A lot of industries use company cars are used as a way of attracting workers due to the allure of a newer car, and with currently just under 1 million company cars on the road they are distributed in no small numbers on our roads.
Many workers such as travelling sales staff and estate agents require a company car to allow them to perform their job in a reliable manner, however, recent statistics show that company car users may be more at risk in terms of driver safety.
Why are company car drivers more at risk?
Whilst company car drivers make up the minority of cars on the road, they account for a lot of road traffic collisions. According to the AA many drivers say they are under pressure to meet deadlines which often leads to sub-optimum driving. This increases the number of incidents they are involved in but not in the same way for motorists who own their own cars.
The AA research indicates that whilst company car owners are less likely to be involved in an incident due to inebriation or speeding, long term ‘driver burnout’ can cause momentary lapses in concentration which can seriously affect the safety of a driver.
In addition to the previous point, company car drivers often end up spending more time travelling covering more miles in a shorter space of time than drivers who own their own vehicle. This is why insurers tend to issue higher premiums to drivers of company cars.
Driver awareness company DriveTech states that putting in place more detailed driver risk management procedures could help reduce workplace incidents in company car drivers by up to 35%. However, there is no silver bullet solution and a multi-dimensional approach is needed.
What can be done to increase the safety of company car drivers?
Despite the impact that constant company car driving can have on an individual, there are some technological and behavioural changes that can be implemented to increase the safety of your drivers. Many businesses issue company car ‘handbooks’ that outline the expectations and requirements for car drivers however the key is getting them to follow these instructions.
Encourage your drivers to take breaks
If your company drivers are prone to making long journeys on top of their heavy work schedules it can lead to long-term fatigue. Encouraging your drivers to take a break during their work-related journeys can help to reduce tiredness and fatigue. Lorry-drivers are encouraged to take part in this through both guidelines and legal requirements.
Another way you can assess the relative safety of your driver’s performance is through the use of driver telematics. There are a number of quality options on the market that can give readings on the GPS location of a vehicle, average speed rates and braking distances. These provide your company with useful data that you can feedback to your drivers and make sure you have safe operators on the road.
The overall philosophy of an organisation can also have an impact on the driver safety rating for company drivers. Companies who take a safety-conscious attitude to all aspects of a workplace this often leads to the implementation of policies and procedures that will make drivers aware of road safety and the highway code.
Staying educated on the issues around driver safety is important
Supporting company car drivers is essential both for the productivity of your fleet and the safety of your employees. The HSE Network provides a variety of resources to increase your knowledge base around the subject of driver and fleet safety. Take a look at our article on driver telematics to find out about how new technologies are changing the approach companies are taking to driver safety.