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Fleet vehicle abuse puts safety at risk and hits cost control

30 September 2008

Thousands of company car and van drivers are abusing their vehicles putting their employers in breach of health and safety legislation and inflating fleet operating costs, according to photographic evidence recorded by Fleet Support Group.

The company’s nationwide network of approved Masterserve garages are equipped with Masterview - a unique remote video inspection system that enables fleet managers to view the condition of vehicles and components anywhere around the country, either in real time or recorded for later transmission.

When vehicles are booked into Masterserve garages for service and repair, a video link allows Fleet Support Group maintenance experts at its Chippenham headquarters to view live pictures via a broadband link. When vehicle abuse is detected, fleet managers in charge of the damaged vehicles are informed and shown the evidence.

Geoffrey Bray, chairman of Fleet Support Group, which backs the ‘Driving for Better Business’ initiative. said: “Masterview has highlighted numerous horror stories to fleet managers as to exactly what damage drivers are causing to company vehicles.

“On viewing the live pictures fleet managers are often horrified at the condition of some of their vehicles. They then use Masterview to police the situation. The technology particularly comes into its own when vehicles are located away from where fleet managers can undertake their own vehicle inspections.”

As a result of the abuse uncovered, Fleet Support Group has launched a new campaign called ‘Are Your Vehicles Fit For Purpose’, which supports the company’s long-established RiskMaster work-related road safety programme.

“Part of the RiskMaster tool is to have random vehicle inspections to see what drivers are doing to their vehicles,” said Mr Bray.

Examples of driver vehicle abuse, which not only impacts on safety but also on a company’s image, costs money to repair and hits car and van residual values, include:

  • Interior and bodywork damage
  • Illegal tyres
  • Badly worn brake discs and pads
  • A badly worn clutch causing overheating
  • A vehicle used as a rubbish dump

Mr Bray said: “As employers, companies have a duty to manage work-related road safety and to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable practicable steps to ensure the safety of their drivers and other users. In addition, companies are responsible for ensuring that their vehicles are fit for purpose. The range of vehicle damage that we uncover invariably results in companies taking swift action to stem the abuse.

“Our Masterview system enables fleet managers to keep an eye on their vehicles to make sure they are roadworthy, are being driven well and are properly cared for and thereby conforming with duty of care regulations. By actively encouraging drivers to care for their vehicles, fleet operating costs are reduced and vehicle values maintained.”

For further details about Fleet Safety Group’s products and services visit the website (http://www.fsguk.com)