles a year, although this is a fraction of what some employees can cover on business (see page 3).

Overall, the fleets covered in the survey had 11,897 accidents in the past year, with an average ratio of crashes to fleet size of 28%. The survey also revealed the total number of miles covered by the fleets between each accident was 114,000. To put that in perspective, for a 100-vehicle fleet, where drivers cover 100 miles per day, that is one accident every two weeks.

Fleets were also asked to estimate the financial cost of accidents in the past year. In total, it reached £13,592,675, with the highest bill topping £4 million a year and the average settling at £123,570. Industry experts warned at the Spring Conference that every penny spent on accident costs is a penny straight off the bottom line of the business.

The survey also revealed 21% of fleet drivers have received speeding tickets and 15.8% of fleets said a driver had been banned for motoring offences in the past year. One of the most surprising results of the survey showed that more than one quarter of fleets had drivers who had taken time off work because of discomfort caused by driving.

The problem hit a total of 84 drivers, with one company alone saying 15 drivers were affected. Despite this, less than 30% of fleets said they would be interested in risk management advice from an accredited training provider.

  • A full copy of the report is available by emailing fleetnews@emap.com
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