When changes to the Road Traffic Act were implemented last summer, these were seen as an important milestone in changing driver behaviour. Moreover, while some drivers report making changes in their own driving habits, it appears as though the new regulations have had only minimal impact on UK roads. At least those are the findings of a new AA poll published last week.
The AA polled its current members on their own driving habits as well as what they observed among others. They related that information to the ability police have had, since August 2013, to issue fixed penalty notices for instances of careless driving. For about a year, the police have been on the lookout for things like tailgating and improper use of the middle lane.
Approximately 29% of the poll respondents say they have made changes to their own driving behaviours over the last year. Yet at the same time, only 26% say they have observed a noticeable change among others on the road. That means anywhere from 71% to 74% of drivers have not changed their habits despite the new risk of receiving a fixed penalty notice. Are your company drivers among them?Possible Solutions
One possible solution is a more visible police presence. Some 82% of the respondents believe more police on the roads is the only way to truly get people to change the way they drive. However, there was a big difference between younger and older drivers. Among drivers between the ages of 18 and 24, only 66% said that greater police presence would help. Older drivers support a larger police presence at a rate of 85%.
The AA's Paul Watters believe that enforcement is the key. He explains on the company’s website that the whole idea behind giving police more power was to dissuade drivers from careless driving ‘without clogging up the courts’. Yet simply giving the police the authority to write fixed penalty notices will not help if they are not actually doing it.
Greater enforcement would drive home the fact that the Government will not continue to tolerate careless driving. Meanwhile, the vast majority of British drivers continue to do careless things despite claiming that tailgating, honking, and mobile phone use are their biggest pet peeves among other drivers.Too Risky for You
At Fleet Licence Check, our experience with claims handling demonstrates to us just how dangerous careless driving can be. We urge our clients to constantly remind their drivers of the need for safe operation of company vehicles. There is too much risk involved to allow careless driving to go unchecked.
To that end, one of the things your company can do to protect itself is to conduct regular licence checks of all company drivers. A routine licence check is one way to discover if an employee has received a fixed penalty notice for tailgating even if that individual has not told you about it. Regular checks can reveal all sorts of problems with driving licences that employees might otherwise try to keep hidden.
You have worked too hard and sacrificed too much to build your business. Do not throw it all away by risking careless drivers who may not tell you about problems with their licences. Instead, work with Fleet Licence Check to perform routine checks on all your drivers.
1. The AA – http://www.theaa.com/newsroom/news-2014/fixed-penalty-for-tailgaters.html