Commercial Vehicle Insight: Is Enough Being Done to Ensure the Safety of Van Drivers?

Commercial vehicle operators are clearly aware of their legislative requirements when it comes to the management of road risk.

Recent research by TomTom discovered 91% include work-related road safety within overall health and safety policy, while 97% conduct regular vehicle safety checks.

Both clear policy and safety checks are obligatory under Health and Safety at Work regulations, so it is encouraging to see so many companies taking the necessary action.

Ultimately, the vehicle is regarded as a workplace, so employers have a duty of care towards their staff in making sure risk related to this environment is minimised – from scheduling regular maintenance checks to ensuring loads are properly secured, not exceeding weight limits.

But if operators have a handle on the issue, why are insurance premiums continuing to rise?

Almost half of those surveyed say fleet insurance premiums have risen over the past year – a situation which might be avoided through an even more comprehensive approach to risk management.

Rather than focusing solely on their legislative requirements, companies would be better served by striving for a best practice approach.

Schemes such as the Freight Transport Association’s Van Excellence programme have been forged for this reason, encouraging CV operators to go one step further by guaranteeing the highest possible operational standards.

Further than establishing a road safety policy and conducting vehicle checks, this involves a greater examination into the behaviour of the drivers themselves. Currently, a third of all road accidents are believed to be work related and driver error remains the single largest cause of collisions.

Only 44% of those surveyed use technology to monitor driver performance but this can act as a particularly powerful mechanism for improving safety, reducing collision rates and controlling insurance premiums.

Management are given access to actionable data regarding all aspects of driving performance, allowing them to identify instances of speeding or harsh steering and braking. Real-time feedback also empowers the driver to make changes on the spot, through audible alerts on their in-cab navigation device.

Aligned with driver training, such insight becomes even more valuable. The data highlights areas where particular attention is needed, allowing training budgets to be allocated more efficiently and drivers to be coached through any issues they may be having.

The result is a safer, more efficient workforce and a significantly reduced risk profile. The ability to demonstrate such improvements to an insurer could also mean a reversal of the current trend in premium costs, with a number of schemes now offered to help businesses reduce costs by taking clear steps to reduce risk.

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Dec 10, 2013 | Posted by in News | Comments Off
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