Right Driver

Are you doing enough to ensure your fleet vehicles are safe?

If you run a business, you and any employees might use a company vehicle as part of the day-to-day routine. Whether it is your own private car used in a company capacity, a couple of vans or a fleet of heavy goods vehicles, you are legally bound to ensure vehicles are roadworthy at all times.

Abiding by the law when it comes to company cars or trucks is the bare minimum. There may be much more you could do to make sure your fleet, however big or small, is as safe as possible. See whether there’s any room for improvement in by checking off these points.

Install safety technology

Easy-to-install tech can help keep your drivers, other road users and pedestrians safe.
A camera mounted upon the dashboard is becoming more common as a means of both recording any incidents and monitoring an employee’s driving habits. Other safety systems might include a backup alarm from Brigade Electronics or obstruction sensors that alert you to potential collision hazards. These should help reduce the chances of any mishaps – or something more serious – happening.

As well as warning systems, data tracking tech is another way to see both how your vehicles are being driven and how well the vehicles themselves are performing. The telematics reported back from such devices can highlight a problem with a vehicle before it develops into something serious. It can also help to cut insurance costs as you can prove your vehicles are being driven responsibly.

Focus on your drivers more

If your business involves much driving, it’s worth concentrating on the employees behind the wheel as much if not more than the vehicles themselves. Perhaps budget more for driver training and awareness programmes than you would on post-accident repairs. Prevention is always better than cure. This article discusses driver health for working drivers.

Set up an incident review panel

Any business operating numerous vehicles is likely to get some benefit from effective incident reviews. Consider setting up a working group to establish risk-reduction protocols, and to consider training courses for company drivers in light of particular incidents. It’d be a good idea to include representatives of the human resources, legal and fleet management teams in each instance of the panel meeting.

Communicate your expectations

Whether it’s a full safety programme or a set of refuelling guidelines, make sure anyone who might drive a vehicle representing your business knows what you expect of them before they get behind the wheel. A vehicle of any kind is an extension of the office – in some cases it is the office; guidelines should be emphasised by those responsible for managing vehicles, as well as by individual line managers. You might decide that you’d like them to run through the Highway Code tests on this website as a refresher – choose car, motorbike, lorry or bus above.

Do what’s right

Vehicle safety should be well above the efficiency of your fleet. It hardly needs saying, but it’s your ethical and legal responsibility to ensure the safety of your employees, just as you would for those based in or around your premises. It may be another expense, and something else to find time for, but it simply has to be done. The possible consequences of inaction don’t bear thinking about.

Automotive safety charity Brake.org.uk has more on the ways to boost fleet safety, while some interesting stats were thrown up by this TomTom.com research.

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

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