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Managing Driver Risk 

In this section:

Many businesses, charities and other organisations recognise that road travel and transport is a high risk activity but fail to recognise that the driver is the biggest contributor to that risk. Ensuring that your work vehicles are properly maintained, insured and taxed won't stop bad drivers from being bad drivers! Just take a look at the statistics:

The Statistics

'When driving for work it is not only Road Traffic Laws that apply - Health and Safety legislation also applies to all work-related driving activities.'

Over the last few years, increasingly more research has been carried out into road safety, and in particular to the proportion of the annual accident statistics taken up by work-related road crashes.

These are percentages of the overall road accident, injury and death rates shown to involve someone driving or using the road for work-related purposes, taken up to the most recently available figures.

Did you know that:

  • Four times more people are killed whilst using the road for a work-related purpose than for all other workplace activities combined?
  • In 2015 there were 1,730 fatalities and 22,144 serious injuries on Britain’s roads?
  • It is estimated that about one-third of these casualties were using the road for a work-related purpose? This equates to about 12 people every week losing their life while driving for work.
  • Over 80% of road crashes are the direct result of driver error. If we include those crashes where vehicle defects were partly or wholly responsible then this figure rises to over 90%?
  • A staggering 35% of businesses don't even check their employees' licenses?
  • Car and van drivers are among those most at risk?
  • Most work-related road deaths and injuries do not have to be reported under RIDDOR although employers have a duty to manage Occupational Road Safety effectively?

Let's look at some of these statements in more depth. For a lorry or bus / coach driver to obtain their Vocational Driving Licence they have to undertake a medical and then pass both theory and practical driving tests. Once they have their licence they then have to complete their mandatory 35 hours Driver CPC training every five years. Also, their journeys and working hours are controlled by EU and Domestic Driving Hours regulations which are monitored through the use of tachographs. None of these regulations apply to those who have to drive a car or van as part of their work.

As a further example click on this link to discover how a large number of businesses are neglecting the management of their van fleets.

A detailed research project run jointly by the Department for Transport and the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) found, amongst other things, that high work-mileage drivers showed a very high proportion of those who knowingly took risks, or were at risk, in a number of critical areas:

  • Driving while highly fatigued, especially during the highest-risk time of the day (between 2pm and 5pm)
  • Using mobile telephones, whether hands free or otherwise

Do you include daily vehicle checks within your 'Driving for Work' Policy?

  • Eating or drinking whilst at the wheel
  • While under time pressure to reach meetings, make deliveries or reach destinations due to poor management and scheduling
  • While on a long journey after a full day at work
  • While searching for signs and directions in unfamiliar areas

Generally the research also found that poor management systems were blamed for increasing driver stress and for failing to deliver systems that will sufficiently inform driving risk assessments

It was found that the most critical factors leading to high risk and possible accidents were:

  • Training
  • Fatigue
  • Pressure
  • Incident management
  • Communications

Detailed examination also found that, for the period of 1992 to 2001, whilst overall road fatalities had dropped, the proportion including the groups most likely to have work-related road accidents had not. In real terms, this meant that the proportion of the total road fatality figures including work-related road users was increasing.

It is estimated that 1 in 3 company drivers will be involved in an accident each year.

For someone who is required, by virtue of their job, to drive a high number of work-related miles per year, the risk of dying in a road accident is significantly higher than the risk of dying from any other work related activity.

It is estimated that 1 in 3 company drivers will be involved in an accident each year

A separate TRL investigation in 1999 showed that company car drivers are between 30% and 50% more likely to have a road accident than other road users.

Research into related insurance claims shows the overall accident ratio to be, if anything, higher than the official figures, with up to 33% of all road traffic accidents involving someone at work at the time.

Consider the cost of one road death caused during a work-related road accident. Whilst the obvious costs of vehicle loss, staff loss and third party damages claims are obvious, the human cost is irretrievable. Vehicles and property can be replaced, human life cannot.

In addition, should it be found that the accident was as a result of management failure in some way, such as the company driver being put under unreasonable time pressure leading to stress and fatigue, then not only could the driver (if alive…) be prosecuted but, under health and safety legislation, so will the employer.

Charges of manslaughter leading to unlimited fines and prison sentences can and have been implemented. It is the employer's responsibility to take all of the necessary action under health and safety law to manage and eliminate, as far as is reasonably practicable, the risks associated with work-related driving.

Drivex Ltd has been established to help you achieve these ends. Fill in our online questionnaire now to find out exactly how much we can help you.

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The Drivex Approach to Managing Work-Related Road Risk

By taking a step-by-step approach and linking to the other safety and staff management procedures within an organisation, an efficient and robust system to manage Work-Related Road Risk (WRRR) can be put in place. Our 5-point plan uses the following elements to achieve this aim:

  • Review the wider safety objectives and how the organisation's leaders manage these objectives.
  • Review the WRRR systems and policies already in place.
  • Implement a Driver Risk Assessment Programme.
  • Implement a Programme to Improve WRRR.
  • Evaluate the performance of this Programme to Improve WRRR.

These steps can be taken one at a time or combined.

1. Review the wider safety objectives and how the organisation's leaders manage these objectives.

'Does your organisation have a policy for dealing with bad weather?'

Managing WRRR must form part of the organisation's overall risk management system. For it to be effective there needs to be a positive 'safety culture' which is reinforced by strong leadership from the top down.

 

2. Review the WRRR systems and policies already in place.

The objective of a review of current WRRR systems is to establish what systems are currently in place and to take a measure of their effectiveness. This shows if there are any areas of weakness which need to be addressed and gives the benchmark through which the effectiveness of any future actions can be measured.

 

3. Implement a Driver Risk Assessment Programme.

The driver is directly responsible for more than 90% of all road crashes so some form of driver assessment must form an integral part of any process in managing WRRR. Driver profiling is the most cost-effective and efficient method of conducting driver assessments and thus gaining an insight as to the best way of managing individual driver risk.

Our Low-cost Driver Profiling System takes a snapshot of each driver's:

  • Knowledge
  • Attitude
  • Skill
  • Experience

and combines this with data about the driving they do for work to give a measure of each driver's contribution to an organisation's exposure to WRRR. This means that any action taken in the next step can be far more efficient and tailor-made to the needs of each organisation.

 

4. Implement a Programme to Improve WRRR.

The action required in this step depends upon the outcome of the previous steps, but the overall aim is to improve the WRRR status of the organisation. For example, action taken might include a programme to improve driver behaviour, creating a more robust Driving for Work Policy, improving on-site traffic-flow or prohibiting the use of employees' own cars (this is not an exhaustive list by any means!).

5. Evaluate the performance of this Programme to Improve WRRR.

This step is the 'proof of the pudding' so to speak! A measure of the effectiveness of the steps taken shows how the management of WRRR has been improved and points the direction of any future actions needed.

 

Experience has shown that by following this 5-step process gives an organisation a thorough, efficient and self-perpetuating system for managing Work-Related Road Risk and thus reduces the exposure to falling foul of Health and Safety and Road Traffic legislation.

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Driving for Work Policy and Driver's Handbook

The Driving for Work Policy and the Driver's Handbook should be the cornerstone to managing your organisation's exposure to Work-Related Road Risk. These documents should comprise a complete description of the work-related driving duties and associated work processes you expect of all employees, including not only drivers but also their line managers and those responsible for fleet maintenance. In the event of any investigation into any driving incidents these documents would provide the reference from which the company's exposure to litigation may initially be assessed.
 

Driving for Work Policy

The Driving for Work Policy should be part of the overall Company Health and Safety Policy. It should include the following sections:
  • Company Statement regarding the Management of Work-Related Road Risk.
  • Description of Director(s), Manager(s) and others who are responsible for the Management of Work-Related Road Risk.
  • Formal procedures for assessing Work-Related Road Risk.
  • Vehicle acquisition and replacement procedure.
  • Vehicle use including any restrictions.
  • Routine vehicle checking, maintenance and servicing procedure.
  • Vehicle breakdown and accident policy.
  • Use of employees' own vehicles policy.
  • Moble phone and other in-vehicle technology policy.
  • Journey planning policy.
  • Alcohol and drugs policy.
  • Tiredness policy.
  • Driver Licence checking procedure.
  • Driver Assessment procedure including new recruits.
  • Incident investigation and remedial action procedure.
  • Legislative update procedure.

Within the policy there should be the provision for assessing occupational road risk. Some of these risks will be specific to the individual business (e.g. not all businessess require drivers to tow trailers). However, some risks are universal and apply to ALL businesses who require staff to drive (e.g. driver error is the single biggest contributory factor in road crashes). There should also be a procedure for regularly reviewing the validity and effectiveness of the policy and risk assessments carried out.

Driver's Handbook

The Driver's Hanbook is a document which sets out the specific elements of the driving for Work Policy that apply to those staff who are required to drive as part of their role. So this would include:
  • Company Statement regarding the Management of Work-Related Road Risk.
  • Description of Director(s), Manager(s) and others who are responsible for the Management of Work-Related Road Risk.
  • Vehicle use including any restrictions.
  • Routine vehicle checking, maintenance and servicing procedure.
  • Vehicle breakdown and accident policy.
  • Use of employees' own vehicles policy.
  • Moble phone and other in-vehicle technology policy.
  • Journey planning policy.
  • Alcohol and drugs policy.
  • Tiredness policy.
  • Driver Licence checking procedure.
  • Driver Assessment procedure including new recruits.
It is important that all of your at-work drivers, or those who might drive at work, have a copy of  your organisation’s Driver Handbook and that they have read and understood the policies which it sets out in order that they can comply with them on a day-to-day basis.
 
