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Safety campaign urges LCV fleets to drive forward with crash and emissions savings to deliver cost reductions

13 April 2010

Cost control, occupational road risk management and carbon footprint reduction are three agenda-topping but inextricably linked issues that should be focusing the minds of most fleet decision-makers, according to the 'Driving for Better Business' campaign.

It is for that reason that the Government-backed campaign, which is delivered by RoadSafe, continues to support the Van Best Practice programme, which is a reinforcement of the message that good management improves profit and also makes for a safer, cleaner world.

The two organisations are working together at the Commercial Vehicle Operator Show at the NEC, Birmingham, from April 13-15, to spread the message to public and private sector fleets that the three issues must be treated collectively and not individually.

The Van Best Practice programme has already launched a range of best practice guides to help van fleets to improve safety, cut running costs and reduce environmental impact and further publications are in the pipeline.

‘Driving for Better Business’ campaign director Caroline Scurr said: “We are delighted to promote the guides to all the businesses we work with on the campaign.

“For the last three years we have sought to work in partnership with safety professionals, leading organisations and experts in the fleet industry to ensure that businesses of all sizes have access to impartial and reliable information on fleet safety issues. We are therefore pleased to be working in partnership with the Van Best Practice programme to further ensure that this can be achieved.”

Almost 50 organisations from the public and private sectors are now engaged by the campaign as ‘business champions’. They promote the financial, legal and moral reasons for organisations to invest in at-work driving safety.

With an estimated up to 200 road deaths and serious injuries a week resulting from crashes involving at work drivers, and more employees killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads while driving on behalf of their employer than in any other work-related activity, there is an ever tightening legislative crackdown to reduce the toll.

Many of Britain’s largest light commercial vehicle fleets have been recruited as ‘business champions’. They include: The Royal Mail, BT, Centrica, TNT Express, Tesco.com, Balfour Beatty Plant and Fleet Services, Atkins, Scottish and Southern Energy, United Utilities Operational Services, Wolseley and Britain’s largest vehicle rental company, Northgate, which operates a van-dominated fleet.

Ms Scurr added: “The guides on the Van Best Practice website are an excellent example of some of the free advice available to van operators of all sizes. Many of the campaign’s ‘business champions’ we work with have found the guides useful in improving the safety and efficiency of their fleets and we would actively encourage others to refer to the information.”

She added: “Case study evidence from the ‘business champions’ supports a significant weight of industry research that concludes that investing in safety delivers financial savings of at least 30% from reductions in road crash rates. Simultaneously, a safe driver is likely to be driving in a more environmentally-friendly manner thereby also delivering fuel and emission savings.

“All fleet operators should be striving to bring avoidable costs under control. Effective management of those who drive for work is an important element of general management - if it isn’t addressed properly, the negative impact on profit can be very significant.”

Among the key errors that van drivers make that result in road crashes are: driving too fast for the road and weather conditions or exceeding speed limits; carrying loads that are too large or too heavy for the vehicle; and driving when tired. Other errors include a failure to conduct regular vehicle safety checks.

Department for Transport data reveals that in 2008, the most recent years for which statistics are available, 43 light goods vehicle occupants (36 drivers and seven passengers) were killed in road crashes; 402 were seriously injured (312 drivers and 90 passengers) and 4,468 drivers and passengers were slightly injured. In total 13,621 vans were involved in road crashes in 2008 in which a total of 17,905 people were either killed or injured.

Van Best Practice programme guides so far available are: ‘The Efficient Vans Guide’, the ‘Fuel Management Pack’, the ‘Safe Vans Guide’ and a ‘Driver Essentials Pack’.

For more information on the Van Best Practice programme click here, or to access the guides phone 0300 123 1133.

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