Driver management is becoming a fundamental part of managing a fleet, but operators are struggling to manage the human element, according to E-Training World sales and marketing director Jonathan Mosley.
He believes that fleet managers understand how to manage the vehicle but not the driver which is costing companies money.
“For example, a fleet chooses the vehicle based on wholelife cost and the budget is based on that figure,” Mosley told an E-Training World workshop.
“But when the vehicle is on the road is it achieving that wholelife cost? Often not. That’s due to driver behaviours – they have the biggest influence on wholelife costs.”
While driver management is an important factor in bringing down wholelife costs, it is also crucial for safety and risk management.
According to Graham Feest, secretary of the Association of Industrial Road Safety Officers, responsibility for an at-work road death is likely to lie with both fleet manager and company director. But, he added: “It’s yet to be tested so we don’t know for sure.”
Feest warns that their records will be checked and reminds companies that they have a duty to ensure their people are fit to drive. “Documentation is key to your salvation,” he said.
However, too many companies are failing to take appropriate action, at best treating staff management as a tick box training solution. Many smaller organisations are not even aware of their legal obligations.
Graham Hurdle, managing director of E-Training World, lays the blame at the door of leasing and fleet management companies. He accuses them of scare tactics over the Corporate Manslaughter Act with their claims of massive fines and imprisonment unless they took a “belt and braces” approach to fleet management.
“It’s rubbish, but it’s left fleet managers in a state of confusion over what to do – how much or how little,” he said. “So they hesitate or do nothing.”
Hurdle believes a culture change is required. Driver management does not have buy in at board level because it is seen as a cost.
However, there are many benefits, not least cost savings from reducing accidents. Companies can also lower their insurance premiums and use their risk management policy as a sales tool when tendering for business.
Picture: Graham Hurdle
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