That is one of the conclusions reached in the latest white paper issued on 24 June by IAM RoadSmart entitled Driver Education – What More Can Be Learned?
Whilst legislation around the need for driver risk management is very clear and already in place, application has proven difficult. This has resulted in a lack of clarity around the minimum standards required to be compliant.
The charity stated that many companies “check that their drivers have the appropriate licences and feel that their responsibility ends there. In some cases they may employ technology to monitor driver behaviour, but typically this is used more as a way of maximising operational efficiency as opposed to improving safety.”
The report also advocated that training should not be restricted to a one-off session – but to be a life-long continuous process.
Tony Greenidge, IAM RoadSmart business development director, added: “Perhaps we should require people to retake their test after a certain number of years? There is a growing belief that we should.
The report said: “It is well known that the standard driving test is designed to check whether a driver’s skill meets a minimum standard, but this does not necessarily prepare drivers for real-world scenarios.”
The report continued: “Indeed, the effectiveness of any training given to pass a driving test will vary depending on the age, profession and experience of the student. Furthermore, for most drivers, the driving test is the very last time their abilities are ever formally assessed.”
The report also considers the dangers of relying purely on technology, as in many cases the driving issues identified are not followed up with an appropriate and proactive driver training intervention.
It said: “Technology is often relied upon to provide a solution to poor driving. In itself however, it rarely influences driver behaviour or attitudes.”
Tony said: “While technology can tell you ‘how’ it cannot determine the ‘why,’ and it is this piece of the jigsaw that many businesses leave unanswered.”
He stressed the importance of improving the skills and increasingly the behaviours of business drivers, particularly given the ever-present challenge of smartphones.
Tony said in the report: “There is still nothing to replace the direct educational feedback delivered by a professionally qualified trainer who is actually experiencing what is going on around them. They help change the way you think by linking their advice to a real and live example.”
He said that many companies cite cost as the reason to not pursue a driver education programme for its employees. He said in the report: “Companies will spend £400 a month on leasing a car and they’ll factor in road tax, insurance, maintenance and fuel.”
Tony said: “Building the business case and securing the budget for driver training can involve a very long sign-off process. This seems odd when the cost of implementing a comprehensive risk management programme can be as little as just £5 per month, per driver.”
The report concluded that the benefits to improving the performance of those who drive on business can deliver massive cost savings for a very small level of investment.