Look after your drivers

A tougher legal climate for company cars imposes a duty of care on both the fleet manager and the employee. How should this be managed?

Here's a couple of statistics that will probably worry you. In its 2006 report The Future of Motoring, the RAC found that 84% of the drivers it interviewed agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: 'I consider myself to be a law-abiding driver.' But then 19% admitted occasionally driving over the legal alcohol limit. This means that 3% of drivers think they're motoring saints even though they sometimes actually drive under the influence.

Among company car drivers, the percentage rises to 32%, making the hypocritical overlap 16%. Board directors take note: this could mean that perhaps one in five of your staff claims to be a stickler while actually being a liability. If you're responsible for such individuals, you should be alarmed, especially as business travel in the UK accounts for a third of the national travel total.

The whole issue of a duty of care towards employees using motor vehicles for company business generally falls to a company's fleet manager to consider and act upon. This has added a tricky further dimension to their main tasks of allotting budget spend wisely, shepherding the company's transport hardware, and negotiating with other departments - notably, human resources - to keep staff happy.

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