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Drivex Driver Risk Assessment Profile Report for Volunteer Driver Charity

August 2011


Introduction

This report has been produced following a series of Driver Awareness presentations made for volunteer drivers from VAC (Note: ficticious name used). The driver risk profiles have been complied from information obtained from the Driver Assessment Questionnaires completed by each of the drivers who attended one of the presentations.


Background

This project was initiated by VAC in order to make a formal risk assessment of the drivers who they ‘employ’ in order to carry out their volunteer car service. Prior to this there were no formal driver assessments being carried out. The original plan was to deliver three Driver Awareness Presentations to approximately 60 volunteer drivers which would incorporate the completion of the assessment questionnaires. Ultimately four presentations were delivered to a total of 38 drivers.

'Of the drivers who took part in this assessment 36 drivers believe they are a good driver yet only 23 believe they could pass today’s driving test which is a very basic-level driver appraisal.'

The presentations were made by Steve Cocks and Roger Spaven of Drivex Limited and delivered on:

1st April 2011,    13 drivers attending

14th April 2011,   11 drivers attending

21st April 2011,   8 drivers attending

5th July 2011,     6 drivers attending

'The pass mark for today’s Driving Theory test is 86%; the highest score achieved in the driver knowledge assessment for this group of drivers was 56%. On this basis none of the VAC drivers would pass today’s Driving Theory Test.'

A total of 38 drivers attended. The presentations took place at VAC’s premises in Newport and covered the following topics:

  • Introduction.
  • Establishing the difference between driving socially and driving as a volunteer, i.e. understanding ‘duty of care’ and the implications of health and safety legislation and regulations.
  • Establishing the risks associated with road journeys and the part the driver plays within the overall risk exposure.
  • Practical demonstration of less obvious vehicle risk.
  • Completion of Driver Assessment Questionnaires. The Questionnaires consisted of the following sections:
  1. 25 driving knowledge questions.
  2. 14 driver risk-profile questions.
  3. 2 driver attitude questionnaires.

'Within six months of this driver assessment program the one driver who was assessed as being Very-High Risk had been convicted of a further speeding violation.'

The two driver attitude questionnaires were created by The Police Foundation. The first questionnaire measures attitude to driving and the scoring system for the questions asked gives a result of either agreeing with the statements, remaining neutral or disagreeing with the statements. Agreeing with the statements is the favourable response. The second questionnaire measures attitude to speeding and the scoring system for the questions asked gives a result of tending to speed infrequently, tending to speed a little more frequently or tending to speed often. Tending to speed infrequently is the favourable response. In the following driver profile report reference to the attitude questionnaires has only been made if a driver’s response to these attitude questions has shown to cause concern.

The information pack handed to each driver at the end of their presentation included notes on how to carry out a thorough vehicle routine check, how to carry out a thorough cabin safety check, how to recognise speed limits and a detailed description of the minimum tyre tread requirements for a car. There were also general notes about Work-Related Road Risk.

At the start of each presentation the drivers were asked three questions in open discussion:

1.       If you were to take a driving test today, do you think you would pass?

2.       Do you consider yourself to be a good driver?

3.       Since passing your driving test have you had any other driver training?

The response was as follows:

23 drivers indicated that they think they would pass a driving test today.

36 drivers indicated that they think they are a good driver.

14 drivers indicated that they have undertaken further driver training since passing their driving test.

Interesting points to arise from these questions:

  1. 36 drivers believe they are a good driver yet only 23 believe they could pass today’s driving test which is a very basic-level driver appraisal.
  2. The pass mark for today’s Driving Theory test is 86%; the highest score achieved in the driver knowledge assessment for this group of drivers was 56%. On this basis none of the VAC drivers would pass today’s Driving Theory Test.

Feedback obtained from the drivers after each presentation was very largely positive and indicated that the drivers had learned something new and had gained a better understanding of their responsibilities as volunteer drivers.


Drivex Driver Risk Assessment Profile Report Summary                                                                                   

Name                 Theory score /50            Risk Rating       Analysis

Driver1               13 (26%)                           Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk, very poor knowledge score.

Driver2               20 (40%)                           Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk (despite a speeding conviction within last 10 years), poor knowledge score.

Driver3               20.5 (41%)                        Medium Risk    Profile shows as medium risk due to a speeding offence within the last three years and a more serious speeding offence within the last ten years. Poor knowledge score.

Driver4               22 (44%)                           Low Risk            Profile shows as low risk, poor knowledge score.

Driver5               20 (40%)                           Low Risk            Profile shows as low risk, poor knowledge score. Indicates a tendency to speed a little more frequently.

Driver6               17.5 (35%)                        Medium Risk    Profile shows as medium risk due to a speeding conviction and two ‘knock for knock’ incidents swithin the last ten years. Very poor knowledge score. Indicates a tendency to speed a little more frequently.

