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Graham Hurdle blog: 17th December - All I Want For Christmas is safer drivers

Date: 17 December 2014

Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World

My final road safety meeting of 2014 was with a driver who wasn't a frequent traveller, but was about to embark on an incredibly long trip.

He'd been referred to me to carry out a quick online assessment and to see if any driver training was needed.

Whilst at the meeting we discussed his driving requirements, which seemed to involve frequent stops, and I was concerned that he was being put under too much time pressure to make his deliveries. Another worry was that most of his driving was at night and through a wide range of different weather conditions.

However, his situation was not too dissimilar to many at-work drivers I meet each year. Driving in cold icy weather, wet weather, in the dark, in high winds, in glaring sunshine, not taking time to carry out vehicle checks, ignoring the need to take frequent breaks on longer journeys, and under pressure every day to squeeze in as many appointments, visits or deliveries as they can.

We looked at his vehicle and it didn't seem to be in the condition I would expect for his line of work - a single seater, open top contraption. He said, whilst it didn't look up to much, it flew past other vehicles and could be parked on roofs, to which I noted that he may need our speed awareness and parking & manoeuvring courses.

We talked about his employer's policy on vehicle checks. He said he'd heard there was a handbook somewhere, but had never read it. Something else I come across in the corporate sector. The good news, he said, was that he had no illnesses and wasn't taking any medication, and so 'at least he'd got his elf!'

I asked him if there was any particular aspect of his driving that was unique or different. He felt safe loading was important and a need to understand road laws in every country in the world.

It worried me that he didn't even know all of the road signs and laws in the UK, although the section of our risk assessment that most drivers fall down on is the 'Knowledge' section - mainly because many haven't read a copy of the Highway code since they passed their test.

In the end I concluded that this jolly driver wasn't too different to many in the corporate sector. I wished him well, and checked he'd got my address as I was hoping he had a delivery for me too!

So, have a happy Christmas everyone - and please come back in the New Year with plans to make our company and grey fleet drivers even safer in 2015.



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