Fleet operators considering employing foreign drivers are being advised to ensure these drivers comply with all the relevant regulations before allowing them to begin work here.
Fleet managers are also being advised to ensure new foreign employees are fully conversant with Britain’s driving laws after figures reveal a disproportionate rise in the number of Eastern European drivers being referred by the courts to attend driver education courses following drink driving convictions.
Figures from the TTC Group - the country’s largest provider of the Department for Transport’s drink drive rehabilitation scheme - show that more than 10% of the 1,100 drivers referred by the courts to courses run by TTC in a June were from Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia.
Of those, 28 had given breath samples more than two-and-a-half times over the limit.
What employers need to do:
Get drivers to acquire a UK licence and register their vehicles for use in the UK straight away, and manage them as they would all other staff
Be aware of cultural differences which might make driver less likely to obey company procedure, or obey particular laws (and also remember that some cultural differences might make them more likely to comply too) and design a communications package accordingly
Remember the need to communicate effectively with ALL employees on health and safety matters – that doesn’t mean just dishing out a driver’s handbook that nobody reads.
Foreign drivers may need information in their mother tongue, such as a translation of the highway code or posters on driving safety, but equal attention will need to be given to those who have limited literacy in English whatever their origin
If you don’t have a communications plan for getting road safety messages to your drivers, you are unlikely to be fostering the kind of corporate culture that will lead to excellent safety performance.