February 2014 Newsletter

Driver

DVLA Review

The Department for Transport has commissioned a review that was published in February 2014in order to improve the quality and range of services offered by DVLA. The recommendations and proposals for further action are set out under four key themes:

  1. DVLA must accelerate and expand its digital transformation.
  2. Reduce the burden of its requirements on consumers and businesses and open up the way for others outside of government to deliver some of its services
  3. DVLA must have a governance and management structure fit for the new world in which it will operate.
  4. DVLA’s value as a service provider of government should be optimised with the creation of a centre of digital excellence.
    In order to increase the amount of online services, it is necessary to have a modern IT platform, which will allow increased flexibility in the way the services are delivered.

To reduce the burden, it is necessary to change and challenge some longstanding policies and practices such as the driving licence renewal age, and the way that services, such as drivers’ medical assessments are delivered.

A digital centre will enable DVLA to comply with the government’s overall strategy for sharing functions and services across departmental and agency boundaries.

Click here for more information.

Click here to read the full review.

Call to raise driver’s licence renew age to 80

The recommendations to increase the age of driving licence renew to 80 years of age has caused some worries amongst safety organisations.

Currently drivers must send their licence to be renewed when they reach 70, declaring if they have any medical conditions which could affect their driving, and confirming they can still read a number plate at 65ft. After 70, they must reapply every three years to keep driving.

But with the population living longer while still being fit to drive, the DVLA is finding it hard to cope.

According to Daily Mail, nearly 60 per cent of over 70s now drive – up 15 per cent from 1975. Over the past decade the number of drivers the DVLA medically assesses a year has jumped more than 50 per cent, from under 500,000 to 750,000.

Kevin Clinton, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: ‘Changing the renewal age from 70 to 80 should only be done on the basis of evidence that this would not increase risk.’

A spokesman for road safety charity Brake said: ‘It is concerning the DfT is considering raising the age for licence renewal. The regulation that’s in place is there for a reason. At this age, conditions that can significantly impair your ability to drive safely become much more common, so it’s essential we have robust procedures to ensure older drivers are not inadvertently putting themselves and others in grave danger.’

Click here to read the full article.

Research: Driving under the Influenza

A study by Confused.com in partnership with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society reveals that nearly two thirds of motorists (64%) admit they’ve driven after taking cold and flu medication, despite the potential risks of drowsiness and reduced concentration levels.
According to the research, the most common side effects of driving under the influence of cold and flu medication include feeling lethargic (6%) and feeling drowsy (5%). Slower reaction times, low concentration levels and blurry eyesight were also listed as common afflictions.

The research also reveals:

  • Nearly one in in seven (13%) motorists who have taken cold or flu medication has suffered side effects behind the wheel.
  • Over two thirds of Brits (67%) are unaware that some cold & flu medication can contain alcohol.
  • Nearly two thirds of motorists (64%) admit they’ve driven after taking cold and flu medication, despite the potential risks of drowsiness and reduced concentration level.
  • Over the last 3 years (2011-2013) UK police forces* convicted 2,676 motorists who were driving under the influence of legal and illegal drugs – including codeine, paracetamol and sleeping pills.
  • More than one in six (17%) people call for harsher penalties for those caught driving whilst under the influence of cold and flu medication.
  • A third of people (33%) admit to never reading the advice leaflet when taking medication to see if they could suffer from possible side effects, such as drowsiness and/or tiredness, which could make it unsafe for them to drive.
  • Nearly one in six (16%) Brits admit to exceeding the recommended dose too, which can also impair driving ability.

Click here for more information.

RoSPA Driving for Work: Drink and Drugs Policy

Driving is the most dangerous work activity that most people do. Research indicates that about 150 people are killed and seriously injured every week in crashes involving someone who was driving, riding or otherwise using the road for work.

Despite 30 years of drink drive education and enforcement, around 100,000 people are still caught drink driving annually, and face a driving ban of at least 12 months, a large fine and possible imprisonment. It is also an offence to be unfit to drive through drink, even if below the legal limit, or drugs. The penalties are same as for the 'over the limit' drink offence.

