Improving Driver Culture

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This week's blog post has been inspired by an article that appeared in my news feed this morning. Within seconds, a feeling of familiarity washed over me. I knew what I was being told. I had heard this elsewhere. I had attended a seminar where the author had presented this data!
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Fleet 21 works with directors and senior managers to help improve driver safety culture, driver risk management and increase profit within the business through increased efficiencies and reduction in wider fleet related costs

12 Themes for Improving Driver Culture

Reducing collisions amongst your staff who drive on business isn’t just about driver training. It’s about changing the culture – giving drivers the knowledge they need to make better decisions for themselves when they’re out on the road.

But it’s not just regular business drivers – company car ‘status users’ and occasional grey fleet users too – as well as office-based staff who may have to speak with your drivers during the day. The key is communication but what should you say? Here are Fleet 21's favourite 12 themes for driver safety.

1: The reality of driving for work – Around 200,000 people are killed or injured on UK roads each year, while over half of all company cars are expected to suffer some form of damage each year.

2: Mobile phone distraction – Drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a collision when they’re on the phone due to much worse reaction times – even on hands-free.

3: Alcohol and drugs – Many drivers don’t know how alcohol or drugs affect them or how long the effects last. Plus new laws have brought in fixed limits for prescription drugs.

4: Driving in adverse weather – Driving in rain, fog or snow brings unique challenges and it is essential that drivers are properly prepared.

5: Vehicle safety systems – Specifying cars with some of the latest active vehicle safety systems such as automatic emergency braking is proven to dramatically reduce the chance of a collision.

6: Planning your journey – Effective planning makes for a less stressful journey, with less inclination to speed, and with less wear and tear, lower emissions and improved fuel economy.

7: Parking and reversing – All those little bumps and knocks often amount to around a third of fleet repair costs so a little extra care with low speed manoeuvring can bring big benefits.

8: Different road types – Motorways, rural roads and urban streets all present different challenges to drivers who need to be alert to the increased risks of collision and injury.

9: Speed and space – Driving too fast for the conditions and too close to the vehicle in front are two of the major causes of collisions but rarely get you to your destination any quicker.

10: Health and wellbeing – Many crashes are caused by drivers in poor health with tiredness and poor eyesightbeing amongst the most common.

11: Emergency procedures – Ensuring your drivers have the right information to hand in the event of an emergency helps them to stay calm and in control and to record the incident accurately.

12: Vehicle maintenance – Regularly checking your vehicle is vital for everyone’s safety and especially important for employers with large grey fleets.

Changing the culture

How many of us read the above factors and think, "that's common sense - obviously". It is at that point I would urge you to book a session with Fleet 21. Let the experts drill down into the above examples and highlight some utterly shocking examples of ways that we all, myself included, go against what we just this second defined as common sense.

Mobile phone usage - As studies regularly highlight, driving whilst on the phone, even hands-free, is comparable to being well over the drink drive limit. The reason? Our brains are having to process incoming audio signals, deconstruct their meaning, recall information and construct a response worthy of your stature. All of this has to take place while you cover more than 30 Meters per second in one of the most dynamic and dangerous environments constructed by mankind, the car!

We know that it is ridiculously hard to have a thorough phonecall whilst driving. You can't hear clearly, you cant be heard clearly, you can't take notes... yet how many of us are drafted into, or even arrange for conference calls to happen when we are out on the road? The culture change should not just be focused towards the drivers. What about the office staff? How often do office-based staff call the sales team during the day knowing that the sales person will answer the call in their car?

Should companies now start to look at constructing their driver policies to actually include the staff members who interact with those who drive for work?

Read more next week...

/ Chris Miller

Do you want to learn more about efficient fleet management and compliance? Why not attend our free seminar on 9th June! Click here for more details

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