Leading the way on safe driving policy

The last month has been a whirlwind of activity for the Driving for Better Business team. Following our launch of the new website last month, feedback has been universally positive, especially for the simpler layout of the new resources section, as well as the free tools for business owners to help get them started.

Throughout June we have been hosting regional events cross England for fleet safety stakeholders to introduce them to the campaign. Representatives from local authorities, fire, police, safe roads partnerships and the local PCC offices have seen first-hand what the campaign is about and how they can utilise the resources to support their own local initiatives. We are hosting the final two in early July at Peterborough for the East region and Greenwich for the South East region, following which we will be issuing a report on the suggestions and actions that came out of these events, and how we plan to continue supporting local stakeholders.

One of these that particularly stood out was the West Midlands event held at the offices of Tele-Traffic, who develop and manufacture state of the art laser speed cameras for use in mobile police enforcement vans. Paul Garratt, MD of Tele-traffic explained that this gives them a unique perspective in fleet risk management as they would be expected to have a better understanding than most – and they didn’t disappoint.

Paul had appointed a key member of his team, the highly experienced Neal Westwood, to be the ‘Driving at Work Champion’ and to develop a new safe driving policy which was one of the best I’ve seen from a smaller business, incorporating a number of features that really made it effective and easy to follow.

The first was a commitment to ensure everyone in the company understood the law on duty of care, including specific training for Directors on the various pieces of relevant legislation, so they could see the necessity of top-down leadership on such an important topic. Having the senior management team lead by example is vital if you want your staff to follow willingly.

The second was the driver declaration forms, included as an annex, which ensure the company has accurate and up to date information about its drivers and vehicles, including grey fleet, and that drivers understand their obligations to follow the policy and keep their employer up to date on changes to vehicles, driving licence and any medical issues.

Tele-traffic is just approving some final revisions to the wording after which Paul has promised he’ll let me share the policy with the Driving for Better Business network. This is something I hope some of our business champions will also do so that employers can use them as a basis for developing or reviewing their own.

Also this month, I met the world-renowned road-risk and driving skills expert Paul Ripley who after five year’s development has just launched The Driving Doctor. Installing vehicle telematics has been proven to significantly improve driver compliance and hence reduce collisions and costs. The problem comes with the vast amount of data that these systems provide because, as an employer, once you have this data, you are legally bound to act on it. Paul and his team have developed a unique system that pulls in the data from your telematics system, identifies any areas of concern such as drivers regularly exceeding speed limits, excessive acceleration and braking, or cornering too fast in fully-loaded goods vehicles, and then helps you deal with it that data effectively.

A number of our business champions have installed vehicle telematics, with many seeing amazing benefits, not just in reducing collisions and vehicle damage, but also in improving fuel efficiency. What they all found to be essential though, was being able to deal with the data generated effectively. This also ties back to your safe driving policy because that should explain to drivers what the system is there to achieve and how the company will act on the data it receives.

Speaking of Telematics, I’ll be attending a conference in July on the future of LCV fleets hosted by TomTom Telematics, which I’ll review here, and also attending the TyreSafe briefing for the launch of their new 2017 campaign. Looks like another busy month ahead.