Fleet News

Boards are failing to back fleet managers

Apathy at board level is a major contributor to fleet managers failing to meet their duty-of-care obligations, according to a fleet management firm.

Senior executives are not tackling issues such as mobile phone use, driver licence checking and private car owners who cover high business mileage.

Tony Hulatt, managing director of fleet management firm CLM, said: “It no longer surprises me how regularly I hear the degree to which companies are exposed on issues such as licence checking, high business mileage undertaken in private cars, and the whole subject of the car as an extension of the office in respect of health and safety.

“None of us has to drive very far to observe drivers on the move, who are clearly company vehicle users, continuing to make mobile phone calls with handsets clamped to their ears. This is just one example of how such issues have yet to be fully embraced by employers.”

Andy Leech, business leader at software firm cfc solutions, said many fleet managers were frustrated by a lack of duty-of-care action from senior management.

“The typical comment reported to us from large fleet managers is that perhaps once a month board directors ask whether there have been any legal actions or deaths – and that their interest ends there,” he said.

“Any impetus that exists for creating a genuine safety culture is very limited or non-existent at board level. They see it almost entirely as an exercise in meeting the most basic legal requirements.

“These large company fleet managers want to do more than follow the letter of the law. They want to follow the spirit and make an ongoing commitment to impr-oving the safety performance of their fleet but they are not being given the support they need.”

The news is worse among small fleets.

“We estimate that perhaps three-quarters of smaller fleets are failing almost completely when it comes to meeting duty-of- care requirements,” Mr 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.”

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