Although the level of drinking and driving has dropped dramatically over the last three decades, around 250 people are still killed in drink drive accidents every year. It is not just the drivers who have been drinking who suffer, but often their passengers, people in other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists, and the families of everyone involved.

For more Drinking and Driving Advice & Information and have access to free resources, you can visit RoSPA website.

Click here to read the RoSPA’s Driving for Work: Drink and Drugs Policy.

Uninsured drivers

According to Department for Transport, the police seize around 150,000 vehicles driven while uninsured every year. To reduce the number of these vehicles on our roads, DfT has adopted some measures as part of Making Roads Safer:

  • To make it an offence to keep any vehicle (including motorcycles) which has no valid insurance unless a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) has been made to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in respect of that vehicle.
  • To research the issue of unlicensed drivers to estimate the extent of unlicensed driving and develop ways of preventing it

Are your grey fleet drivers really insured?

Your grey fleet drivers have signed a statement declaring their vehicle is insured for business use. You assume they have the appropriate cover, but this might be the case. You can only be sure after you check their insurance certificates.

A Case study by a company with more than 1,000 grey fleet drivers found 10% did not have the correct insurance.

The issue came to light when the business’s fleet manager took responsibility for the grey fleet. Previously, drivers simply declared on the company’s expenses system that they had insurance. However, they didn’t understand what they needed and their insurance didn’t cover them properly.

The fleet manager had to educate drivers about what is considered ‘business use’ and what is ‘commuting’ and when they need business cover.

There are generally five types of cover:

  • Social, domestic and pleasure, excluding commuting
  • Social domestic and pleasure, including commuting
  • Class one business use
  • Class two business use
  • Class three business use

The first two types do not cover business use but employees do not always realise this.

The fleet manager said: “Drivers thought that if they weren’t claiming back the mileage they didn’t need business insurance”.

He also had to explain to drivers that although some insurers charge extra for ‘business use’, the employee receives compensation through the Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAP) rate, which includes insurance costs.

To make things worse, the wording on insurance cover is ambiguous and they can be inconsistent on insurance certificates. For example, some just say ‘social, domestic and business’ but they do not explain whether this means business on behalf of their employer or self-employed business.

Click here to know more about this case study.

Management of Occupational Road Risk (MORR™) - The Cycle of Continuous Improvement

RoSPA's portfolio of driver and fleet solutions is designed to enable all organisations to enter into a cycle of continuous improvement. There are products and services to suit the varying needs of individual organisations, no matter how fundamental or advanced their management of occupational road risk.

Management Solutions - MORR™ Review

For those at the start of the circle, we would recommend an MORR™ Review. This allows companies to analyse their current policies and procedures to find out how well they are complying with legislation and HSE guidelines.

Risk Assessment Solutions

All employers then have a duty of care to risk assess individual drivers, RoSPA are able to provide a solution whether you are looking to do this online, in-vehicle or even train one of your own employees to carry out the assessment for you.

Driver Training - MORR™ Course

Risk assessment tools will give you an indication of your risk levels and members of your organisation who may need further training. RoSPA have a whole host of driver training courses; from simple one day Driver Development Courses right through to Instructor training, we have the answer.

Awards

Finally at the end of the cycle, organisations can select an award scheme to reinforce and encourage a positive safety culture.

Click here for more information.

Find out more about MORR™

Driving is the most dangerous work activity that most people do. Millions of cars, vans, lorries, taxis, buses, motorcycles are used for work. Very few organisations operate without using motor vehicles. About 20 people are killed and 250 seriously injured every week in crashes involving someone who was driving, riding or otherwise using the road for work purposes. The HSE say that “health and safety law applies to on-the-road work activities as to all work activities and the risks should be effectively managed within a health and safety system”. RoSPA's Road Safety department have produced a vast array of resources to assist you in the management of occupational road risk.

For more information about RoSPA free resources visit MORR Resources.

Journey

Extra money for councils to repair local roads following period of severe weather.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced that an extra £140 million is being made available to help repair roads hit by weather damage.

As part of the government’s response to the damage done during one of the worst winters on record, support for councils to fix the roads most damaged by severe weather will be increased by £36.5 million, to £80 million.