So, when it comes to a Driving for Work Policy
  • Does your business have one?
  • Do you provide your drivers with a vehicle handbook setting out details of your policies and procedures governing, for example, the use of mobile phones?
  • Do you regularly review your policies and procedures to take account of changes in legislation?

These are all legal requirements and if your organisation has five or more employees the Driving for Work Policy must be written down.

As part of our audit of your organisation's current management of it's work-related road risk status we can review your Driving For Work Policy and your Driver's Handbook and advise if any ammendments would be required. We can write these documents for you if you do not currently have them in place.

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Driving Licence Checks

Are you totally sure all your drivers’ licences are valid?
 
By setting up a Driving Licence checking system for your organisation we can help you managing a constantly changing roster of drivers and help reduce your insurance costs.
 
The abolition of the paper Counterpart Driving Licence from 8th June 2015 means that there is no longer a hard document that employers and trainers can check for such things as penalty points and provisional licence entitlements. We can help guide you through the correct procedure for checking driving licence status for your employees which not only meets the correct DVLA procedures but also ensures you don't fall foul of Data Protection regulations. For example, are you sure that:
  • Your drivers have the right type of licence (full, copy, HGV, PSV or provisional) for the work involved.
  • All relevant previous driver offences are identified (e.g. speeding, drink driving, driving with undue care and attention)
  • The stated number of points on the licence is correct
  • The driver lives at the address indicated
  • The name of the driver has been correctly identified
  • You are informed of all new offences – even if the driver does not tell you.
We can provide a range of links and reports to ensure problems have been highlighted before it’s too late. We ensure that when a problem occurs neither you or your organisation is also in the firing line. 
 
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Driver Risk Assessments

To assess the risk of any activity a measure of the following has to be made:

  1. What is the risk?
  2. Who or what is at risk?
  3. What is the likelihood of the risk?
  4. How can the risk be eliminated, reduced or managed?

Once the Risk Assessment has been made control measures need to be put into place to measure the effectiveness of the risk reduction measures taken and to ensure the whole procedure remains valid.

If we are to make a Risk Assessment of a driver then we need to take a measure of the following driver charecteristics:

  • Driver Knowledge
  • Driver Skill
  • Driver Experience
  • Driver Attitude

Interestingly, the first three of these characteristics tend to remain fairly consistent over say the course of a journey. However, driver attitude can vary massively over a short period of time, for example from one day to another or even during a journey.

Once these driver characteristics have been measured the information needs to be combined with information about the type(s) of journey the driver is making (e.g. journey purpose, vehicle type, daily and cumulative mileage etc.).

From this combined information the overall 'riskiness' of each driver can be assessed. This is exactly what the Drivex Driver Profiling System achieves. 

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Drivex Low-Cost Driver Risk Assessments

At Drivex we recognise that, as an employer, it may not be economical or appropriate to conduct in-vehicle assessments or training for all of your drivers. That is why we have developed our own Driver Risk Assessment Programme.

This excellent profiling tool allows employers to take a very efficient 'snapshot' of all of their driving staff, and the type of journeys they have to undertake. This enables the employer to quantify their company's exposure to Work-Related Road Risk.

Our Driver Risk Assessment Programme takes a measure of each driver's knowledge, skill, experience and attitude to driving, and combines this with information relating to their driving history, journey profiles and schedules, vehicle use etc. to identify where any areas of High Work-Related Road Risk might exist. Armed with this information, employers can then eliminate, reduce or manage those 'High Risk' areas much more efficiently, be it through changes to company policy, training, documentation etc.

The real value of our Driver Risk Assessment Programme is in the wealth of meaningful information it can provide. But take a look at the other benefits:

  • Each employee only needs about 30 minutes to complete his or her assessment, so minimal working time is lost.
  • Ideally suited to any size organisation, whether you have only a handful of drivers, or several thousand!

'The results we have obtained for clients using our Driver Profiling System have been astounding and they have certainly saved these clients significant time and money compared to alternative forms of driver assessments.'

  • The knowledge-based element of each Driver Risk Assessment is based upon the type of driving that each driver has to undertake.
  • Full report provided for each employer, showing the results of the assessment, together with a full analysis, and also how to use the results in the most effective way.
  • Very easy to accommodate changes to factors that influence employer's Work-Related Road Risk Status, e.g. when new staff join, or existing staff change roles within the organisation, or when transport, vehicle policy is changed etc.
  • Following on from the above point, the Driver Risk Assessment Programme can also be very easily introduced as part of the New Employee Induction process.
  • Easy to accommodate nationwide and multi-centre organisations, as well as single-site businesses.
  • Available as an on-line facility or paper-based.
  • Costs from only £30.00 per driver!!!

The results we have obtained for clients using our Driver Profiling System have been astounding and they have certainly saved these clients significant time and money compared to alternative forms of driver assessments.

Click here to view a sample Drivex Driver Risk Profile Report.

For more information about the Drivex Driver Risk Assessment programme, please contact us on 01983 810012.

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