Fleet News

Directors slated over road safety

COMPANY directors are proving the weak link in improving safety for employees on the road because of 'serious gaps' in their knowledge of work-related road safety.

An overwhelming majority of businesses do not have a risk management strategy in place, while many executives are unaware of the fleet safety 'bible', Driving at Work, which the Health and Safety Executive published to help fleets tackle at-work road safety.

According to latest research, 79% of businesses do not have a risk management strategy in place or even at the planning stage, while 38% of fleet executives are not aware of the Driving at Work document.

Other findings reveal an 'alarming lack of knowledge, awareness and action in relation to improving occupational road safety'.

The survey is part of a new report written by Professor Peter Cooke, of the Centre for Automotive Industries Management at Nottingham Business School, recently listed as one of the 50 most influential people in the fleet industry.

The report, sponsored by Kwik-Fit Fleet and called Profit through Safety, has been compiled as the range of legislation impacting on the operation of vehicles – both company and privately owned – used for business journeys continues to increase.

Cooke said: 'Directors appear to have a paucity of knowledge of fleet operations and a delegation of the responsibility to the fleet executive, or another middle manager. Given the new ethos of care and the business car, such an attitude may need to change quickly.'

He added: 'While it has been assumed that the majority of larger fleet organisations have taken active steps to develop and implement fleet safety policies, research presented in this report shows some disturbing gaps in board awareness of fleet safety. In the case of medium and smaller organisations, the implementation of fleet safety policies is too often lacking.'

The findings will add weight to a long-running call for fleet management to become a boardroom issue.

In 1998, global industry expert Garel Rhys suggested fleet management was a responsibility for director level employees, because of the value of the vehicles involved and the risks it brought.

Giving his view, Kwik-Fit Fleet sales director Mike Wise said: 'It is alarming that 79% of companies have not compiled a car fleet risk management strategy. Directors must review their relationship with vehicles used on business by their organisations and ensure there is a robust strategy and reporting protocols in place.

'Our findings show that directors are not generally well informed or involved in the business car fleet or provision of personal business mobility by individuals using their own cars.'

  • For details of how to obtain a copy of Profit through Safety when it is produced later in the summer, telephone Kwik-Fit Fleet on 01727 840206 or e-mail: info@kwik-fitfleet.com

    Survey findings

  • 17% of respondents do not consider business cars to be a board issue and a further 21% said directors never discussed issues associated with business cars
  • 31% of companies said no director has nominated company car fleet responsibility, while 40% said it was the managing director or deputy managing director
  • 25% of respondents have no board reporting of accidents involving business-related vehicles, while 53% said they were reported on an ad-hoc basis
  • 47% of survey respondents said they had reduced fleet operating costs through a more safety-conscious attitude to fleet operations
  • Two-thirds of fleets say driver training is not provided, while 16% said it was provided on a 'selected at risk basis'
  • Despite the above finding, 38% of fleet executives said they believed driver training was the single biggest contributor to improving vehicle safety followed by a company safety code

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