Employers must put the brake on young driver crashes

EMPLOYERS that allow young people to drive on work-related journeys must implement tougher policies and procedures than those typically associated with older drivers to help cut crashes involving motorists aged under 25 years old.

 

Fleet software and risk management specialist Jaama, which includes an industry-leading Electronic Driver Services (EDS) module within its product portfolio that delivers a driver and vehicle audit trail and embraces an online driver licence check with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency database, says organisations should:

  • Set a minimum age at which employees are allowed to drive both a company-provided vehicle or their own vehicle on business trips
  • Set a minimum time period between an employee, particularly a young person, passing their driving test and driving on company business
  • Stipulate that young drivers’ licences should be checked more frequently than those of older drivers
  • Limit by performance the type of cars young employees are allowed to drive on business journeys.
  • Test young drivers’ skills behind the wheel with a familiarisation drive under the watchful eye of the fleet manager prior to being allowed to driver alone on work-related journeys.

 

Road crashes are the major cause of death and injury among 15-24-year-old in Britain, according to a new report from the AA. The motoring organisation data for its ‘Young Drivers at Risk’ report also reveals that:

  • 23% of 18-24 year olds had crashed within six months of passing their test
  • One third of 18-24 year olds had been involved in an accident when driving
  • 28% had crashed by the time they were 21 years of age
  • First crashes were most likely to happen in the day time – only 13% happen at night.

 

Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust, said when launching the report: ‘It’s no secret that new and young drivers are disproportionately represented in road crashes and we need to work together to stem this tide of carnage.’

 

Martin Evans, Jaama’s sales and operations director, says employers have a critical role to play in cutting young driver death and injury on the roads.

 

He said: ‘The driver of any car can potentially become a killer. However, all the research shows that young drivers are most at risk.

 

‘Employers can try and limit those risks by, for example, not allowing young and newly qualified drivers to take to the wheel of vehicles above a prescribed brake horsepower (bhp) and also ensuring they are familiar with the vehicle.

 

‘We would also recommend a minimum age policy and a minimum time period between an employee passing their driving test and being allowed to drive for work. It is clear from the research that age and inexperience is a lethal combination in terms of road safety.’

 

Evans added: ‘Additionally, as part of corporate duty of care policies and procedures, fleet decision-makers should ensure staff skill levels are of a sufficient calibre to drive what will probably be a totally unfamiliar car.

 

‘And, even if young drivers are allowed to drive their own car on business, employers should still be satisfied that the employee has the required skills. Passing the driving test is only the first step on the road to a driving career.’

 

Not only are new drivers more likely to crash, but also they are allowed fewer penalty points before losing their licence. If a driver acquires six or more penalty points within the first two years of passing their first test, their licence is revoked. They must then obtain a provisional licence, drive as a learner and pass the theory and practical driving tests again.

Evans said: ‘This underlines the importance of organisations regularly checking the validity of licences held by young drivers.’


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