With a quarter of all traffic accidents across the UK involving someone who is driving for work, it is key to identify at-risk drivers.

Part of the role of a fleet manager and something a good fleet management system will be able to do, is to identify at-risk drivers or high-risk drivers.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, more than a quarter of all road traffic accidents across the UK involves someone who is driving for work.

There are some rigorous health and safety laws to help companies identify and manage drivers most at risk of being involved in an accident. However, it’s often down to the fleet manager to identify these drivers and do something about it.

What is an at-risk driver?

The term “at-risk” can mean different things specifically when talking about a driver. Generally speaking, however, it refers to a driver most likely to be involved in a road accident or with a track record of picking up driving violations.

It isn’t as simple as just accepting they might cause an accident. It’s the duty of a fleet manager to identify at-risk drivers, and do something to mitigate the risk they present.

This can range from providing advanced road safety training, to limiting how much they’re driving, or even removing them from the road. It’s up to the manager to evaluate the risk and take the necessary action.

Why is it important to identify at-risk drivers?

The obvious answer is that that risky driving causes road accidents, so there’s a serious safety issue to the driver and other road users. There are also various knock-on effects of road accidents that can cause some serious long-term effects on a business, too.

There is the potential for costs to mount up. From repair and employee costs due to damage and injuries to increased fleet insurance premiums. Your company’s reputation may also be damaged. Especially if accidents keep happening or your drivers are known for driving recklessly. There’s a real cost associated with that. Then there’s the chance that either of these things can also have an effect on morale within your organisation.

What are the signs that a driver is at-risk?

There are two parts to identifying at-risk drivers. There are some factors that may or may not be in their control, then there are some red flags directly related to how they’re driving:

Age – either young and inexperienced or elderly.

Convictions – the more driving convictions a driver has, the more likely to re-offend.

Complaints – if you’re receiving complaints from other road users, that driver is acting irresponsibly on the road.

Here are some driving habits to look out for – all of which are identifiable with fleet management software:

Speeding – anyone breaking the speeding limit on a regular basis is putting themselves and other drivers at risk.

Hard breaking – again, driving on breaks is a hazard to other road users and bad driving practice.

Long hours – fatigue was the cause of more than 1,500 road accidents in 2018.

Fuel consumption – Excessive fuel consumption is an indication that a driver is driving erratically.

It’s your responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act

Not only should you want to minimise the risk of accidents within your fleet, but you also have a responsibility to do so as directed by The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations act 1993.

As a fleet manager or the person responsible for the actions of your drivers, you are required to carry out regular assessments to assess risks to the health and safety of your employees. This also means ensuring that others are not put at risk due to the actions of your employees.

The wording in the act states, “So far as reasonably practicable”, because we all know accidents are going to happen. It’s being able to prove you did everything you could to identify and minimise risky drivers. If you’re communicating with your employees, and where applicable taking action on health and safety issues, you will be acting lawfully.