Fleet News

Insight: Accident history should be an open book

Fleets are being urged to adopt an open book approach to accidents amid concerns companies may be driving blind on a substantial area of risk.

Companies work hard to ensure they know about accidents in company vehicles, but risk management experts are becoming increasingly vocal about drivers revealing their accident record on private journeys in their own vehicles.

It is a sensitive issue, as drivers may feel they have no obligation to reveal private information, but without this data companies are exposed to invisible risks that they can’t manage.

Fleet operators discussed the issue during a recent Fleet News roundtable, where the lack of clear guidance caused concerns.
However, risk management experts say that to truly understand the root causes of incidents, fleets need to know everything about a driver’s accident history.

Matthew Warden, deputy managing director at the motor division of Towergate Insurance, said: “An employer has a duty of care to ensure the safety of employees and many employers now undertake a risk assessment on the driving risk.

“Part of that risk assessment is looking at any previous accidents the employee has had. If they were to exclude those that occurred while on private use, you could argue you are not collecting all the available information on which to do the assessment.

The skills required to drive a vehicle do not differ between a business and a private journey so the information is relevant.

“In order for the employer to carry out their duty of care, the employee should be happy to share information of their overall driving record to do the risk assessment.

This assessment is also for the benefit of the employee, as they can often be offered driver training and courses to help reduce the risk of another accident occurring in either a business or a private environment.”

A precedent has already been set with licence checks, industry analysts point out, as any information on the points incurred by a driver cover both business and private journeys, so obtaining a complete accident profile is only a small additional step.

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