By 2010, all of its vehicles will be fitted with devices that limit their speed to 70mph and bosses say they will not negotiate future supply deals with manufacturers who refuse to install limiters to their vehicles at production stage.
Company bosses say the move is proactive rather than reactive and as well as boosting safety levels will also lower its £14 million annual fuel bill.
Jon York, compliance manager at British Gas parent company Centrica, said: ‘We are demanding that our suppliers factory-fit these limiters for us and if they don’t then we won’t place an order with them. Ford is already doing it and Vauxhall is about to come on board.
‘We operate a mixed fleet on a four-year replacement cycle so all of our vans will have these limiters within the next four years.
‘We have a lot of young drivers and this is also a message to them saying we will not tolerate unsafe driving. We are totally serious about safety.’
York said the company will now spend the next few months monitoring the impact speed limiters have on safety levels and fuel economy.
The company has also moved to promote driver training by taking part in an experiment which studied the driving habits of company drivers.
It was organised by AA Business Services, which claims bad driving practices are the result of a ‘target-driven’ performance culture and that 56% of companies do not put their drivers through any form of training.
It teamed up with Northamptonshire Police to launch the ‘anti-crash course’ which put two drivers, including a British Gas technician, through an intensive one-day theory and practical training programme to ‘prove the hypothesis that bad driving habits can be cured’.
Organisers say the study showed a ‘significant’ improvement in both drivers’ safety performance.