Fleet risk management and road safety - A priority or an unnecessary burden?

The logistics sector continues to battle the safety challenges it faces with all road users and   with vulnerable road users in particular. With this in mind, transport managers are being urged to make sure their fleet risk management and road safety polices are given priority at Board Meetings and implemented rigorously.

Having direct access to the Board, transport managers are perfectly placed to ensure that such issues remain at the forefront of every fleet operator’s objectives. There is a very simple question they can ask the Board to gauge the importance of a company’s road safety policy: “Is our fleet risk management and road safety policy a priority or an unnecessary burden?”

On the whole, most companies will say is it vitally important. However, in reality and in practice this may not be the case. There have been many high profile accidents and incidents over the years that clearly show that too many companies do not have pro-active and robust processes in place. Failure to tackle these issues head on mean that they are only taken seriously in a reactive situation, when it is too late and the damage has been done!

Andrew Drewary, Consultant Accident Analyst for 3Sixty Fleet (www.3-sixtysolutions.co.uk) says: “Those who drive for a living have a professional qualification to back up their expertise. Unfortunately, it is clear that the driving standards and attitude of some drivers are falling and the profession is suffering. However, is it all down to the drivers or is it a reflection of the lack of support and direction they receive from their senior management team and directors?”

The most common excuses for not having a robust fleet risk management and road safety policy are: cost and the fact a company has not been involved in a major road traffic accident or incident. The latter may just be good fortune but when it does happen, the cost to the company will be far greater than the cost for implementing the correct processes in the first place.

A great example of the above scenario can be seen by watching the video embedded at the bottom of this post. This excellent video titled ‘Our Vehicles, Our Safety, Our Responsibility – improving road safety for vulnerable road users’ was produced by the CILT’s Transport & Logistics Safety Forum.

Drewary says: “The video produced by the CILT should be watched by every fleet operator within the logistics sector. It shows an all too familiar example of how road safety is dealt with at Board meetings. If it has not happened to us why invest in something that we have not needed before. Transport Managers should have a copy of this video with them each time they go into a Board Meeting, to ensure that the company takes road safety seriously.”

More and more companies within the industry are now considering and are even changing their approach to fleet risk management and road safety. However, only by improving your reactive processes and analysing the information obtained, will you be able identify the root causes of such accidents and incidents.

You should not just look at actual accidents and incidents involving a third party. You should ensure that your reactive process looks at all near misses as well. Failure to monitor your near misses may mean you lose an opportunity to identify issues that could prevent a future problem. Only then, when you fully understand why these incidents happen or could happen, can quality pro-active processes be implemented in the future.

Drewary continues: “The companies who are now changing the way they deal with their fleet risk management and road safety should be applauded for their pro-active approach. They are engaging more with their employees to ensure the culture change runs throughout their company. They can clearly see their investment will have massive returns with improved processes; greater corporate responsibility; an enhanced brand and safer roads for everyone!”

3Sixty Fleet provides independent fleet risk management solutions which have been specifically designed to assist the industry to change the way in which it deals with fleet risk management. If you want to know about what they can do for you then contact us on 0845 388 3883 or Andrew Drewary on 07817 043821