Fleet News

Fleets and government urged to do more to help drivers avoid fatigue

TWENTY per cent of company car drivers spend more than five hours every week sitting in congestion according to a new survey from the RAC Foundation and www.companycardriver.co.uk.

Most drivers (23%) waste between one or two hours per week stuck in congestion. Almost one third of the drivers are making a New Year resolution to spend less time travelling for work in 2007.

Three in 10 company car drivers’ concern for the environment already makes them drive less. Forty per cent of company car drivers would welcome greater encouragement of home working and 25% would like to see more flexible working hours to help them avoid congestion.

However, more than 50% of companies are ‘not at all’ supportive of drivers taking up flexible working practices such as working from home, online working or using public transport. Out of all the environmental and time saving initiatives available to businesses, online working, followed by low car emission purchasing and home working were the most likely to be adopted by a company.

The survey also revealed that 10% of company car drivers admitted to have previously fallen asleep at the wheel. Falling asleep at the wheel is the cause of around 20% of accidents on long journeys on trunk roads and motorways and the greatest risk of falling asleep at the wheel is between midnight and 6am. The RAC Foundation urges companies responsible for fleets to ensure that their drivers do not put themselves at increased risk by driving long hours or skimping on important rest breaks.

The RAC Foundation urges fleet managers to:

1. Look at how and when business journeys take place. Are the journeys necessary or could they be made at a different time? Many company car drivers are losing five hours of precious time per week in congestion. What initiatives could be adopted to reduce the stress and improve the work-life balance?
2. Consider the financial and environmental consequences of journeys made.
3. Re-address driving related health and safety issues, especially driver tiredness.

The government is also being urged to provide more help and advice for fleets on better alternatives for travel and incentives for business use and to carry out the commitment for continued improvements to the strategic road infrastructure.

Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘Too much time is wasted sitting in traffic jams. Companies and drivers need to get smarter to avoid congestion. Highway authorities need to do more to clear the bottlenecks. Perhaps due to extra hours stuck in congestion an astonishing ten per cent of drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel. They are lucky they have lived to tell their tales.’

Jeremy Bennett, editor of Fleet News Online sister site www.companycardriver.co.uk, said: ‘The survey results suggest that too many company car drivers are under too much pressure and perhaps some could avoid congestion by making more use of the super highway rather than sitting in jams on the real highway.’

  • The compaycardriver.co.uk survey was carried out between November and December 2006. There were 1,279 responses.

    Key findings

  • 27% of company car drivers would like to drive less for work. Only 8% would like to drive more.
  • Responses showed that overall companies are not encouraging their employees to make more sustainable business travel choices.
  • People are least encouraged by their bosses to travel to work by public transport, with 80% saying that they are ‘not at all’ encouraged. 4 in 5 bosses do not encourage people to use public transport to work.
  • 78% are ‘not at all’ encouraged to use a car from the car pool.
  • 56% are ‘not at all’ encouraged by employers to use public transport for meetings.
  • Even though not very common, employers are most likely to encourage employees to conduct meetings on line.
  • Choosing a car with low emissions was the second issue that was likely to be most encouraged by employers.
  • Working from home was the third most likely issue to be encouraged by employers.
  • 39% of respondents felt that working from home was the main initiative, which should be encouraged more.
  • This was followed by working flexible hours to avoid congestion (24%) and choosing a car with low emissions (19%) as being the issues that employees wished employers encouraged to a greater extent.
  • Only 24% of respondents had a designated parking space at work
  • Employees pay on average £3.70 for their parking space per week. Only 15% of employees paid for their car parking space.
  • 3 in 10 company car driver’s concern about the environment makes them drive less.
  • The highest number of company car drivers are stuck between 1 and 2 hours in congestion.
  • 1 in 5 company car drivers spend more than 5 hours in congestion per week.
  • 10% of company car drivers have said that they have previously fallen asleep at the wheel.
  • 1% of company car drivers said that they have driven under the influence of illegal drugs. The majority of those who agreed with this statement said that it is something that they did when they were young.
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