Driver training can help to reduce fleet costs and keep employers on the right side of the legal road, says Tom Washington
Driver training can counteract or reduce many of the risks and costs involved in having employees on the road. It is a way for employers to fulfil their corporate risk responsibilities and, in turn, to reduce the possibility of any future driving-related litigation being successful.
Training drivers on road-related risk can help employers to meet their legal and duty-of-care responsibilities. For example, the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 in April this year means that employers can now be prosecuted if there is deemed to have been a gross corporate failing in the management of health and safety with fatal consequences.
Rick Wood, head of training, driver and fleet services at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, says: “Organisations are becoming more aware of their corporate responsibilities and looking for ways to ensure they don’t fall foul of legislation.”
Before offering driver training, employers must assess the risk of their drivers to see where problems may lie. This can be done by using an online psychometric profiling test that identifies who may be at risk and pinpoints areas where intervention is needed. The type of cars employees drive as well as their annual mileage will be taken into consideration so that drivers who are not considered to be at risk can be either be exempted from training, or schemes can be tailored to meet the needs of different groups.
For example, higher-risk drivers may be required to take part in group theory workshops or individual practical sessions. The latter are likely to involve the revision of basic driving awareness and practical strategies. Online theory tests can also be sent out to drivers.
With fuel prices still high, driver training can also help to reduce costs by teaching staff simple techniques to increase fuel efficiency while on the road. It can also enable employers to fulfil their corporate social responsibility requirements by providing training on how to reduce their carbon footprint in respect of company cars.
Simon Elstow, commercial head of training at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, says some courses can help to ease the financial strain on employers. “Fuel and vehicle costs are the core elements of any [organisation’s] fleet expenditure. [Our] Ecolution [product, for example] teaches simple driving techniques that can be easily adopted into driving behaviour and have a significant impact on fleet running costs,” he says.
The cost of providing training varies according to the number of staff and type of training needed. A half-day one-to-one session costs between £175 and £225 per employee while group theory sessions for 15 to 20 employees cost around £250 per group. Initial profiling costs are around £15 per employee.
However, the outgoings employers incur in training drivers can be recouped in the form of fewer accident claims and hence reduced insurance premiums. Wood says driver training can cut claims frequency by 20%
What is driver training?
Driver training is a way of reducing fleet risk and costs by sending drivers for external training intended to improve driving skills and road safety awareness. Practical or theory training can be provided, depending on the nature of the risk.
Where can employers get more information?
Employers can access free resources at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) by visiting www.rospa.com, where a guide to driver training produced with the support of the Department For Transport can be found.
The main providers in the market include:
• BSM Fleet Training
• Drive and Survive UK
• Driving Services UK
• Technica Training