Driver training is fast becoming an essential fleet management tool, with company car and van drivers its biggest advocate, a survey suggests.
Research from ALD Automotive’s Pulse Survey, exclusively seen by Fleet News, implies a shift in attitude to driver training.
More than half (58%) of the 850 fleet drivers it surveyed had received formal driver training from their employer, and nine out of 10 said they would recommend it to colleagues and other companies.
Mel Dawson, managing director of ALD Automotive, said: “In the last year, we have seen attitudes to driver training shift as more fleet managers see the benefits training can bring to their businesses. These range from reducing fuel consumption and accidents to improving staff retention.
“Data from our Pulse Survey shows that more than half of company car drivers have now had some form of training, signalling a move from it being seen as a ‘nice to have’ to an essential fleet management tool.
“What’s more, there is significant support and enthusiasm for training from the drivers themselves, with the overwhelming majority saying they would recommend it to both colleagues and other companies.”
ALD’s research also revealed that the 42% company car and van drivers who hadn’t received driver training were keen to improve their on-the-road skills.
Almost one-fifth (19%) wanted seasonal driving tips so they could cope with driving in different conditions, 18% wanted to drive more economically and 11% were keen to improve their road risk understanding. More than half (52%) wanted to improve their driving skills in all three areas.
Dawson said: “For drivers who haven’t benefited from training, there’s a real appetite to improve skills across the board, but particularly when it comes to dealing with the difficult conditions the British roads can throw at us.
“Drivers are also keen to get guidance on driving more economically to conserve fuel, which will be of particular interest to fleet managers and financial directors alike.”
The ALD survey also showed that more than a third (38%) of drivers estimated they could increase their fuel economy by 5-10mpg, if incentivised to do so.
“That means that if a fleet of 100 diesel vehicles driving 15,000 miles per year and currently capable of 60mpg were operating at 50mpg, the fuel for the fleet at current prices would be costing the business £30,000 more than it should over a typical year,” said Dawson.
The findings come in the wake of a report that suggested a lack of education and driver training was leaving fleets at risk.
Researchers on behalf of Insurer Allianz Commercial and legal firm DAC Beachcroft spoke to 400 fleet managers and company car drivers and discovered only 13% educated employees about safer driving. Less than one in five (16%) said they were aware of the business implications if an employee was involved in an accident.
Lili Oliver, head of motor prosecutions at DAC Beachcroft, said: “Fleet managers must properly educate drivers and ensure they have procedures in place to protect not only those individuals, but also members of the public and
other road users.”
Meanwhile, Dawson told Fleet News that more of ALD’s customers were using driver training in conjunction with telematics.
He added: “While the anecdotal information on the benefits of training is useful, telematics gives fleet managers access to insightful data about their fleet and how training is making genuine improvement to performance.”