The issue of road safety remains high on the agenda for government and businesses alike.
Here are 7 areas to consider when creating an effective road risk management plan to keep your drivers safe and your company compliant.
1. Create a road safety policy for your whole fleet
Despite being conducted on a daily basis, driving is still not seen as a core business function for many companies, resulting in a lack of a defined road safety policies.
This is particularly true in the case of grey fleets.
However, an employer’s duty of care, underlined in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, extends to any vehicle driven for business purposes, including private vehicles.
This commitment is reinforced by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, which requires every employer to carry out an assessment of the risks to the health and safety of all employees while they are at work.
With estimates suggesting that one in four reported road casualties result from accidents involving someone using the road for work purposes, road risk management is not only an issue of meeting legal requirements but protecting the workforce.
No matter the size of the fleet, work-related road safety should be incorporated into a company’s wider health and safety arrangements and be afforded the same level of scrutiny and enforcement.
As a minimum, companies should have a ‘driving for work’ policy in place, conduct risk assessments and put measures in place to mitigate identified risks.
2. Get employee buy in
Getting employee buy-in is essential for effective change and implementation.
Strong leadership and regular communication are needed to encourage company-wide cooperation, to reinforce the company’s commitment to road safety and to make clear the standards expected of all drivers.
3. Enforce vehicle checks
All employees driving for work should be mandated to conduct vehicle safety checks.
Companies should liaise closely with both company and grey fleet drivers, to ensure their vehicle is roadworthy and that the drivers’ credentials, such as licence records, are valid and up-to-date.
A best practice approach would be to carry out daily walk-around checks and to record inspections. For company cars, service schedules and MOT renewal dates should also be retained and effectively managed, to ensure vehicles are compliant.
4. Offer ongoing help and advice
Offering helpful advice, such as how best to drive in adverse weather or the dangers on driving tired, will help reinforce the importance of road safety.
Although it is helpful to set out this information in a driver safety handbook, staff communications, such as bulletins, and regular training, such as workshops, are vital for effective behavioural changes.
5. Identify risk hot spots
Identifying areas of risk should also be a key priority. Risk assessments should be carried out on all drivers on an ongoing basis, covering everything from hazard perception to the highway code.
Companies should also seek to establish driver behaviour and risk ratings, insights of which can be provided by telematics data. Incidents, such as speeding or harsh braking, can be monitored and drivers scored on their performance out in the field.
6. Address risk with appropriate training
Risk data can reveal pain points in a fleet, but action is needed for any meaningful change to take place.
Once an issue has been identified, remedial training should be an automatic follow-up. This could include enrolment on an e-learning course, supported by internal communication specifically targeted at reducing risk in this area of concern.
Other solutions include in-car training sessions and tailored workshops.
7. Review accident data
For incidents that take place on the road, a root cause analysis should be carried out in each case, no matter the severity.
This will allow lessons to be learnt and for recommendations to be made on further action and training.
All of these actions combined can not only help to keep drivers safe on the road but can have an impact on the company’s bottom-line too, with reductions in at-fault accidents, reduced fuel spend, vehicle off-road time, and insurance premiums.
With more proactive steps taken to address road risk management by fleet operators, the business community can also have a significant impact in helping the government achieve its safety goals.