Irish fleet managers are to be targeted in a new campaign by the country’s Road Safety Authority (RSA) after it emerged that some of country’s largest companies are failing to carry out even the most basic checks on their drivers.
Sixty per cent of the companies surveyed in a new report admitted that they did not even recognise driving for work as a risk.
In addition, more than half said they did not assess new drivers and 16% admitted that they do not even bother to check drivers have a valid licence.
Now the Irish RSA said it will target fleet managers of all Irish companies, as well as employers in a campaign aimed at improving the safety of Irish business drivers.
While there are no statistics to indicate Irish company drivers are any more dangerous than their UK counterparts, the limited statistics that are available suggest that the risk facing business drivers there is similar to here.
There are almost 2.3 million vehicles on the Republic’s roads, and estimates put the number of company vehicles at more than 700,000.
The RSA’s move to target fleet managers follows the publication of a report by Dublin-based DriverFocus, which found that while the Irish law is clear that businesses must manage road risk, many are failing to do so.
“These are some of the biggest companies in Ireland and many are multinationals,” explained Ron McNamara, managing director of DriverFocus. “Yet what we are seeing from this survey is a lack of perceived risk when it comes to their drivers.”
While there is no imminent introduction of a Corporate Manslaughter Act to focus the minds of Irish fleet managers, the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 still states that every employer in Ireland must identify the hazards under his or her control and assess the risks presented by those hazards.
Despite this, the report found that 42% of the companies surveyed did not even include driving for work clauses in their health and safety management policies.
And almost one-third said they never provide driver training to employees.