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Fleet managers and industry leaders hold ‘Driving for Work Summit’

16 February 2017

The Summit, hosted by the team behind the Driving for Better Business campaign, aims to aid the Department for Transport’s ambition to support and promote good practice in safer fleet management and occupational road safety. It helped to set the scene for a major new work-related road safety initiative scheduled for launch in the spring.

Highways England, the public sector company owned by the government and focused on operating, maintaining and modernise England’s strategic road network, is working with the campaign team to finalise a three-year programme that will engage a wide-range of stakeholders, including businesses and the public sector as well as government.

The Summit, held at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ London headquarters, saw fleet chiefs from a range of safety-focused employers including vehicle leasing and fleet management company Arval, Essex County Council, Michelin, Network Rail, Skanska, Tesco and Wolsley as well as representatives of ACFO, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association and the Freight Transport Association exchange views and identified ways to more effectively encourage better occupational road safety, fleet management and procurement.

Also involved in the Summit were senior representatives of many other work-related road safety-focused organisations including: Health and Safety Executive, HDI Global, IAM RoadSmart, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Thatcham Research, TRL (Transport Research Laboratory), Transport Safety Commission and Zurich Insurance.

Many of the ideas and initiatives discussed will be fed into the forthcoming campaign, which critically picks up on recommendations outlined in the Transport Safety Commission’s March 2015 report ‘UK Transport Safety: Who Is Responsible?’ and the government’s December 2015 road safety statement ‘Working Together To Build a Safer Road System’.

Key priorities outlined in those two reports included:

  • Working with employers to reduce road collisions at work, including HGVs
  • Encouraging uptake of safer cars through consumer information and government procurement methods
  • Recognition by the Health and Safety Executive, employers and government that work-related road casualties is a collective responsibility.

Further initiatives to be included in the reinvigorated future campaign are set to include:

  • Encouraging more fleets to utilise the online Fleet Safety Benchmarking project, which was launched last year and has so far been used by more than 100 businesses. Benchmarking is viewed as a highly effective way of improving corporate road safety.
  • Encouraging major fleets that have adopted work-related road safety programmes to cascade their knowledge and expertise through their supply chain to smaller organisations.
  • Urging more fleets to select vehicles equipped with ADAS technology, which is seen as a key development in the move to reduce road traffic collisions.
  • Promoting the fleet adoption of a wide-range of other life-saving in-vehicle crash avoidance technology such as electronic stability control as well as AEB by highlighting the global Stop The Crash Partnership, which is led by Thatcham Research in the UK.
  • Initiatives that will see government and public sector fleets further increasing their safety focus with the introduction of new vehicle buying standards including updated safety feature guidance.
  • Increase fleet and consumer awareness of the European New Car Assessment Programme, which provides buyers with a star-rating system based on vehicles’ safety and is now in its 20th year.

The ‘Working Together to Build a Safer Road System’ report calculated that the cost of road collisions to individuals, society and the economy was in excess of £16.3 billion per year.

Adrian Walsh, the executive director of RoadSafe which is working closely with Highways England to deliver the Driving for Better Business campaign, said, “Around a third of road traffic collisions involve a person at work, so there is clearly more that can be done by public and private sector fleets working together and in tandem with employers’ organisations, government and its agencies and road safety experts to support and promote good practice.

“Much information and advice is available and this summit focused on how that knowledge can be made more readily available. Our new programme is intended to accelerate the uptake of road safety initiatives by major fleets and SMEs operating company cars, ‘grey fleets’ and light vans to reduce the number of collisions involving drivers on business journeys.”

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