Graham Hurdle's blog: 15 October 2013 - More cash, more crash
15 October 2013
Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World
Good news! According to chancellor George Osbourne, the economy is improving. Bad news! This could lead to accidents, deaths and injuries of at-work drivers increasing.
Why do I reach this conclusion? Over the past five years both companies and drivers have looked at ways to save money.
They've also been less busy. After all, during a recession there's less need to travel, and a recent Department for Transport report has revealed that from 2002 to 2012, average company car mileage fell by 4.4% from 20,300 to 19,400 miles, and the average annual business mileage reduced by 12.7% from 8700 to 7600 miles.
Admittedly, those statistics are measured across a decade, yet the period of the credit crunch and recession makes up a reasonably hefty chunk from 2009.
As transport is a huge cost to both companies and the private driver, speeds have reduced to save fuel, unnecessary journeys have been avoided and traffic volumes have decreased. This, in my view, has led to a reduction in the road accident statistics.
However, with frugal grey fleet drivers spending less on vehicle maintenance, plus fewer police traffic officers on our roads and yet more distractions in our vehicles, where has the recession really left the fleet sector?
Now that we appear to be coming into a period of prosperity, will those traffic officer numbers return to what they were previously?
Will private motorists, using their cars for business travel, all start doing those vehicle maintenance tasks again, such as replacing tyres on time or having a regular service?
More of us will also be getting frustrated with traffic jams and trying to make up time by driving at inappropriate speeds. Company car and van drivers will be expected to cover more miles in less time to meet growing demand.
If your company has seen a reduction in road crashes over the past few years, it will be easy to be complacent and think you don't need to do anything.
But as your order book becomes fuller and your drivers busier with increased stress, you may find your profits not improving as much as you expected due to the cost of dealing with accidents! So maybe now is the time, as things improve, to set aside some of that improving revenue to invest in road safety for your fleet.