Fleet News

Failing to face fleet factsspells trouble at the top

HUNDREDS of senior directors are still failing to take company fleets seriously and do not consider them a boardroom issue, new research unveiled later this month will claim.

This is despite predictions that at least one major company could be targeted by the authorities within the next 12 months for failing in its duty of care to drivers.

The research shows that little has changed since September when a study showed up to 17% of companies do not consider company car policy to be a board issue (Fleet NewsNet, September 30, 2004).

The latest findings on company car strategy reviews will be delivered at a seminar hosted by leasing company Alphabet and industry expert Professor Peter Cooke later this month.

Cooke, of the Centre for Automotive Industries Management at Nottingham Business School, said: ‘New research suggests the situation has not improved in the last six months, despite the high visibility being given to duty of care and the responsibilities of the organisation regarding the use of cars on business.’

A consultation into a new Corporate Manslaughter Bill ends in June and it could be law within months. Police have also been instructed to check whether drivers involved in accidents were on business at the time.

The Manslaughter Bill, if it becomes law, will apply when someone has been killed because the senior management of a corporation has grossly failed to take reasonable care for the safety of employees or others.

Last week, Cooke unveiled the results of an investigation into duty of care and fleets.

He spoke at a seminar hosted by ATS Euromaster and Michelin and told delegates it was important they deliver presentations about their fleet to directors at board-level meetings.

Cooke told the seminar: ‘I’m waiting for the Health and Safety Executive to throw the book at a major company and I expect that to happen within the next year or so.’

Delegates were also told the traditional role of the fleet manager was changing and would continue to do so in the future.

Cooke said: ‘The role is going to be more of a personal business mobility executive. ‘Their responsibility will be to identify the most cost and time-efficient way of moving employees across the country.’

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