On top of this, following the exceptionally severe weather of recent months, an extra £103.5 million is also being made available to all councils across England. This is in addition to almost £900 million already made available for road maintenance this year, bringing total government investment allocated to road maintenance to more than £1 billion in 2013 to 2014.

Click here for more information.

Cyclists / Motorcyclists

AA-Populus poll

In a recent AA-Populus poll of 17,629 drivers, 93% of respondents admitted they sometimes find it hard to see cyclists and more than half (55%) were often ‘surprised when a cyclist appears from nowhere’.

The AA-Populus cycle survey reveals that:

  • 93% of drivers recognise cyclists are vulnerable and say they always give them space on the road.
  • 91% admit it’s sometimes hard to see cyclists while driving but around half have a negative view of cyclists.
  • 54% state that cyclists are inconsiderate road users. Males are more likely to think this (57%) than females (47%).
  • Older respondents were most intolerant of cyclists; 57% of 55-64 year olds believe them to be inconsiderate in contrast to 45% of 18-24 year olds.
  • 89% say they always look out for cyclists.
  • However, 55% are ‘often surprised when a cyclist appears from nowhere.’
  • Drivers in London are the most likely to look out for cyclists (90%) while drivers in Northern Ireland (80%) and Wales (86%) are the least likely to.

The survey also reveals that:

  • 57% of car drivers are ‘often surprised when a motorcycle appears from nowhere’. This increases to 63% amongst females and drivers over 65 years of age. London is the region with the greatest percentage of drivers surprised by motorbikes appearing from nowhere (60%).
  • 92% recognise that motorcyclists are vulnerable and always give them more space.
  • 40% believe that motorcyclists are inconsiderate. The number increases in London (46%) and SE (44%) and among females (43%) and those aged 25-34 (49%).
  • 88% of drivers say they always look out for motorcyclists. This increases to 90% of 45-54 year olds who are perhaps the born again bikers.
  • 85% admit that motorcyclists are sometimes hard to see. 88% of females and those aged 24-34 believe this. The SE is the region with the highest percentage admitting this (87%).

Click here for more information.

“Think Bikes” campaign

The AA has launched a new campaign on the back of polls which suggest a vast majority of drivers find it hard to see cyclists and motorcyclists.

Initially one million free stickers will be distributed to drivers as a reminder to do a ‘double-take’ in their mirrors for cycles and motorcycles in their blind spots. The AA suggests that the cycle sticker is placed on the passenger’s side and the motorcycle one on the driver’s side.

The campaign also includes a short YouTube film titled 'Now you see it', which features a naked cyclist.

Click here for more information.

Vehicle

Floods cause £2.5 million of damage to fleet vehicles

The fleet industry is counting the cost after hundreds of vehicles were damaged in the UK’s recent floods.

According to FMG, anincident management and roadside services company, the claims for fleet vehicles over the winter period have increased by 250% compared to last year. FMG estimates that the cost per incident is £4,500, suggesting that the floods have caused approximately £2.5 million of damage to fleets.

A third (35.7%) of respondents to a Fleet News poll said one or more of their vehicles had been damaged as a result of the floods.
According to Fleet News, the AA has attended 4,382 flood-stricken vehicles since the beginning of December. Its ‘storm-chasing’ team, which receives specialist flood rescue and 4x4 training and is equipped with modified Land Rovers, has been supporting the AA’s regular patrol force.

The RAC deployed its SOS 4x4 team to the worst-hit areas and told Fleet News the roadside recovery service had attended 553 ‘ditched or bogged’ fleet vehicles since the beginning of the year.

Click here for more information.

FREE ScORSA A3 Desk notepads with 2014 calendars and A6 driver notepads

The Scottish Occupational Road Safety Alliance (ScORSA) still has a number of A3 desk pads and A6 note pads, featuring road safety messages, to give away free of charge.

The pads are designed for small and medium-sized firms but have relevance to anyone who drives for work purposes or manages those who drive for work purposes. They remind managers of their responsibilities in terms of health and safety legislation and ask them to consider safety issues relating to the journey, the vehicle and the driver. The A3 desk pads include a 2014 calendar.

The pads are available in bulk to organisations across Scotland. Email us place an order.

For more information about ScORSA, please visit our website.