Driver7               15 (30%)                           Medium Risk    Profile shows as medium risk due to a recent speeding conviction. Very poor knowledge score Indicates a tendency to speed a little more frequently

Driver8               18.5 (37%)                        Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk (despite two offences within the last 10 years), very poor knowledge score.

Driver9               11 (22%)                           Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk, very poor knowledge score.

Driver10            27 (54%)                           Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk, average knowledge score. Indicates a tendency to speed a little more frequently.

Driver11            15 (30%)                           Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk, very poor knowledge score.

Driver12            16 (32%)                           Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk, very poor knowledge score.

Driver13            18 (36%)                           Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk, very poor knowledge score.

Driver14            24 (48%)                           High Risk          Profile shows as high risk due to an ‘at fault’ crash within the last three years. Slightly below average knowledge score. Attitude to driving questionnaire response shows a tendency to disagree with the statements given.    

Driver15            25 (50%)                           Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk (despite a speeding conviction within last 10 years). Slightly lower than average knowledge score. Indicates a tendency to speed a little more frequently.    

Driver16            17 (34%)                           Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk, very poor knowledge score.

Driver17            23 (46%)                           Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk, slightly below average knowledge score.

Driver18            21 (42%)                           Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk, poor knowledge score.

Driver19            21 (42%)                           Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk (despite a speeding conviction within last 10 years), poor knowledge score.

Driver20           28 (56%)                            Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk, slightly above average knowledge score.

Driver21           25 (50%)                            Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk, slightly below average knowledge score.

Driver22           23 (46%)                            Medium Risk    Profile shows as medium risk due to a recent at-fault accident. Slightly below average knowledge score. Indicates a tendency to speed a little more frequently.

Driver23           24.5 (49%)                         Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk, slightly below average knowledge score.

Driver24           14 (28%)                            High Risk          Profile shows as high risk due to a serious speeding offence within the last three years and failing to stop at a red traffic light within the last ten years. Very poor knowledge score. Iindicates a tendency to speed a little more frequently.

Driver25           19.5 (39%)                         Low Risk           Profile shows as low risk, very poor knowledge score.

Driver26           19 (38%)                            High Risk          Profile shows as high risk due to an ‘at fault’ crash within the last three years. A further concern is that this driver has indicated that he has 3 penalty points but has indicated he has no driving  convictions. Very poor knowledge score. Attitude to driving questionnaire response shows a tendency to disagree with the statements given.    

Driver27           20.5 (41%)                         Low Risk          Profile shows as low risk, poor knowledge score.

Driver28           16 (32%)                             Low Risk         Profile shows as low risk, very poor knowledge score.

Driver29           18 (36%)                             Low Risk         Profile shows as low risk (despite a speeding conviction within last 10 years), very poor knowledge score.

Driver30           16.5 (33%)                         High Risk         Profile shows as high risk due to a conviction for driving with undue care and attention within the last three years. Very poor knowledge score.

Driver31           18 (36%)                             Low Risk         Profile shows as low risk (despite a speeding conviction within last 10 years), very poor knowledge score.

Driver32           15 (30%)                             Low Risk          Profile shows as low risk, very poor knowledge score.

Driver33           20 (40%)                             Medium Risk   Profile shows as medium risk due to a serious speeding offence within the last ten years. Very poor knowledge score.

Driver34           14 (28%)                              Low Risk         Profile shows as low risk, very poor knowledge score.

Driver35           18.5 (37%)                           Low Risk         Profile shows as low risk, very poor knowledge score.

Driver36           27.5 (55%)                       Very High Risk   Profile shows as very high risk due to a speeding conviction and an ‘at-fault’ accident, both within the last three years. Slightly above average knowledge score. Indicates a tendency to speed a little more frequently.

Driver37           15 (30%)                             Medium Risk   Profile shows as medium risk due to a speeding offence within the last three years. Very poor knowledge score.

Driver38           20.5 (41%)                          Low Risk         Profile shows as low risk, poor knowledge score.

 

Risk Profile Summary,        Low Risk           27

                                                Medium Risk     6

                                                High Risk          4

                                                Very High Risk  1

                                                Incomplete        0


Analysis

Driver Risk

A high proportion of the drivers have scored as Low Risk. This is broadly due to the following factors:

  • Driver Experience
  • Good conviction record
  • Good accident record
  • Low mileage journeys

The risk ratings are achieved using an established ‘point-scoring’ system similar to those used by insurance underwriters. In addition, other factors considered include time-scheduling, daily journey mileage and personal stress issues. For each driver there is a brief description of why they have been given their particular rating if they have not been classified as low risk.

Any driver who does not score as low risk should be a concern.

