Fleets across the public, private and voluntary sectors are being urged to use a new online benchmarking tool to improve their at-work road safety, cut operating costs and boost business efficiency.
The tool is being delivered as a contribution to the work of the Occupational Road Safety Alliance (ORSA) by the team behind the Driving for Better Business (DfBB) campaign with backing from the Department for Transport and in collaboration with a range of fleet-related organisations. The free to use benchmarking tool, which will gather information on what processes are in place to manage work-related road safety from fleets of all types and sizes and measure their outcomes, is scheduled to be officially launched at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ (RoSPA) Road Safety Conference. It is being held on Wednesday, 2nd March, 2016 at the Holiday Inn, Stratford-upon-Avon.
A wide range of organisations have collaborated in the DfBB’s Fleet Safety Benchmarking Project including the Freight Transport Association’s Van Excellence programme, global provider of driver safety management solutions Interactive Driving Systems, RoSPA and TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) as well as Fleet Forum, an international interagency association whose focus includes sharing concerns about road safety and fleet efficiency. Support has also come from the Australian National Road Safety Partnership Programme. Adrian Walsh, director of RoadSafe which leads the government-backed DfBB, said: “Benchmarking can be a highly effective way of improving road safety in a corporate setting, knowing what is being done well helps to maintain momentum, but equally important is for fleet decision-makers to understand what can be done better.
“Identifying good practice comparing it across organisations is enormously valuable and encourages often simple but innovative solutions to what may appear to be complex problems. There is no doubt that by benchmarking, employers can develop sound business cases to identify where to invest to improve road safety. “Participating organisations will be able to identify areas of concern and draw on the knowledge and expertise of other employers that are excelling in that particular aspect of safe fleet operation, thus helping to drive continuous improvement, innovation and promote a shared responsibility across work-related road safety.
“In developing the online tool, we have heard from numerous organisations that there is little understanding of where to start collecting road safety data, what information to collect and how best to analyse and interpret the information once they have it. This benchmarking solution is designed to assist these processes by proving standardised methods through a secure online platform.” Work-related road incidents are calculated to account for around a quarter of all crashes with more employees killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads while driving on behalf of their employer than in any other employment activity,
The new tool is a significant enhancement of Interactive Driving Systems’ Fleet Safety Gap Analysis, an online 10-question solution that allows fleets to benchmark their own responses against those of currently almost 1,400 participants providing an insight into the safety of an organisation’s vehicles and drivers and how they rank against others.Rory Morgan, head of logistics support, Western Europe at document storage specialist Iron Mountain, which operates a UK fleet of 220 commercial vehicles of which 60% are light vans but also includes articulated HGVs, is a supporter of benchmarking.
“Benchmarking gives decision-makers a clear idea of how poor their fleet performance is or how well they are doing,” said Mr Morgan, who has spearheaded the company’s multi-award winning occupational road risk management initiative that was launched eight years ago and has seen the company become a DfBB champion. “As a fleet manager unless you see comparative data you cannot possible know what good looks like. Seeing where your fleet ranks against other operators provides targets to achieve and highlights where improvements can be made.”
Iron Mountain records every single vehicle incident, including stone chips, and 60% are low speed reversing. Last year the company recorded an average incident rate of 0.74 per vehicle. An urban-based fleet, Mr Morgan, chairman of the governance committee of the Freight Transport Association’s Van Excellence initiative, explained: “Trend analysis is an important aspect of benchmarking. Our priority in 2016 is to reduce the number of low speed reversing incidents. “Other companies must be suffering similar incidents and some may have implemented solutions to solve the problem. Benchmarking promotes discussion and investigation and the sharing of best practice.
“Through benchmarking if you can see the categories where incidents happen – low speed reversing, car parks, at-fault, third party etc. – and compare your record with similar and different fleets then you have an idea of what best practice looks like and an action plan can be implemented.” Mr Morgan, a user of Interactive Driving Systems’ online benchmarking tool, added: “We believe we have a good incident record, but we are not and never will be complacent, improvements can always be made. Everyone is striving for zero incidents.”
Tracey Fuller, customer engagement manager and road safety ambassador at leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company Arval, a long-time DfBB champion, has used Interactive Driving Systems’ benchmarking solution with customers. “I totally support DfBB’s initiative because benchmarking gives fleets a baseline comparison with other organisations from which they can implement an action plan to improve,” said Mrs Fuller.
“Fleets should not get hung up with benchmarking against like-for-like operations, we are all seeking to reduce risk, implement road safety measures, cut costs and implement safety measures that make the roads safer for everyone. However, there are clear benefits for like-for-like benchmarking if you can do it, and I would encourage networking and sharing of good practice across similar fleet operations. “It is really important for businesses where they are trying to obtain buy-in from stakeholders if they can benchmark and then use that information as a platform to increase buy-in. Benchmarking gives fleet decision-makers a voice to use information gathered and formulate an action plan.”
Highlighting that when answering questions in a benchmarking exercise it was critical for fleet chiefs to be “honest and transparent”, Mrs Fuller said: “Benchmarking results ideally would support fleet performance. If benchmarking highlighted good results but in reality incident records did not support that performance I would be challenging my benchmarking responses. “Benchmarking provides confirmation of road risk management performance versus other fleets and identifies areas of strengths and weakness. Participants can then engage in dialogue with their peers to learn how other organisations have tackled problem areas and then implement their own improvement action plans.”