Not enough is being done by businesses to protect themselves from the risks associated with driver safety, new research from Fleet21 suggests.
The Fleet21 Business Driver Report, which looks at the current trends and attitudes of business drivers in over 500 UK businesses, suggests that only 30% regularly monitor their risk position relating to driver safety and 64% of UK businesses do not allocate a fixed budget for driver safety.
Driver safety relates to both company car and grey fleet drivers – a term given to drivers that use their own cars for work purposes – and a failure to meet these obligations can be considered as a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act for which the penalties are severe, says Fleet21.
It suggests that just 28% perform basic checks on drivers during induction and only 11% said they actively identify high-risk drivers and take the appropriate action, while 11% do not have formal policies in place relating to driver safety.
When asked the reasons for implementing driving safety initiatives, respondents say ensuring a safe working environment is the main reason, followed by minimising risk for the organisation, as well as compliance with current legislations. Reducing costs ranked fourth and achieving best practice fifth.
The research reveals only 54% of businesses have completed full written assessments of the risks involved in asking employees to drive for business purposes, 36% said they did not have a procedure in place and worryingly 11% weren’t able to say.
Meanwhile, 80% of those questioned said they have employer policy manuals in place, to outline company policies and employee responsibilities with regards to driving on business, however only 52% have policy handbooks for employees.
Simon Turner, managing director, Fleet21 said: “These findings identify a real absence of understanding by UK businesses of their legal obligations and exposure to risk, which is concerning both for the safety of staff and the financial safety of the business.
”The easiest way for businesses to manage these obligations, and in turn minimise this risk, is to have a suitable driver policy in place and a driver handbook available to all employees. This handbook should clearly state their personal responsibilities and why these are important, both for them, and you as their employer.”
Just 13% of employers allocate a fixed budget for driver safety and compliance, 64% do not and 23% don’t know.
Looking ahead, whilst 64% of respondents say the on-going economic climate has not impacted their approach to driver safety, 17% say they are trying to maintain the same approach but with less budget.
Turner concluded: “While we appreciate budgets are tight for businesses of all sizes, it is startling to see the vast majority failing to set aside adequate provisions to address driver safety and compliance.
“It is clear from these findings that there is an obvious need to educate business owners about the obligations they have to their staff. A failure to address these now could land many companies in very serious situations further down the line.”