Fleet News

Young at-work drivers under the spotlight

Fleets are being urged to help with a major new study into the risks facing young people who drive for work.

Young drivers and work-related driving are two of today's biggest road safety challenges.

Figures show that young motorists are more at risk of being killed or injured on the roads compared to experienced drivers, according to Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

This increases the risks of being involved in a crash in an occupation that is already high risk.

Government figures show that one in three deaths on the road involves someone who is at-work at the time.

The Young Drivers at Work project, funded by the Department for Transport, is seeking the views of managers who employ 17 to 24-year-old drivers and aims to provide the most comprehensive view to date of the issues employers and young drivers face.

It hopes the work will lead to a better understanding of the safety issues involved in these employees getting behind the wheel for work.

Over the next three months, companies will be encouraged to take part in the web-based research, before the results are compiled into a major report due to be published in March 2009 by RoSPA, which is running the project.

As part of the association’s project, employers are being asked to compare the driving styles of young with more experienced drivers, including how they assess risks, route planning, fuel-efficiency and awareness of the danger of fatigue.

They are also being questioned about any policies they have in place, such as a minimum age limit for drivers and how well the present system of learner driver training and testing prepares people to drive for work.

The views of young drivers themselves will be sought in focus groups taking place during the project.

"A range of factors put young drivers at particular risk, including their lack of experience, their weakness in identifying potential hazards and some attitudes, such as over-confidence,” said Duncan Vernon, RoSPA road safety manager.

"We also know that driving is one of the most dangerous things that any of us do during our working lives.

"Deadline pressures, unfamiliar routes and making frequent delivery stops can make driving for work very different to driving at other times and issues such as these are not covered during learner training.

"The project will help us to find effective ways to prevent accidents involving young motorists.

"The findings will enable us to develop new road safety resources and they will also inform the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) as it develops strategies for post-test training for young drivers at work and lifelong driver development in general."

RoSPA is working on the project in partnership with the DSA, Driving for Better Business, Buckinghamshire County Council and Lancashire County Council.

A questionnaire for employers can be accessed at www.rospa.com/roadsafety/youngdriversatwork/ until December.


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