Driven to distraction: How to protect your fleet


RISK: How can IAM Drive & Survive help you?

Commercial driver risk management (DRM) and driver training company, IAM Drive & Survive, is warning drivers about the dangers of distracted driving after research found that nearly one in ten (9%) of drivers admit to crashing their cars because they were distracted.

Less than one in twenty drivers (4%) say that someone was injured in the crash.

The IAM/Vision Critical survey, which polled nearly 1,500 regular UK drivers aged 18 years and over, also found that of the 500 drivers who admitted to having a near miss, almost one in five (18%) then went on have a crash.

The most common distractions are:

  1. Children in the car (29%)
  2. Changing the radio channel (27%)
  3. Back seat drivers (26%)
  4. Mobile phone use (24%)
  5. Satellite navigation (15%)
  6. Attractive pedestrians, drivers or passengers (14%)

Although some of the distractions wouldn’t necessarily apply when driving for work (e.g. children in the car), the majority certainly would, especially as the pressures of modern working life ensure that mobile phones and in-car technology are often available en-route.

Our most crash-prone drivers come from London and the South-East, where 14% of drivers admitted to distraction crashes.

The lowest crash rates are in Wales (3%), Yorkshire and Humber (4%) and South-West England (5%),

Men are nearly twice as likely to crash because of a distraction than women (11% and 6%).

Simon Elstow, Head of Training at IAM Drive & Survive, said: “If you think you can multitask and drive then think again.

“Using mobile phones and other distractions were a factor in more than one hundred deaths on our roads last year, every one of them avoidable.”

And such worrying statistics beg a serious question: how well do employers really know their drivers?

By that, we mean all those people who drive for work, irrespective of vehicle ownership.

For example, do fleet and transport managers know the true scale of behind-the-wheel mobile phone use amongst employees?

And is there a policy concerning phone use in the car?

Although the overall trend concerning those killed or seriously injured (KSI) whilst driving is downward, nearly two employees are killed and nearly 30 employees seriously injured every week behind the wheel.

Statistically, that makes driving for work the riskiest activity most employees will ever do as part of their job.

So, what can be done to improve these statistics and overall, improve the safety of occupational drivers?

Many employers are now seeing the benefit of implementing a Driver Risk Management (DRM) programme as part of their duty of care to staff.

As well as fulfilling corporate and social responsibilities, a DRM programme can be extremely cost-effective.

As well as improving driver behaviours, it can reduce:

  • The number of on-road collisions
  • Driver injuries (and therefore sick leave)
  • Vehicle repair bills and replacement vehicle costs
  • Insurance premiums

But is a DRM programme easy to implement and will it be applicable to each and every business?

The short answer is, yes.

To elaborate, typically a DRM programme consists of five key elements:

  1. A Company Drivers Policy, agreed and signed by the CEO/MD
  2. Driving licence checking, whereby licences are correctly verified with DVLA
  3. Driver risk assessments, an efficient online process to assess how at-risk each and every driver is
  4. On-road driver training; the most effective method to improve driver skills and behaviours
  5. Grey-fleet management; applying the same DRM programme to owner-drivers

Any DRM programme can take into account the individual requirements of a business at every one of the 5 stages, maximising its cost-effectiveness.

And should the extremely unfortunate happen in the shape of an on-road accident, the company is able to demonstrate it took all necessary steps to mitigate the risks its drivers faced.

In 2013, IAM Drive & Survive undertook a survey of 200 companies to ascertain what steps they had already taken with regard to a DRM programme.

The results were equally startling and surprising and have been presented in the white paper ‘Is a lack of DRM hitting your fleet’s performance?

Download the whitepaper to see what the 200 fleet managers said and see how your company fares in comparison.

It almost goes without saying that ignoring driver risk and failing to implement a DRM programme can have tragic consequences for employees and huge penalties for employers and their senior managers.

Simon Elstow urges all those responsible for fleets and drivers to think about DRM.

“If you’ve not done anything or haven’t done enough regarding DRM and your organisation, then find ten minutes to take a DRM self-assessment – you and your colleagues will find it invaluable and enlightening and from that point on, you can implement the necessary parts of a DRM programme to ensure company compliance and most importantly, driver safety,” he said.

To discuss your DRM requirements or the results of your DRM self-assessment, contact your IAM Drive & Survive representative today.

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