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Man checking oil on his car

Encouraging staff to perform basic maintenance, such as oil checks, is vital says Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson outlines road risk strategy

I WAS talking to Steve Johnson today, who was calling to tell me about his new venture following the takeover of driver training company DriveTech by the AA. Steve found himself being made redundant. So he has elected to create his own small business called autoproactive, a PR, publicity and media relations consultancy dealing in occupational driver behaviour, driver risk management and road safety-related issues. It really is one of his specialities.

Apart from wishing Steve luck with his new business, I asked if he had any advice for small businesses who wanted to tackle the issue of driving on business-related road risks.

This is the five-point safety plan from autoproactive, which can be tailored to the size of your business.

Point One

Get your drivers to sign up to, and accept responsibility for, the guidance on safe driving contained within your policies and procedures. As an employer you are unlikely to fall foul of the law if you have made the guidance relating to driving for work purposes available, clear and unambiguous. But you must ensure that employees have somehow pro-actively accepted their responsibility for following the rules you have laid down.

Point Two

Implement a driving licence check for all those who drive on company business. It is NOT good enough just to make a physical check of the licence. The only way to verify legality is to do a proper check via the DVLA.

Point Three

Get all occupational drivers to complete online driver risk assessments and ensure that you receive a report from the supplier that you can interpret and thus take appropriate action.

Point Four

Arrange for appropriate training but only for those who need it – for example, those with a history of at-fault incidents or who are at high risk by virtue of the mileages they do, the environment in which they operate or the times of day they drive will probably need in-vehicle practical defensive driver training. Those at lesser risk can often benefit from cost-effective, topic-specific group workshops that keeps safety front of mind.

Point Five

Have unannounced vehicle checks on those staff who use their own car for business on your behalf. There is still huge ignorance around about the importance of maintaining tyres in a fit state, keeping windscreen washer bottles full, checking engine oil frequently and other checks that should be routinely carried out. Most drivers believe that relying on regular servicing is sufficient. But with ever-increasing intervals they must accept responsibility for the basic checks themselves.


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