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Fleet drivers could damage company reputation through road behaviour

22 August 2008

Company reputations could be at risk due to a significant rise in aggressive driving, according to RAC’s 20th annual Report on Motoring.

Road rage - a concept that didn’t even have a name in 1988 - is seen as one of the biggest changes in motoring over the last 20 years by company car drivers, along with the cost of motoring, congestion and speed cameras.

More than one in three of the business car drivers polled for the 2008 survey say they’ve been a victim of driving behaviour that has left them feeling physically threatened. Yet over half (55%) admit to shouting, swearing and making rude gestures at other motorists themselves.

To avoid this behaviour damaging the reputation of a company, RAC is calling for better training to ensure employees know how to drive responsibly and respectfully. The motoring organisation believes that the key to achieving this is through providing training so that courtesy and respect is instilled as part of the company culture from the outset.

Adrian Tink, RAC motoring strategist, said: “As numbers of cars and drivers on our roads increase, so will the motoring frustrations that lead to aggressive driver behaviour - unless we all make a conscious effort to respect our fellow road users.

“All eyes are focused on rising fuel prices which clearly affects the bottom line of any fleet business, but there’s another menace on our roads that we can control - behaviour. It’s worrying that millions of motorists are victims of a driving behaviour that didn’t even have a name 20 years ago.

“But despite being victims themselves, it’s shocking that even more drivers are prepared to admit to swearing, rudely gesturing and shouting at other drivers. This worrying behaviour becomes downright dangerous and can easily reflect badly on the business that driver represents, particularly if driving a branded vehicle.

“With better training for fleet drivers, this may make employees driving on business think twice about the effect their own behaviour has on their company, as well as others.”

In response, RAC wants to see an increased and more highly visible traffic police presence to act as a deterrent against aggressive behaviour and other motoring offences.

The report also showed that 75% of company car drivers would welcome a tightening of the drink-drive limit from the current 80mg of alcohol to 50mg, to bring it in line with other EU countries.

The report shows, however, that stress and fuel prices are not yet pushing company car drivers off the road.In fact, over half of respondents agree that they spend more time in their company car than previously, with 43% saying they are reliant on their car for more journeys and over a third (34%) are commuting longer distances to work.