Fleet News

Smaller fleets failing to heed Eyres’ lessons

Almost 90% of small fleets haven’t learned the lessons from the case of van driver Michael Eyres, who caused a fatal accident when he fell asleep at the wheel (Fleet News, July 6).

A survey of fleet brokers has found that 88% had no enquiries from customers about how to combat driver tiredness.

Funding provider Network, which carried out the research, said this reflects a worrying lack of interest in the subject.

Mr Eyres was paralysed in the accident, which occurred after he momentarily fell asleep at the wheel.

He subsequently sued his employer for asking him to drive without enough rest. The case had been expected to act as a warning to those that fail to take road safety seriously.

Christophe Desplace, Network’s director, said: “Among small fleets, especially those which only have one or two vehicles, duty-of-care issues such as driver tiredness can often be pushed to one side.

“This is a fundamental error that a lot of small companies make – duty of care is not an issue which goes away just because your fleet is small.

“The figures show that these firms aren’t making the most of their most valuable source of advice on these issues – the experienced brokers that provide their vehicles.

“Often, it can be as simple as having a well-communicated fleet safety policy, but unless companies are asking the right questions, the duty of care situation in small fleets won’t improve.”

The issue of small fleets and their difficulties in getting duty of care on the company radar are well-documented.

Often, because the fleet is being run by an employee who has many other responsibilities, it is difficult to get the issue discussed at the decision-making board level.

Earlier in August, cfc solutions estimated that about three-quarters of smaller fleets were failing “almost completely” when it comes to meeting duty-of-care requirements.

Cfc business leader Andy Leech said: “They are doing almost none of the basics needed to protect employees behind the wheel. This suggests that health and safety will continue to be something that is not properly considered at the highest level in many companies, perhaps unless their employees are injured or killed.”

  • Safety and the law are topics covered at our Fleet Van Conference. For tickets and information on sponsorship and exhibition space, contact Lorraine Goodwin by email on lorraine.goodwin@emap.com or telephone her on 01733 468859.

  • For more details, visit www.fleetvanconference.com.
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