Call for fleet changes as pandemic worsens pressures for drivers
Pressures for working drivers that were already prevalent before the pandemic are now likely to worsen.
That’s according to a new study published by IAM RoadSmart, which is calling for urgent changes to be made to support working drivers through policies, advice and procedures, as well as driver training.
The white paper says that delivery drivers, taxi and private hire drivers, the gig economy and even company car drivers face constant pressure to keep up with demand and this, along with resultant fatigue, has a negative impact on their mental and physical health.
This has not been helped by weak employer strategies, lack of policies and prosecution for health and safety lapses, together with the ever-present strain from doubts over the economy, job security, redundancy and reduction in pay due to furlough.
Tony Greenidge, chief executive officer at IAM RoadSmart, said: “What Covid did was expose what in many cases was already there.
“Individuals involved in driving for work were already rushed and under pressure. Post-Covid they probably will be more so because there’s more fear about job security and more pressure on employers to recover lost ground. But at least now we are discussing it.”
The road safety charity says employers should be providing education and guidance on avoiding driver fatigue and an evaluation of policies and procedures such as the length of the driving day and shifts.
It also believes further change needs to happen through increased prosecution of liable companies – especially SMEs – as a third of road safety deaths are people driving for business.
And the charity says there should be a review on the resources available to drivers, such as motorway services and roadside facilities, as many drivers are deterred from stopping for essential rest due to prices.
Greenidge added: “People long for everything to go back to normal. The problem is, for many drivers normal wasn’t such a good place.
“The facts cannot be ignored and now is the time for CEOs and leaders to act. Covid-19 has significantly impacted an area already under immense strain. Drivers’ and riders’ safety cannot continue to slip through the net unnoticed.”
To access the IAM RoadSmart white paper, click here.