One general observation is that, with the exception of Driver13, all drivers indicated that they are using their own vehicles for their volunteer journeys. Driver13 indicated that he uses his father’s vehicle which, from a risk assessment perspective, amounts to very much the same thing. Own vehicles used for work or volunteer sector purposes are commonly referred to as the ‘Grey Fleet’ reflecting the fact that, from the employer or volunteer agency’s position, it is far more difficult to keep track of the roadworthiness, maintenance, legality and suitability of the vehicle fleet being used although they still have a duty to do this.

With regards to the Driving Attitude questionnaires the following results were recorded:

1.       Attitude to driving

Two drivers (Driver14 and Driver26) recorded attitudes which disagreed with the statements given. Statistically drivers who disagree with the statements turn out to have approximately five times the risk of having a collision to those who agree. It is interesting to note that both of these drivers have been scored as high risk and both have had ‘at-fault’ crashes within the last three years.

2.       Attitude to speeding

None of the drivers recorded attitudes which show a tendency to speed often.

Eight drivers (Driver5, Driver6, Driver7, Driver10, Driver15, Driver22, Driver24 and Driver36) indicated a tendency to speed a little more often and it is interesting to note that five of them do have speeding convictions and another has had a recent ‘at-fault’ accident.

Driver Knowledge

As a group these drivers have scored poorly in the knowledge test. The average knowledge test score was 19.39 / 50 (38.8%), the lowest score being 11 (22%) (Driver9) and the highest 28 (56%) (Driver20). 

As a point of comparison we are currently conducting a similar exercise for another group that uses volunteer drivers and their average knowledge score achieved was 56.5%.

In order to put this poor knowledge into perspective the following data has been extracted:

  • Only 4 drivers (10.5%) understood that nobody has priority when traffic lights are out of order.
  • Only 8 drivers (21.1%) understood correctly the only time when a vehicle occupant does not have to wear a seatbelt.
  • Only 5 drivers (13.2%) understood the poor visibility threshold before the use of rear fog lights should be considered.
  • Only 1 driver (2.6%) understood the minimum tyre tread requirements for a car tyre.
  • Only 15 drivers (39.5%) understood how to recognise the speed limit if there were no speed limit signs visible.
  • Only 6 drivers (15.8%) could correctly identify a situation where parking with a Blue Badge was not permitted.

The main area of concern with drivers with a low knowledge base is that their decision making, when planning or undertaking a journey, is based upon poor information. This must have a bearing on the outcome of their decision. For example, take the areas of concern highlighted above:

  • Drivers who do not understand the priority at traffic lights that are out of order are not likely to make effective observations. For example, 23 of the drivers in this group indicated that with traffic lights out of order, traffic from the right has priority. These drivers are therefore likely to assume that they have priority over traffic from the left, when in fact they don’t.
  • Drivers who do not know the rules regarding exemption of vehicle occupants wearing seatbelts in vehicles are less likely to enforce these rules correctly with their passengers. The conclusion therefore is that they are making decisions based on what they believe, not what is correct and that their passengers may not be advised properly.
  • Drivers who do not know the rules regarding rear fog light use are more likely to use these lights inappropriately.
  • Drivers who do not understand the correct tyre tread requirements are unlikely to be able to make a judgement on whether a tyre meets these legal minimum requirements.
  • Drivers who do not understand the rules regarding speed limits are therefore unlikely to be able to correctly assess the prevailing speed limit when there are no speed limit signs visible.
  • Drivers who are operating under the Blue Badge scheme are unlikely to be able to assess the suitability / legality of a proposed drop-off, pick-up or waiting location if they don’t know the rules by which the assessment of the location should be made.

These figures show that the poor driver knowledge extends over a wide range of basic Highway Code rules all of which have a direct bearing on the type of journeys being carried out on behalf of VAC.

From the above examples, it can be seen how a poor knowledge base can lead to incorrect decisions being made. The result is that, from VAC’s perspective, volunteer road journeys will therefore carry more potential risk, both for the driver, their passengers, VAC and the general public. There is an interesting point here, in that, with such a poor knowledge base, why are there not more accidents? The simple answer here is that a driver’s experience tends to get them out of trouble when a poor decision is made. (Of course, it may be somebody else reacting to a driver’s poor decision, which means an accident is avoided).

Within the profiling for this group the only driver classified as Very High Risk (Driver36) has achieved the second-highest knowledge score (55%). This apparent anomaly illustrates the importance of testing driver knowledge separately from the driver risk profile since a much more individual picture can be obtained; this is one of the benefits of the driver profiling system used.

Attached to this report are the correct answers to the questions bank set. Providing a copy of these answers to each driver who took part in this exercise will undoubtedly improve their specific knowledge with respect to the topics they were asked about.


