Brake, the road safety charity, has published a guidance pack for fleets on tackling driver distraction. Produced by Brake’s Fleet Safety Forum, the pack includes a survey report, best practice guidance for managers and an advice sheet for drivers, and is available for free to organisations that register for Road Safety Week.

The guidance includes expert advice delivered at a recent Brake webinar on tackling driver distraction with sponsorship from Romex, and the advice sheet provides practical tips for drivers on how they can avoid distraction. They are published alongside the results of a recent Brake survey of fleet managers, sponsored by Licence Bureau, focusing on how fleets are tackling this risk.

Driving is the most dangerous thing many of us do on a regular basis, and it requires full concentration. Distractions such as mobile phones are proven to severely impair driving ability [1]. In-vehicle technology such as sat navs can also cause fatal distractions: there have been cases of cyclists and pedestrians being hit by drivers who were fiddling with their sat navs instead of watching the road [2].

Encouragingly, 98% of fleets surveyed take some form of action on mobile phone risk, including educating drivers on the risks (58%) and banning all hand-held or hands-free mobile phone use at the wheel (28%). However, of fleets with sat navs installed, less than half (48%) require drivers not to adjust these while driving.

The resources are part of a resource pack for employers on driver distraction, available for free to companies that sign up for Road Safety Week.

Road Safety Week is the UK’s biggest road safety event, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of organisations, schools and communities. This year it takes place 18-24 November, with headline sponsors Romex and Specsavers, and the main theme ‘tune in to road safety‘.

Fleet managers are being encouraged to run activities during the week to promote key messages about avoiding distractions while at the wheel by, for example:

  • running a campaign encouraging staff/customers to make Brake’s Pledge on using roads safely, through special email bulletins or online;
  • including a road safety feature in your newsletter, magazine, intranet or website;
  • making a road safety display using the free posters from your e-action pack or by ordering additional resources from the Brake shop or sponsoring a giant Road Safety Week banner to display in your community;
  • running safe driving presentations for employees. Get trained to do this at Brake’s Pledge training courses; or
  • teaming up with local educators or community groups to run awareness-raising events or activities, such as Bright Days.

Find out more about activities you can run in Road Safety Week and what other organisations did last year.

If you’ve already registered for Road Safety Week please contact Brake to request these additions to your e-action pack on admin@brake.org.uk or +44 (0)1484 559909.

Roz Cumming, professional engagement manager at Brake, says: “Distraction at the wheel can have devastating consequences. These resources highlight the danger distracted drivers pose to themselves and other road users, and give clear guidance on the steps fleet managers can take against this risk. I urge all companies who employ people who drive for work to demonstrate their commitment to fleet safety by taking part in Road Safety Week, and by signing up to the Fleet Safety Forum to gain access to more resources like these.”

Les Owen from Licence Bureau says: “Having witnessed three fatal crashes and attended many more, in which it is believed at least one of the drivers was distracted, I do not want anyone to suffer the devastating effects these crashes cause. Those responsible for drivers at work know of the risks of distraction, yet so many are not doing simple things that can prevent collisions. We recommend introducing checks on what drivers are doing while driving, followed up by management action and communication to staff. This will help ensure all drivers in the company are aware of what can happen if they are distracted at the wheel. The advice in Brake’s Road Safety Week pack could help save lives – of drivers in your company as well as other road users. There is no excuse for managers not taking positive action: I know what a difference it makes.”

[1] Transport Research Laboratory (2009) Using a hands-free mobile whilst driving can be more dangerous than drink driving

[2] See for example: http://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/2013/7/30/drivesafe-issues-warning-on-risks-of-distractions-when-driving/47834/

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