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Putting safety at the centre of your fleet

 Published 16th November 2020
Company Fleet 

Working from home, the lockdowns, the disruptions to the normal patterns of business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have all placed strains on effective management. This extends to ensuring the safety of a fleet, which has become increasingly difficult.

Visual checks by the fleet manager are less likely because the cars are unavailable since drivers are not coming into the office on a regular basis.

Then there's the fact that growing numbers of employees are using their own cars on company business to avoid using public transport. All this increases the need for companies to carry out more robust checks to maintain compliance with legal obligations and health and safety regulations. How can you, running a business, make it all work?

It's a difficult scenario to manage for those who are tasked with responsibility for a company's vehicles, says Rob Marshall, Operations Director at Gateway2Lease.

“We fully sympathise with companies at this time. There is so much to manage, and on top of that there is the added responsibility of vehicles that employees use on business or the company provided vehicles.

“But it's critical that it's part of the managerial remit, whatever size of fleet you have.”

This time of year is particularly difficult for drivers. The clocks have just gone back, which limits the amount of afternoon daylight while also coinciding with a deterioration in weather conditions. The combination leads to an unfortunate spike in accidents.

“One way to overcome some of these fleet management problems is to put safety at the heart of the company's culture,” continues Rob. “If drivers think safety before they even get into the car, it not only has the potential to save human suffering but a lessening of even minor accidents reduces fleet costs and vehicles spent unproductively off road while they are repaired.”

Rob points out that this month there is Road Safety Week , which runs from 16-22 November. Road Safety Week is the UK's biggest road safety event, and is coordinated annually by the road safety charity Brake. Its aim is to inspire businesses, schools, organisations and communities to take action on road safety and promote life-saving messages during the designated week and beyond. Each year there is a different theme. For 2020 the theme is ‘NO NEED TO SPEED'.

Brake says that the higher the speed, the longer the stopping distance, the harder the crash and the greater the risk of death and injury. The charity says its ‘No Need to Speed' theme is a reminder to everyone of how the speed they travel can affect other people.

“I'm sure we've all been guilty of hurrying along because we are late for a meeting, we're trying to make up for lost minutes because the volume of traffic has impacted our home arrival time on the evening commute, or inattention has let our speed creep up without us noticing,” says Rob.

“But every time we're on the road we need to consider what speed is appropriate to keep ourselves and others safe. Everyone knows that roads have speed limits, but do we understand what appropriate speed is?”

Speeding during the pandemic lockdown has been a particular problem, something we tackled in an earlier blog - Speeding towards a safer fleet .

Prompted by Road Safety Week, we have been giving some thought as to what businesses can do to improve the safety of their fleets. These are some initial ideas to place safety at the centre of your fleet.

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