Fleet News

Fleets finally take action over safety

FLEETS are taking safety seriously following a series of high-profile campaigns designed to put health and safety at the top of their agenda.

Although in the past fleet operators have said safety was an important factor in the way they operated, there has been little evidence that the majority of companies are taking effective action to meet their duty of care to at-work drivers.

Concerns ranged from a lack of driving licence checks to inadequate advice on issues ranging from mobile phone use while driving to speeding.

But according to an exclusive Fleet NewsNet survey, carried out in association with Peugeot, there is clear evidence that many companies are taking clear action to deal with health and safety issues that relate to health and safety.

The survey, which covered more than 400 fleet operators, found that nearly half had carried out a fleet risk assessment. Furthermore, 86% had a policy on mobile phones. Fleet risk assessments are designed to take a holistic view of a fleet’s safety policy and take into account its role in a company’s whole health and safety policy.

It is also designed to identify areas for improvement that are not focused on driver training, such as processes and responsibilities among managers.

Targeting driver training only at drivers who will benefit, rather than opting for a blanket policy, is widely recommended by health and safety experts as both a cost-efficient and sensible approach.

And it was backed up in the survey, with just 38% of fleets saying they had provided driver training. However, this could also mean that fleets have yet to implement on-road training identified in any risk assessments they have carried out.

The survey also identified that health and safety was viewed as by far the biggest issue, rated as much more important than areas such as company car tax and the environment.

It came as debate continued to rage over a recent investigation into speeding, which claimed that fleet drivers were at the centre of an ‘epidemic’ of law-breaking that was putting lives at risk every day (Fleet NewsNet, February 10).

The Peugeot report also revealed fleets were turning on to technology, with many agreeing that satellite navigation was a useful business tool, although on average the market was undecided.

It also revealed that contract hire accounted for the majority of fleets’ vehicle funding needs, with 43% saying they used the method while 32% opted for outright purchase.

The analysis adds to an increasingly detailed picture of the future of the fleet industry, with a recent report claiming that outsourcing, the gradual replacement of some car fleets with vans and a surge in the market share of diesel models would shape the fleet market over the next four years (Fleet NewsNet, January 27).

The majority of fleets asked in the Peugeot survey agreed that demand for diesel would continue to grow in the industry.

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