Fleet News

Fleet safety moves are ‘driven by fear’

MAJOR changes in boardroom attitudes to fleet safety will only be driven through personal interests and fear of the consequences of not taking action, a senior panel of fleet experts has concluded.

Senior figures from the fleet industry reached their outcome during a debate on how to ensure the true cost of fleet was put on boardroom agendas.

The meeting, chaired by former Conservative MP and minister of state for transport Steven Norris, was attended by senior representatives from companies including Zurich, Royal Mail and Leasedrive.

The discussion was based on recent independent research which highlighted that more than 90% of senior decision-makers in the sector do not recognise how effective fleet management can contribute towards overall business performance improvement (BPI) objectives.

The working group established that while the commercial value of managing fleet as a corporate asset (rather than a mere running cost) remained unrealised, it is issues related to people, rather than profitability, which are seizing the attention of chief executives, especially when it affects their personal welfare.

So while managers might try to engage bosses on potential running cost savings that would require additional investment to see any return, they would be much more successful warning of the potential effect if they failed in their duty of care to drivers.

Industry experts suggest that when the new Corporate Manslaughter Law is introduced next year, there will be specific legislation which allows directors to be banned from office if successfully prosecuted.

Ian McKenzie, group business development director, FMG Support, said: ‘There is distinct apathy at board level to tapping into cost savings from effectively managing fleet performance. This is aggravated by the increasingly devolved role of fleet, a profound lack of appreciation for the complexity of its function and a subsequent lack of strategic direction.’

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