Fleet News

Safer fleets must 'spread the word'

A HIGH-profile call for fleets to support neighbouring companies when it comes to fleet safety has followed warnings that up to half of fleets don't assess employees at all before they drive off in company vehicles.

Industry experts have asked companies that have successful schemes in place for key areas such as risk management, checking licences, driver assessment and training to let other companies in the area know about their success and help spread their best practice.

Latest research published last week reveals that almost half of all businesses are failing to carry out any assessment of their employees before letting them drive on business.

Companies in the south of the country are less aware of work-related driver safety than those in the north or Midlands.

Only four out of 10 (44%) businesses in the south said they assessed their employees before letting them drive, as opposed to nearly two-thirds (59%) of businesses in the Midlands and more than half (55%) of businesses in the north, according to Zurich Risk Services.

Smaller companies were found to be the least likely to risk assess their staff. Zurich says more than half (54%) of respondents from small firms said they did nothing, compared to less than a third (32%) of companies employing more than 100 people.

Andy Price, senior risk consultant for motor fleet for Zurich Risk Services, said: 'We are urging businesses to work with their insurers and brokers to improve driver safety by assessing the risks their drivers face and acting on the results if they are to reduce the likelihood of road traffic collisions.

'They should also talk to each other. Some of the safest companies have already said they are prepared to share their expertise to help improve safety for everyone.

'Safe fleets say they would like other companies to improve standards because it might be their drivers that get hit.'

Zurich said its research also revealed that more than half (51%) of the businesses surveyed were unaware of the Driving at Work guidance on managing work-related road safety issued by the Health and Safety Executive and Department for Transport in September last year.

Awareness levels varied considerably according to the size and age of the business. The research revealed that the smaller and younger the business, the more likely it was not to be aware of the guidance.

Zurich said companies can increase staff safety and reduce the number of claims they make by adopting a safety driving-at-work culture.

Its findings come just weeks after the UK fleet industry was accused of apathy and lack of committment to training.

Peter Moxon, who is one of the founders of fleet training in the UK, said thousands of fleet managers were failing to undergo training because they do not understand their role and how it might change in the future (Fleet NewsNet, April 22, 2004).

In June last year, Fleet News launched its own Get Trained campaign, calling on employers to help support fleet decision-makers by giving them the training needed to do their jobs.

More than 600 fleets were interviewed for the Zurich survey, covering an estimated 65,000 employees.

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