Fleet News

DfT to guide fleets through risk maze

THE Government is finally to set out its duty-of-care expectations for fleets in a massive new work-related road safety information campaign.

Fleet News has discovered that the Department of Transport (DfT) has tasked the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) with collating a wide range of information into one fleet risk management package, to be sent to all fleet managers and chief executives in CD-Rom format.

It will spell out exactly what the DfT believes fleet managers should be doing, ending years of conflicting messages on how much responsibility they should bear for the actions of their drivers on the road.

However, the vast project is likely to take 18 months before being ready for publication. In development since the summer, TRL hopes to evaluate an early version of the CD-Rom with some 300 companies in spring 2006, with a full nationwide roll-out planned for spring 2007.

TRL project manager Lorna Pearce said: ‘It’s in the very early development stages at the moment.

‘The idea is to produce an easy-to-use information resource for managers on work-related road safety. It’s for anyone who drives as part of their work in company vehicles. It’s to help managers put the right policies and procedures in place.

‘There’s information out there that people can get but they are not necessarily sure about where to find it. We’ve pulled it together in one place and structured it in a way that’s easy for them.’

The CD-Rom will include subjects from driver error to fatigue and vehicle maintenance.

Pearce said: ‘It’s approaching the issues from a ‘why you would need a policy in the first place’ angle and how to manage risk. We have to try and condense the information down to the key messages and get it across in a way that people can navigate through.

‘That’s why we decided it was best to use a CD-Rom rather than a massive paper stack.’

A DfT spokesman said the CD-Rom would be targeted at managers of all levels.

He said: ‘We want to get it out to people making the fleet decisions.’

Chief executives are among those who will be targeted as part of the Government’s campaign to get fleet issues discussed in the boardroom.

Automotive expert Professor Peter Cooke has long urged senior managers and directors to get involved in fleet issues, particularly as duty-of-care legislation will hold them responsible if company oversight is identified as causing an accident.

He said: ‘You may find there are fewer incidents involving drivers if they know that fleet, including the number of accidents there are, is being discussed at right up at boardroom level.’

TRL is urging fleets that would like to take part in next year’s evaluation to get in touch.

  • More information from lead researcher Britta Lang at email: blang@trl.co.uk
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