Fleet News

Safety group warning to 'heroic' high-mile driver

LEADING road safety organisations have called for a safety overhaul in fleets after it was revealed that one company car driver covers a staggering 120,000 business miles a year in a 1.3-litre city car.

Security firm recruitment manager Jason Palmer claims to drive on average 2,000 miles per week in his Suzuki Wagon R+ – that equates to 328 miles every day even with public holidays and weekends included. Yet he was labelled as 'Britain's most heroic company car driver' by What Car? magazine. Executives at road safety charity Brake have criticised such a high mileage, saying it puts road users at risk.

A spokesman said: 'Drivers who cover more than 40,000 miles a year face much higher risks on the road than other drivers. Research by Brake shows that high-mileage drivers are more likely to put themselves and other road users at risk by driving while tired, using a mobile phone while driving and speeding.

Palmer's work schedule shows he is under considerable stress. He leaves home in the early hours of the morning and believes that winding down the window and turning up the radio can alleviate the effects of tiredness. Both these methods are proven not to keep drivers awake. The Brake spokesman added: 'Drivers also under pressure to arrive at meetings on time are prone to speeding and taking greater risks. What Car? magazine hasn't discovered Britain's most heroic driver, but Britain's 'most at risk' driver.'

A typical week's driving for Palmer includes leaving Llandudno at 2am on a Monday for a meeting in Portsmouth, leaving for home at 3pm and arriving at 10pm. Tuesday and Wednesday includes meetings in Bradford, York and Harrogate, seven hours driving on Thursday from Stockport to Gatwick and seven hours on Friday from Gatwick to Llandudno.

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: 'It is worrying that Palmer is driving for that amount of miles as it is now accepted that the most dangerous thing at work is driving. 'Drivers completing 25,000 miles a year are at the same risk as high-risk industries such as coal mining. Palmer's company should be looking at ways to reduce his mileage for safety such as looking at whether all his trips are necessary or video conferencing.'

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