Fleet managers have been advised to hold group discussions with their drivers to encourage safe driving.
Dr Julie Gandolfi, a psychologist at Driving Research, said that having drivers discuss road risk and personal driving styles with their peers is more effective than incentive schemes and safety campaigns.
“Group discussions have been found to be really effective in reducing crashes,” she said.
“Studies have produced great results for group discussions and driver training, though incentives and safety campaigns are less effective.”
Speaking at a Brake forum on driver psychology, Dr Gandolfi said that recent studies produced strong evidence that fleet operators who openly discuss their behaviour with colleagues go on to improve their driving.
After debating norms and unacceptable behaviour, drivers were seen to take on the opinions of their peers, making conscious decisions to reduce their own risk and drive more safety.
“There is a large amount of quite personal discussion amongst drivers.
"They establish driving norms, which then strengthens the individual’s intention to behave in a safe way behind the wheel,” Dr Gandolfi said.
Defending the use of self assessment profiles, she said that as long as they were actively followed up by fleet managers then participants would give an accurate outline of their own skills.
“We are getting true reports of a driver’s risk level when they asses themselves,” she said.
“When drivers are made accountable for their answers afterwards, then their answers tend to be more accurate.
"Self assessment can improve a driver’s skill.”
Dr Gandolfi said that online risk assessments were a useful tool for the fleet sector but that driver training should be continually topped up with discussion groups and on-road training for high risk drivers.
“Online profiles are a good start but the training process should be continued in other ways,” she said.