Since the Freedom of Information Act was amended earlier this year, fleets have been able to request information held by a public authority. This includes traffic data on UK roads which could be used for journey planning and driver handbooks, but few fleets are taking advantage of the information.
Saul Jeavons, head of investigations and risk management at the Transport Research Laboratory, said: ‘Accident statistics are important for fleets when planning routes and fleet managers are able to apply to the police or local authorities for information on their routes.
‘They can change their current routes or use the information in driver training to show where the traffic hotspots are.’
Anything that doesn’t come under the Data Protection Act, such as the number and type of accidents on certain roads, is accessible.
Details on the Freedom of Information Act, including how to request information, can be found at www.dca.gov.uk. However, before contacting a local authority Jeavons advises fleets to know what information they require and then be able to interpret the data.
He said: ‘The key issue for fleets is to make sure that they are asking for all the right information and know how to use it.’
For example, Jeavons said, although headline figures may suggest a particular road is an accident blackspot, this might not be the case because of the sheer volume of traffic using it. Fleets would therefore not necessarily be advised to avoid the route.