Graham Hurdle blog: 22nd August: you can't get caught speeding on a bend!
22 August 2014
Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World
I recently watched a TV programme about 100 year old drivers, which was clearly made for entertainment. But I always feel with programmes like these that the makers should portray a balanced view, rather than just show sensationalist footage.
On the whole they succeeded this time, because to assess whether these senior drivers were up to the task of driving safely, the production crew used the services of an Approved Driving Instructor.
One elderly gentleman thought that although he had made a' few minor mistakes', he drove safely and with confidence. What surprised me was that the instructor agreed, saying to the pensioner, he would 'benefit from a few lessons, but was considered safe to drive".
This was despite the fact that during his assessment drive the instructor had to take control of the steering wheel on at least two occasions; even on a basic driving test this would have been a fail!
In my view this highlights the challenge of having drivers assessed on road, because it brings attention to 2 key problems.
Firstly, an assessment in-vehicle can never be truly objective. We are all human and could be feeling 'generous' on the day, giving a driver the benefit of the doubt for certain misdemeanors, or being over-picky and a bit harsh on someone. I personally felt that, on this occasion, the driver was let off because his ability was being based on his age. I'm sure someone in their 30s or 40s would not have been classed as safe if the instructor had had to grab their steering wheel!
Secondly, as human beings, we don't always like to deliver bad news to someone we like. How easy would you find it to tell a pensioner, who feels they drive safely and relies on their car, that they shouldn't really be driving? (Which I'm not saying was the case for this driver)
This is one of the reasons why online driver profiling has become so popular in the fleet sector. As well as being low in cost and quick to conduct, it is completely objective and fair. After all, the computer attaches no emotion or importance to a driver (whether they are a new member of staff or the CEO) - it simply calculates their risk rating based on how well they've performed in the assessment.
Once the Fleet Manager has accurate data on each driver he/she can resource appropriate training. This could be again online or, for those who need additional training, the services of a good Driving Instructor are invaluable.
On a final note, one comment from an elderly lady during the TV programme amused me. She said, "You can't get caught speeding on a bend". If the programme makers are reading this, I'd be very happy to send her a free login to our Speed Awareness course!