Businesses fail to communicate and implement a robust driving for work policy to keep employees safe, says new report

Businesses are failing to communicate and implement a robust driving for work policy to keep those who drive for work safe, according to a major survey of employers and executive directors.

Furthermore, the survey revealed a tension between what executive directors’ claim and what their employees say is happening while driving for work.

The study commissioned by Driving for Better Business (DfBB), the Government-backed Highways England programme to raise awareness of the business benefits that come from improved management of occupational road risk, highlighted dangerous attitudes and behaviours of executive directors – and staff – that put the safety of employees who drive for work at risk.

A driving for work policy sets out the standards required of drivers in order to ensure that any business driving activities are compliant with all relevant legislation and guidelines. What’s more, Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) is working with a number of customers to check and, if necessary, update their policies.

Executive directors, said DfBB, needed to ensure a policy was comprehensive, regularly reviewed, communicated effectively to drivers, and that compliance with the policy was monitored.

Improving occupational road risk management of employees who drive company-provided vehicles as well as those driving their own cars on work-related journeys – the so-called ‘grey fleet’ – is one of the key reasons behind Fleet Service GB’s development of its Achieve-branded programme of services including Achieve Driver Management, Achieve Crash Management, Achieve Maintenance Management, Achieve Fleet Manager, Achieve Management Services, as well as its garage network, Achieve Fleet Service Partnership.

The fully-integrated work-related road safety programme unites all aspects of the vehicle and driver management process – eligibility to drive, crash history, vehicle maintenance record, motoring offences and data collected via telematics and other on-board vehicle technologies – to provide managers with a single silo of live and dynamic data with no requirement to access a ‘mishmash’ of sources.

Building on Fleet Service GB’s established driver risk profiler incorporating driver licence checking and driver training, Achieve is a sophisticated continuous driver management programme that uses the very latest IT functionality to compile a driver risk profile delivering analysis and action prompts.

Head of sales Marcus Bray said: “Driver influenced costs are the single largest drain on a company’s in-life fleet vehicle expenditure. Managing work-related road safety is critical to all businesses and key to that is compliance, but also disciplined driver performance.

“The uniqueness of Achieve is that it continuously records and measures both individual driver compliance and performance via a points process to compile a real-time driver history taking into account all key data to produce a ‘drive safe, stay safe’ employee mentality.”

The DfBB study of 1,006 UK employees and 255 executive directors highlighted numerous “failures” by UK bosses to implement driving for work policy including:

  • Despite three quarters (75%) of executives polled saying they ensured employees were aware of their legal obligations in relation to driving for work, nearly half of ‘grey fleet’ employees surveyed (45%) who used their personal car for work said they had not been given a copy of their employer’s driving for work policy.
  • 60% of executives were unsure if or how many employees used their own car for business trips, yet 90% of drivers made work journeys in their own cars despite one in three not being insured to do so. A total of 44% of executives said their organisations did not check that workers who used their personal car for business journeys had a valid driving licence.
  • Almost half (49%) of executives expected their employees to answer their mobile phone at any time, with one in six employees who drove for work (17%) saying they had been involved in an incident when driving for work due to a phone call from a colleague. Despite that it is illegal, one in 20 executives and one in eight employees thought the hard shoulder was a safe place to take a phone call.
  • 75% of employees said they used their personal cars for work journeys at least once a week, yet a third of those drivers (33%) were not insured to do so – saying they did not have cover for business use on their vehicle insurance.

The survey also found a poor approach to vehicle checks and maintenance by employees. Nearly three quarters of employees who drive for work (74%) said when they checked their tyres they simply took a quick glance to see that tyres looked ‘OK’.

Simon Turner, DfBB campaign manager, said: “The report shows a disparity between what employers and employees are saying when driving for work. Business leaders are failing to communicate and implement a robust driving for work policy to keep those who drive for work safe, particularly for those who use their personal cars. Leaders are failing to carry out basic due diligence checks such as ensuring that all employees have a driving licence or vehicle insurance.

“At the same time, the study highlights employees are putting themselves at risk while driving for work, not checking that vehicles are roadworthy and exhibit reckless behaviours when using their mobile phone.”

Mr Turner continued: “As a way of reducing occupational road risk and safeguarding employee wellbeing, a dual responsibility by business leaders and employees is needed. Leaders must implement a driving for work policy that enforces legal and ethical obligations on all employees that drive on work-related journeys. Regular checks need to be put in place to ensure that employees have read and understood the guidelines laid out in the driving for work policy. In doing so, the associated risk to road users and pedestrians is reduced.

“A good practice driving for work policy ensures that at a minimum, organisations are compliant with all relevant legislation and guidelines. Once implemented, these policies complement more general employee safety and wellness programmes as well as introduce efficiencies that reduce costs associated with employees that drive for work purposes.”

mon Turner, DfBB campaign manager, said: “The report shows a disparity between what employers and employees are saying when driving for work. Business leaders are failing to communicate and implement a robust driving for work policy to keep those who drive for work safe, particularly for those who use their personal cars. Leaders are failing to carry out basic due diligence checks such as ensuring that all employees have a driving licence or vehicle insurance.

“At the same time, the study highlights employees are putting themselves at risk while driving for work, not checking that vehicles are roadworthy and exhibit reckless behaviours when using their mobile phone.”

Mr Turner continued: “As a way of reducing occupational road risk and safeguarding employee wellbeing, a dual responsibility by business leaders and employees is needed. Leaders must implement a driving for work policy that enforces legal and ethical obligations on all employees that drive on work-related journeys. Regular checks need to be put in place to ensure that employees have read and understood the guidelines laid out in the driving for work policy. In doing so, the associated risk to road users and pedestrians is reduced.

The DfBB report is available at: https://www.drivingforbetterbusiness.com/resources/dfbb-publications/leadership-survey-2019/

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