Over the last ten years, the landscape of commercial fleet management in the UK has undergone significant changes, particularly in the realm of duty of care. As society’s understanding of safety, wellbeing, and responsibility has evolved, so too has the emphasis on ensuring that commercial fleet drivers are provided with an environment that prioritises their health, safety, and overall welfare. Here we examine the pivotal changes in duty of care for these drivers over the past decade, based on input from delegates and suppliers at the Fleet Summit…
- Legislative Changes: The UK government has been proactive in revising and introducing legislation aimed at enhancing the safety of commercial drivers. Laws around driving hours, mandatory rest breaks, and periodic vehicle inspections have been tightened. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, for instance, holds businesses accountable for fatalities due to gross breaches in the duty of care, underscoring the legal imperatives behind ensuring driver safety.
- Technological Integration: The last decade has seen an explosion in the integration of technology within commercial fleets. Telematics systems, which monitor vehicle location, speed, and driver behaviour, have become commonplace. These systems aid in ensuring that drivers aren’t speeding, taking the most efficient routes, and adhering to rest breaks. Additionally, they play a pivotal role in accident prevention and response.
- Mental Health Awareness: There’s been a growing understanding that duty of care extends beyond just physical safety. Recognising the mental pressures and potential isolation faced by long-haul drivers, many companies have begun initiatives to support their drivers’ mental health, offering counselling services and creating platforms for community support.
- Training and Development: Investment in continuous driver training has surged. Beyond basic driving skills, training programmes now encompass fuel-efficient driving, handling challenging weather conditions, and managing on-road stress. This holistic approach ensures that drivers are well-equipped to handle the multifaceted challenges of their roles.
- Vehicle Advancements: Modern commercial vehicles come equipped with advanced safety features such as lane departure warnings, automatic emergency braking, and fatigue monitoring systems. These advancements, spurred by both technological developments and a heightened emphasis on duty of care, have made the act of driving safer than ever before.
- Environmental Considerations: The duty of care has expanded to encompass environmental responsibility. Fleet operators are now more considerate of their carbon footprint, leading to the adoption of electric vehicles and the implementation of eco-driving training, ensuring drivers operate their vehicles in the most environmentally friendly manner possible.
- Pandemic Response: The COVID-19 pandemic introduced unprecedented challenges for commercial drivers, from ensuring their safety during deliveries to managing lockdown restrictions. The duty of care saw fleet operators introducing rigorous vehicle sanitation protocols, providing PPE, and ensuring drivers had access to updated information and guidelines.
The past decade has witnessed a profound shift in the understanding and implementation of duty of care for commercial fleet drivers in the UK. What was once a predominantly physical and immediate concern has transformed into a comprehensive, multi-faceted commitment to the drivers’ overall well-being, reflecting societal advancements in our perception of care, responsibility, and the role of businesses in ensuring the same.
Are you looking for fleet Duty of Care suppliers and solutions for your business? The Fleet Summit can help!