Fleet News

Legal risk over online testing

Fleet software specialist cfc solutions has launched a blistering attack aimed at online driver assessments, labelling them “problematic and potentially undermining a legal defence”.

The firm says many fleets have bought online risk and driver assessments as off-the-shelf products, and that the “one size fits all” approach means they can be worse-than-useless for the majority of organisations.

Business leader Andy Leech said: “Online driver assessments appear to fit easily into risk management policies because they offer an easy way of deciding whether drivers are high or low risk. However, few fleets have actually taken a really good look at what these assessments do – and what they don’t.”

The biggest failing, said Mr Leech, was that they were invariably non-specific to the culture of the company, the conditions in which it operated and of the actual vehicles used and driving undertaken by employees.

As a result, the procedures and measures they prompted were often unsound in legal terms and drivers ranked as a low risk were sometimes almost ignored. He added it was too easy to “fool” online assessments because they are often poorly-constructed.

Mr Leech said: “Unless the assessment has a psychometric content such as RoSPA’s, they almost always lack detail. Some of these assessments are very much sold on their ability to split drivers easily into low and high-risk groups. But the real world is more complicated than that.”

The attack coincides with a call from Rob Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) for psychometric testing in the driving test.

Driver safety firm Peak Performance already uses such testing in its risk assessments.

Managing director James Sutherland said: ‘A driving-based psychometric assessment can really get inside the mind of the driver and identify driving behaviours most likely to place him or her at risk. Specific driver coaching, be it in workshops or behind the wheel, can help modify or correct those attitudes and behaviours.”

The concerns have come about as part of cfc’s work on risk management for its SafetyNet product, an online risk management tool.

The product incorporates Realtime Risk Assessment, software developed by consultancy Essential Risk and fleet risk legal expert David Faithful of law firm Lyons Davidson.

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