Almost one-in-four employers are failing to monitor employees who drive for work, according to new research published today.
The research, commissioned by workforce management company BigChange and the road safety charity Brake, has been published to coincide with the launch of Leaders for Life, a new campaign to help business leaders promote safer driving at work.
It shows that older bosses are most guilty of being disinterested in their employees’ driving. More than half of employers (54%) aged over 55 with responsibility for company drivers take no action to monitor or manage their behaviour, despite nine in ten (87%) saying that road safety is an important concern.
By contrast, just 6% of business leaders aged 18 to 34 fail to monitor their drivers. Young bosses employing company drivers are nine times more likely than their older counterparts to take steps such as implementing vehicle tracking, license checks and random drug and alcohol testing.
The survey also revealed that business leaders are more concerned about cyber security than road safety. While 57% of leaders surveyed said that road safety was ‘very important’ to the operation and reputation of their organisations, the figure increased to 63% when asked about cyber security matters.
The research revealed that the ‘grey fleet’, employees who drive their own cars on company business, represents a significant area of vulnerability.
One in five (19%) businesses make no checks in relation to grey fleet drivers, compared to 14% of businesses for professional drivers and company car users.
Martin Port, CEO of BigChange, said: “More than 500 people are killed every year in the UK in crashes involving someone driving for work, yet businesses believe cyber security to be more important than road safety and are more likely to spend time and money reducing the risk of being hacked than they are to cut the chances of their people killing someone in the course of their work.
“We are working with Brake to lead a big change in business road safety, providing free vehicle tracking to help business leaders drive more safely themselves and showing them steps we can all take at work to save lives on our roads.”
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, continued: “People have gone to jail for failing to manage their company drivers properly, yet despite this an alarming number of organisations take no steps whatsoever to monitor their activities.
“Road safety must be a priority for all employers with at work drivers, whether you’re an organisation managing a large HGV fleet or an SME with employees driving their own car for work.”
The most recent figures from the Department for Transport show that 1,792 people were killed on Britain’s roads in 2016, the highest annual total since 2011, and nearly a third of these involve someone driving for work. In total, there were more than 44,000 casualties involving someone driving for work in 2016.
Leaders for Life is a new campaign, created by BigChange and backed by Brake, to raise awareness of the contribution business leaders play as role models for road safety and reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads.
BigChange is providing its driving analysis technology free of charge to business leaders so that aspects such as speed, braking, acceleration and cornering can be evaluated. It will provide confidential feedback on leaders’ driving habits and donate £1,000 each month to Brake on behalf of the best and most improved drivers.
It aims to recruit more than 1,000 business leaders to support its campaign by acting as role models for road safety by the end of the year.
Des Evans, formerly managing director of MAN Truck & Bus UK, Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, and the British racing driver Nic Hamilton are among the leaders who have already agreed to take part in the campaign.
Business leaders wishing to be ambassadors for safer driving can register to support the Leaders for Life campaign by clicking here.