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Business Champions are Cornerstone of Government Campaign

18 December 2007

The ‘Driving for Better Business’ initiative and its ‘business champions’ are the cornerstone of the Government’s driving at work safety campaign. In the sixth of a series of articles Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick explains why businesses - large and small - should get involved in the programme.

There are far too many accidents on Britain’s roads involving vehicles driven for work with the result that around 200 people are killed and seriously injured each week, a figure that is far too high, according to Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick.

As a result, the Government says that in reducing the carnage on the UK’s roads - of a total of 3,172 people were killed last year of which up to a third of incidents involved someone driving for work - targeting occupational drivers is essential.

“In practice, that means tackling a huge number of diverse groups, from the sales rep, to the White Van Man. It is a huge task. But the good news is that more and more businesses are coming to recognise that focusing on road safety is not only good for society, it makes good business sense as well,” said Mr Fitzpatrick at a recent ‘Best of Best Fleet Safety Conference’.

The Department for Transport believes that driving for work can, and should be managed like any other part of any business. As a result, not only will fewer accidents make for a more efficient and economic operation, but companies also have a legal duty for their workers and the driving element of their work.

It is for those reasons that the ‘Driving for Better Business’ initiative, the Department for Transport is promoting via RoadSafe, a partnership of leading companies in the motor and transport industries, is a vital component in the Government’s drive to reduce road crashes.

As Fleet World has already highlighted organisations as varied as BSkyB, BT, Cambridgeshire County Council, Central Auto Supplies, Centrica, CGG Veritas, Chamberlain Doors, Chelmsford Electrical, GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services, Maxi Haulage NKL Automotive, Pickfords, Scottish and Southern Energy, T-Mobile, Tesco.com and Whitbread are already on board as ‘business champions’ to carry the torch for safer driving.

In 2008, RoadSafe hopes that more businesses will come forward to promote best practice occupational road risk management and explain to other businesses the benefits - financial, legal and moral - achieved.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “We all recognise the stereotype of the road warrior sales rep. But the reality is that there are millions of people quite like that on our roads each day who work long hours and rush between appointments.

“So we need to spell out to them and their employers that pushing the boundaries by, for example, driving when they are tired is not safe.

Companies, large and small, that have become ‘business champions’ have found that they not only have the number of crashes involving their staff reduced as a result of taking driver training and safety seriously, they have also boosted business efficiency and enhanced their profits.

“Each and every company that embraces safer driving gives us a better chance of reducing the 20 deaths each week that are associated with driving for work. So it is critical that we get this message across. Driving for work should not be a deadly occupation,” explained Mr Fitzpatrick.

Aside from the ‘business champions’, the ‘Driving for Better Business’ campaign also has four pilot trials running to examine the best way of getting more ‘business champions’ on board. Managing the pilot programmes and engaging with businesses are: Cambridgeshire County Council, Devon County Council, the Electrical Contractors’ Association and the Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers.

Interested in becoming a ‘business champion’ then email cscurr@roadsafe.com.

Further information is also available at: