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.’