Richard Hipkiss' blog - Better planning key to avoiding speeding fines
14 June 2017
The issue of speeding has been brought into much sharper focus by the recent announcement of new, stricter fines.
Drivers can now be fined up to 150 per cent of their weekly income if found guilty of a Band C offence, which includes driving above 51mph in a 30mph zone and above 100mph on a motorway.
In the first instance, businesses should make efforts to ensure their employees understand the changes. A study by insurers Marmalade revealed almost 60 per cent of drivers are still unaware that potential speeding fines have significantly increased.
But this also raises a wider issue of employee safety and risk. Speeding remains a problem for many organisations simply because it is still such a common offence and is perceived as being difficult to control without the use of technology such as telematics.
Despite this, there are clear steps that can be taken to address the issue and the key is to avoid adopting a punitive approach.
Although the burden of paying speeding fines usually falls on the employee, as the act of speeding is viewed as a decision made by the individual, employers also have a duty of care to ensure risk to drivers is minimised while working.
Ultimately, very few people deliberately drive badly but old habits die hard and many unwanted behaviours become ingrained over time.
Therefore, as well as having a process in place to handle incidences of speeding and fines, employers would also do well to look at the root causes. Primarily, they should ask if the job is causing drivers to speed.
Are employees being put under excessive time pressure as a result of work schedules? And is this resulting in them speeding to ensure they arrive at jobs or appointments on time?
It is important to engage with employees around these issues to get a feel for what they believe the challenges are and where improvements can be made.
In the first instance, companies might look at scheduling and see if there is room for greater efficiency in the way appointments are scheduled. Routing and scheduling software or telematics can help in this area, providing data insight to help develop schedules that minimise traffic disruption and ensure employees complete appointments in a logical order.
The idea is to minimise long journeys where possible and ensure schedules are realistic, taking into account the anticipated time at appointments and predicted journey times. Obviously, external factors such as traffic congestion can sometimes throw a spanner in the works but this type of planning can have a significant impact.
It may also be advisable to look at how many jobs are profitable or even necessary. Once more, data can help here - if a company takes into account factors such as fuel, vehicle wear and employee time, it is possible to calculate how much each journey costs compared to how much it yields in revenue.
This enables a more in-depth analysis of how appointments should be prioritised or which employees are taking on too many appointments that do not result in a tangible return.
Whatever approach is taken, there is huge scope for businesses to extract greater efficiencies from their on-road operations, at the same time as safeguarding staff through a reduction in time pressures.