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“For every good idea, there’s always an HR issue that puts a spanner in the works” - Fleet200 debate on minimising driver fatigue

Fleet200 March 2018 discussion

Members of the Fleet200 Executive Club revealed a multitude of approaches to ensuring employees are fit to drive and how telematics can contribute to monitoring behaviour.

Key discussion points:

  • Fleets are looking to reduce travel by encouraging car share and video conferencing – but it is encouraged rather than enforced.
  • Could fleets copy the example of some leasing companies by introducing a ‘no travel Friday’? It requires a change of culture (from the business as well as staff) to adopt home working options. However, issues include companies requiring to carry out DSE workplace assessments and checks. This can put up barriers. “For every good idea, there’s always an HR issue that puts a spanner in the works,” said one fleet.
  • There is growing recognition/acceptance that the working day starts at home – it’s ‘non-paid work time’ that needs to be part of your travel policy. Sometimes it starts even before you leave the house by checking emails on mobile phones.
  • Fleet policies include: you must stay overnight if your journey is more than three hours. Or car share so you can share the driving.
  • Travel policy: One fleet doesn’t fit snow tyres because it encourages people to drive in bad weather and they do not want that. Plus “it’s not just your driving, it’s other people”.
  • Fleets should give their drivers a pack which contains a copy of the Highway Code, company car handbook, health and safety handbook, advice sheet on what to do in the event of an accident and key contact numbers.
  • One fleet has an app which is uses to get key messages to drivers.
  • Drivers do not like to be seen as drivers – it’s not in their job description. So maybe companies should include driver in the job description eg. you are a plumber and a driver.
  • One fleet does online driver risk profiling with Highway Code questions once a year.
  • Travel policies should be approached from the position that it is all about safety and well-being.
  • Fleets have to understand what’s going on in drivers’ personal lives, e.g. lack of sleep, prescription drugs, young children – it can all affect their working lives.
  • You have to ensure that when staff come to work they are fit and ready to drive.

Telematics and cameras can play a key role in addressing/monitoring driver behaviour:

  • Score the individual against a company score
  • Competition/gamification means employees police performance themselves through peer pressure (no-one wants to come last)
  • Cameras make a difference – telematics doesn’t tell you what happened; cameras help to show fault.
  • Camera footage can be used to train drivers
  • They also record the cause of near misses
  • Footage should also be used for positive purposes: praise for good behaviour
  • GDPR – data is everywhere in the business – you have to restrict who can access it and ensure they have reasonable reason to view it. You need the right processes in place.
  • Some fleets also extend safety awareness and training to drivers’ families.

Views:

  • “If a business has never been involved in a serious or fatal RTA, they don’t know what happens and the impact.”
  • Fleet managers protect the business from prosecution; they deal with situations before they reach senior level.
  • With driving populations ageing, what can fleets do to ensure they are fit to drive for work?
  • One fleet simply asks all drivers before they do their pre-use vehicle check: “Are you fit to drive today? When did you last have your eyesight tested?” It doesn’t penalise drivers, it’s a support mechanism to work with them.
  • Fleets also do medial assessment forms taking from doctor medical forms, e.g. diabetes, eye checks. Often people do not realise they need glasses which is an issue when judging distances. They also aren’t aware of the effect of medical conditions such as diabetes. It’s about raising awareness.
  • The biggest behavioural issues are often those aged 40-50, middle management with young families. They have lots of distractions which creates high risk. Younger and older people tend to have less pressure or fewer concerns.
  • As some people pass their test at 17 and never have any other training, some fleets ask all new recruits about how much driving experience they have – how often they drive and what types of vehicle they have driven (size, engine size). This enables them to monitor and assess any transition between vehicle sizes.
  • Journey to/from work – commuting and total travel time policy? No consensus on applying a formal policy for travel to and from work.
  • One company providers training for partners to support safer driving, with a 90% take-up. It includes license checking without which they are unable to drive a partner's company car.
  • Policy on hotels, shared lifts – how promote and what successes have you had? Depends on the type of company. Rural telephone offices and company with high call centre staff. High take up of staff involved in travel share
  • Company parking spaces also provide focus for travel share prioritisation.  Two year waiting list or first come first served approach.
  • How to decide form of transport to take (travel tree?) e.g. walk, cycle, public transport, shared car, pool car, company car? Key criteria – cost, safety, environment, convenience/time? A common sense approach was the consensus. Priorities are a mixture of each of those points mentioned above.
  • License checking and age of vehicles dictate grey fleet usage. High awareness of size of grey fleet composition but proportion of grey fleet vary for each company.
  • Company culture dictates approach to travel policy. Also, degree of whether company is unionised determines speed or flexibility of mobility and travel policy change.
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