Employers must improve driver training to make our roads safer
Alarming new figures from the Department for Transport* show there has been a significant increase in the number of people killed, or seriously injured in road traffic accidents between June 2015 and June 2016. This same report highlights that driver error is responsible for 68% of these incidents with failing to look properly, driver distraction and injudicious driving as the main culprits. (*Source: Quarterly provisional estimates year, 3 November 2016)
So what can we do about it?
The Department for Transport has already set the wheels in motion for increased penalty points and fines when driving whilst using a mobile phone. These new rules are set to be enforced in the first half of 2017 but will this deter motorists from taking a call, or reading a text? We need to do more. We need driving whilst using a phone to become as culturally unacceptable as drink driving is.
What about employers?
Employers could and should be doing more as part of their duty of care to members of the public. Whether an organisation has a small fleet, a large fleet, whether the vehicles are company-owned or not, the responsibility remains the same and it's time for organisations to take action and reeducate their employees on driving behaviour and create a culture of safe drivers. Firstly, employers need to identify those drivers that present more risk to your business. Once identified, those drivers must then be given additional training and support to ensure that risk is minimised.
Cost shouldn't be an issue
If cost is an underlying factor, then businesses will be assured to hear that in actual fact there is ample evidence to suggest that any expenses associated with running such a programme, are far outweighed by savings from accident reduction. The hidden costs of any accident in terms of operational inconvenience and the administrative overheads tend to be ignored, but they generally far exceed the direct costs. Over time and with consistent commitment by management and drivers, this sort of intervention really works. The responsibility begins and ends with the employer whilst an employee is driving on company business. It's time to make a change.