The plan for keeping accidents under control puts the fleet decision-maker at the heart of on-the-road safety, but demands that the issue is understood and given full support at board level.
According to the latest research, carried out by leading industry expert Professor Peter Cooke, of Nottingham Business School, 79% of organisations interviewed did not have a car fleet risk management strategy. Furthermore, a quarter of boards said they did not take reports of vehicle accidents at their level.
In the Kwik-Fit Fleet backed report, called ‘Profit Through Safety: A Boardroom Plan for Action’, Cooke warns of ‘disturbing gaps in board awareness of fleet safety’ in large organisations and adds that in small to medium sized businesses, ‘the implem-entation of fleet safety policies is too often lacking’.
The report warns: ‘Few boards of directors are aware of the status of the cars used on business within their organisations and do not have regular formal board level reports as to the ongoing status of business mobility.
‘At the same time responsibility for business vehicle non-performance is being placed at their feet. Such a situation cannot be allowed to continue.’
As a result, serious changes are needed at board level, but fleet managers are also responsible for raising the profile of fleet safety within the organisation. Managers need to ensure the board understands safety issues, takes an interest and takes action.
Cooke believes boards must have a nominated director responsible for business car policy and strategy, who monitors the situation, as currently more than one-third say no-one is responsible. However, more than 40% say it is the managing director.
In turn, fleet executives have a responsibility to offer regular updates on fleet and legal issues, highlighting critical ideas including business drivers in private cars and suggesting remedial actions.
They must also work closely with drivers, who also have a key role to play. Cooke said: ‘Crucially, the fleet executive is moved from being on the fringe of the action, as would happen if there was no board reporting, to the middle of the information structure.’
The full action plan covers 17 key points, with several others picked out in the report, for which 100 company heads were interviewed.
These include nominating a board member responsible for the fleet, the creation of an annual fleet report to the board, creating an internal marketing plan for safety, establishing procedures for driver documentation monitoring and adapting a recruitment policy to take into account driving skills.