A scathing assessment of Britain’s public sector fleets has warned that their attitude to driver safety is ‘far from adequate’ and a radical rethink of their approach to risk management is needed.
The damning assessment is in a letter from the Association of Industry Road Safety Officers (AIRSO), which will be sent to the chief executives of every local authority in the coming months.
“The focus of attention in the way in which councils look at managing the risk of staff using the road is far from adequate and little or no strategic practices and policies exist.
"Even if they do they have not been communicated to the staff, warned AIRSO secretary Graham Feest, who has already begun the campaign by targeting the chief executives of local authorities in Wales.
“Where policy exists it is generally related to specific vehicle activity and fails to take into account individuals making journeys, particularly in their own cars, which is probably a greater proportion of the mileage and therefore exposure.”
Although road safety activity is likely to be a focus of a number of different departments within local authorities, Mr Feest said that policy has to be ‘driven from the centre’ to ensure success.
“This is not AIRSO or any of its individuals seeking to tender for work but an honest offer to assist with reducing casualties on the road and protecting the organisation from a charge of gross management failings,” said Mr Feest.
“AIRSO is keen to help all local authorities with regard to getting their practices and policies in place so that they are in some kind of a defendable position in the event of a tragic incident whilst a member of staff is undertaking a work related journey.”
And while the campaign is focused on local authority fleets, Mr Feest said that other public sector fleets also had to change their attitude to risk.
“Many of the emergency services are no better.
"They do a great deal so far as those driving front line vehicles are concerned but nothing at all for support staff.”