Someone is killed or seriously injured on a UK road every 20 minutes. By reviewing our actions and attitudes to road safety we all have the power to make a difference and reduce the number of casualties. Appropriate action taken by companies and large fleet operators in particular can make a huge difference to road safety.
Road Safety Week is the largest road safety awareness initiative in the UK. The annual campaign, run by the road safety charity, Brake, challenges everyone to focus their attention on the importance of these issues. Brake is keen to emphasise that everyone has a responsibility to ‘Step Up for Safe Streets’ which is the theme of this year’s Road Safety Week campaign.
Road Safety Week is already embraced by hundreds of employers as it provides them with an opportunity to focus on health and safety issues that impact on their company and the wider community. Whilst road safety should be paramount all year round, Road Safety Week reminds employers of the role they have to play in keeping our roads and road users safe.
Businesses tend to buy motor insurance cover on a fleet insurance policy which can cover a very wide number of vehicles from a handful through to hundreds and in some instances thousands of vehicles. These policies are normally very flexible and can often provide “open” driving cover for vehicles hired temporarily, among other benefits. Motor fleet policies are often priced by insurance companies based on a few key factors – the number and type of vehicles in the fleet, and very importantly, the claims history of the fleet over the previous 3-5 years.
A significant feature of a fleet will be the general business activities of the Employer. A proportion of business activities that require a motor fleet policy are time sensitive activities. This may involve items being delivered on time, or employees required to get to various jobs on time. This will increase the risk of an accident and have an impact on the claims history. Alternatively, some business activities will require larger, heavy goods vehicles. These are more difficult to manage and require a proactive approach to training and safety awareness. Furthermore, if there are claims, then the claim costs are, on average, higher.
Motor fleet insurance premiums rise when the claims history is poor, therefore by analysing your claims history and identifying the causes of any claims, you can take steps to prevent reoccurrence. Not only will this enable you to address any road safety concerns, reduce accidents, casualties and vehicle damage but it will also prompt you to update your insurance policies to ensure they are fit for purpose.
Darren Rodgers, Associate Director at ABL Group has identified some actions employers can take to maximise safety within their motor fleets and improve the company’s safety performance:
Road Safety Week creates the ideal opportunity to remind employers of their duty of care to employees. Every employer has an obligation or duty of care to take the necessary steps to ensure that employees are safe at work. Under health and safety law, employers must carry out risk assessments to assess risks in the workplace, including whilst driving or using the roads. Employers also have a duty to provide safe equipment. It is essential that appropriate procedures are put in place to ensure vehicles are road worthy and minimise any risks associated with poorly maintained vehicles.
A recent study by a leading insurer revealed that 83% of drivers admitted that they switched off on routine journeys. Road Safety Week allows employers to review employees approaches towards road safety and address any negative behaviours exhibited whilst in charge of company vehicles. Some employees may be less cautious when driving work vehicles as they do not own the vehicles. This attitude can lead to more bumps and scrapes or in more serious cases, road accidents, which has a negative impact on all concerned. Speed awareness is another important behavioural trait that must be addressed to contribute to safer roads. An employer may choose to introduce technology to monitor behaviour and reinforce a safe driving culture. Dash cams or tachographs can be introduced alongside other incentives and penalties to promote safe driving, thus enabling companies to recognise employees who contribute to a safe driving culture, whilst taking steps to train and reform employees who present greater risks to the organisation, their own safety and that of other road users.
Employers can help to promote and raise awareness of Road Safety Week within their local communities. This could include sponsoring and participating in road safety events for local community groups or schools or organising a fundraising event to support the work of Brake, or another local road safety organisation. This will demonstrate that the employer is proactive about safer roads and can even generate positive PR for the company.
By reviewing health and safety policies and the company’s previous accidents and claims history, employers can put in place policies and procedures that maximise safety, lower insurance premiums and other running costs to the company whilst also promoting safe driving. Other company benefits include improved reputation, improved staff morale and improved staff retention.
For more information on motor fleet insurance and risk management, please contact Darren Rodgers.
Tel: 028 9099 3600