Fleet managers have reacted angrily to a new survey, which implies that they are failing in their duty of care responsibilities to their drivers.
According to the survey, which was carried out by online company, One Poll, 69% of fleet managers apparently know nothing about the new Corporate Manslaughter Act, which came into force on April 6.
The survey’s results have angered ACFO, which represents fleet operators, whose chairman Julie Jenner said such “scaremongering” should not go unchallenged.
“It's time to stop this continuous battering of the fleet operator, the majority of whom are working hard to ensure they operate to highest safety standards,” she said.
The Corporate Manslaughter Act is one of the most significant pieces of legislation to affect fleets in recent years.
It has been well publicised in Fleet News as well as Government bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive.
The survey, which was released by Autoglass, also stated that 35% of fleet managers did not know whether their business had a policy for company car drivers.
However, the validity of the answers have been brought into doubt after it was discovered that One Poll could not confirm whether those who took part were really fleet managers.
In fact, it could not confirm whether participants in the anonymous survey, which offered a cash prize to anyone who took part, were even in employment.
One Poll also confirmed it did not approach ACFO to get its members’ input.
Nor did it carry out any checks on those who took part in the survey.
“I am quite frankly shocked by some of the statistics quoted and would be very interested to find out who the participants in the survey were,” said Ms Jenner.
“If any ACFO members were questioned, I think the results would be completely different.”
She said the association’s members had been sharing best practice in regard to health and safety and duty of care for many years and were well prepared for the new Act.
Ms Jenner’s comments are borne out by a GE Capital Solutions survey carried out earlier this year, which found that when asked what factors were likely to impact on their policy decisions over the next 12 months, 90% of fleet managers cited the Corporate Manslaughter Act.
Bosch also recently carried out a survey into fleet risk management.
It enlisted the cooperation of ACFO members to ensure - like GE - that the respondents were qualified to answer.
This was not the case with One Poll.
The company’s web and research manager, Kevin Smith, said: “We do not carry out any checks…anyone can join our site.”
The ease by which non fleet managers could have taken part in its survey was highlighted by Fleet News after it registered within seconds on the One Poll site and then immediately participated in a survey that was meant to be answered only by crèche employees.
Mr Smith confirmed that it was possible that none of the participants in the survey were fleet managers.
“As with any research we have to take their word for it,” he said, adding that the company often got “outrageous results” to its surveys.
Following the Fleet News investigation, the One Poll site has been modified.
Despite this, Mr Smith confirmed that the company will still not be carrying out checks to ensure those who take part in its surveys are who they say they are.
“It is impossible for us to carry out checks,” he said.
Autoglass is standing over the survey.
David Meliveo, head of marketing, said: “We commissioned the research in good faith believing that this was an important issue for fleet managers.
"Of course, there is an element of trust in who responds to online polls, but we stand by the results of the survey and believe that the fleet industry should take the findings seriously.”