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Save money by driving better

 Published 4th November 2022
Driver Guides  General Guides 

Measure what's happening to reduce accident rates, decrease costs

Commercial vehicles fleets are in the front line of road accidents. It's easy to understand.

The home delivery surge has created a demand for delivery services and, as a result, many cities have seen a rise in the number of commercial vans on the roads.

Which means that whether your fleet is in deliveries, maintenance services, or building works, there are more vans on the road in more congested conditions. Inevitably, considering the size of the vehicles, knocks, bangs and dents are a common occurrence.

But do you have to accept such collateral damage?

What difference would it make to your fleet budget if accident repair costs were lower - and insurance premiums weren't so high?

Driving for Better Business has engaged with thousands of businesses - from SMEs to multinationals - to help them all reduce road risk.

Of the organisations it assists, it says there are some common measurable areas that can translate into business benefits if they are addressed. These include:

  • Collisions/at-fault accident claims
  • Reduced speeding penalties?
  • Lower cost of maintenance
  • Fleet utilisation
  • Reduced fuel consumption
  • Idling
  • Insurance premiums
  • Emissions
  • Public complaints

All companies put work-related road risk policies in place to prioritise the safety of their employees and to reduce the road risks they faced.

The results have been spectacular.

Gateshead Council, for example, saved 50,00 litres of fuel over a 12-month period – at roughly £2 a litre, that's a saving of around £100,000. The council also reported a dramatic 64% decrease in collisions over a 12 year period.

How did they do this?

Gateshead Council shared the following information. It ensures that all drivers are aware they are legally responsible for their own actions while at the wheel and all employees are considered to be ambassadors for the Council.

Before a driver can operate a council vehicle, they must successfully complete a Council Driver Assessment. Assessments are carried out by one of four IAM trained assessors. The assessment process - which is repeated annually - covers:

  • Driver licence checks.
  • Eyesight check.
  • A practical driving session. The driver is assessed according to 14 criteria (including observation, use of mirrors, use of speed, road positioning, separation distance and manoeuvring). Drivers are also required to demonstrate daily vehicle checking procedures and completion of driving records. A driver should always be assessed in the highest class of vehicle they will operate.
  • Drivers are supplied with additional information, including safe driving tips, fuel-efficient driving tips and a copy of the Highway Code. A road safety DVD and vehicle checking DVD are also shown.

Following the assessment, feedback regarding performance is sent to the driver's Line Manager, and includes any comments made by the assessors. The assessment programme is constantly under review with the aim to continually refresh the information provided and implement improvements. Any driver found to be at fault in an accident or guilty of a road traffic offence must go through the assessment process.

A driver handbook also contains:

  • Code of Conduct
  • Care and Maintenance of Vehicles.
  • Environment and Fuel Efficiency.
  • Loading of Vehicles.
  • Wearing of Seat Belts.
  • Vehicle Accidents.
  • Drivers' Hours.
  • Reversing.
  • Mobile Phones.
  • Journey Planning

Daily checks before driving

Another aspect of the council's road risk approach, which can be adopted by all fleets, is that drivers must carry out vehicle checks daily before driving. This may vary depending on the nature of your fleet but can include exterior visual assessment, tyres and so on. There is some useful fleet management software available that can help you with this, with drivers running through a checklist on their smartphone, with the facility to photograph areas that might need attention by the fleet manager.

Simon Turner, Campaign Manager for Driving for Better Business adds:

“Very few organisations can operate without using the roads and around 20 million people are estimated to drive for work in some capacity.

“Driving for work is one of the highest-risk activities that most employees undertake. It is also a significant cost to the business. Employers that manage this issue well have peace of mind that they are legally compliant, are regarded by staff as better places to work, and perform at a much higher level of efficiency than those that don't.

“There is clearly a strong business case for managing work-related road safety. Fewer road incidents mean fewer days lost to injury; fewer repairs to vehicles with vehicles out of action; fewer missed orders and overall reduced running costs. Now is the time to become better informed and start getting the benefits of better practice.”

If you want help or assistance with management of your fleet, then Gateway2Lease has a specialist fleet management department that can help. Call us on 01299 407 360 to see how we can help your fleet.

Driving for Better Business also has a wealth of material on its website that will help you create a safer fleet.

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