Recommendations

Driver Knowledge          

Due to the poor driver knowledge performance we recommend that an ongoing driver education program is implemented along the following lines:

  • Provide all drivers with a copy of the correct answers to the Knowledge Questions (a copy of these accompanies this report).
  • Provide all drivers with a copy of the latest edition of The Highway Code (Drivex can supply these if necessary). Also, ensure that each driver signs for their copy. This action should be repeated each time the Highway Code is updated.*
  • Provide some form of on-going driver education, perhaps in the form of a regular driver quiz or articles in any in-house magazine.
  • To ensure that drivers are made aware of any relevant changes in legislation which have relevance to their status as volunteer drivers, particularly regarding Road Traffic Acts or Health and Safety legislation. (Drivex can provide this service if required).

*The latest edition of the Highway Code was introduced in 2007 and although it is updated from time to time it is not a regular event. We are not aware of any new edition due to be published. Among the changes made from the previous edition were changes to rules regarding yellow box junctions, cycle waiting areas at traffic lights and roundabout approaches.

Driver Risk

The purpose of a Risk Assessment is to identify any areas of risk and then to eliminate, reduce or manage them accordingly. The assessment should then be reviewed on a regular basis to maintain its effectiveness.

The Driver Risk profiles used has classified the drivers as follows:             

Low Risk           27

                                                Medium Risk     6

                                                High Risk          4

                                                Very High Risk  1

The drivers classified as low risk are those which cause least concern. Some of these drivers have indicated past issues that should be investigated but their overall low risk status means this is not a priority.

The 11 drivers who have not been classified as low risk are of more concern. All of these 11 drivers have been classified higher than low risk because they have indicated more recent and / or more serious driving history issues. None of them are young and / or inexperienced drivers which is the other main reasons for drivers being classified as a higher risk. The reasons for these drivers being classified with their risk status is given in the Report Summary above. If it has not already been done, these reasons should ideally be discussed with each driver individually to ascertain the circumstances behind the incidents concerned.

In order to meet the need to eliminate, reduce or manage areas of identified risk it is also recommended that these 11 drivers attend some form of in-car appraisal or training. The options we would recommend, and can provide, are:

1.       A one-hour in-vehicle assessment conducted on a one-to-one basis in the vehicle the driver uses for their VAC driving.

This provides a basic driver appraisal including a vehicle check. Limited scope to deal with any issues that may arise.

or

2.       A three-hour Defensive Driving Course conducted on a one-to-one basis in the vehicle the driver uses for their VAC driving.

Starting with a short assessment drive this course provides an introduction to established defensive driving techniques and allows time for the driver to practice the techniques introduced. Although the course has a core syllabus, the driver development which takes place will largely reflect the outcome of the initial assessment drive.

For either of the options above we would provide a Driving Standards Agency registered Fleet Instructor*. For any of our in-vehicle appraisals and courses we will provide full report upon completion with a copy for both the driver and VAC. It is important that these sessions are conducted in the vehicles used by the drivers for their volunteer journeys so that maximum use is made of the allotted time and that the drivers are in the vehicles with which they are most comfortable and familiar.

*Drivex has four Driving Standards Agency (D.S.A.) Fleet Instructors.  D.S.A. Fleet Instructors are qualified to a higher level than traditional D.S.A. Approved Driving Instructors and are trained specifically to assess driving skills and techniques with regard to risk rather than passing or failing a driving test. As such, the reports provided meet the requirement under Health and Safety legislation for risk assessments to be conducted by ‘a competent person with a practical knowledge of the work activities being assessed’.

Miscellaneous

The following recommendations are made on a more general basis:

1.       Provide Driver Assessment Profiles for all new prospective drivers who come on board in the future. Discuss the results of the profile with the driver before they officially come on board.

2.       Provide Driver awareness presentations for those drivers who have recently come on board or who have yet to attend a presentation.

3.       Initiate a driver eyesight testing programme. The requirement for car drivers is that they should be able to read a number plate in daylight from the following distances:

  • New style no. plate (e.g. ‘HW’ type) from a distance of 20.0 metres.
  • Old style no. plate (e.g. ‘DL’ type) from a distance of 20.5 metres.

Should a driver require glasses or contact lenses to meet the eyesight requirements they should wear them at all times when driving.

4.       Ensure that a vehicle checking policy is introduced. An initial check should be conducted when new drivers come on board or whenever existing drivers change vehicle. These checks should include roadworthiness, legality, service history, passenger compartment and suitability for the proposed journeys. Subsequent checks should be made on a regular basis; due to the low mileages being undertaken we would recommend annually.

The implementation of these recommendations will not only improve driver knowledge and ability, but will also demonstrate that VAC is taking steps to manage its Volunteer Road Risk exposure by addressing the risks identified. These steps can be massively significant in the event of any future incidents.


Report compiled by:       Steven Cocks BSc, DSAADI (Car and Fleet)

                                           Director

          Drivex Ltd.

          24th August 2011.

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