New research from Verizon Connect reveals that one in four commercial drivers is breaking road traffic safety regulations by spending more than 4.5 hours at the wheel without taking a mandated rest break of 45 minutes. This represents a 14% increase in drivers failing to take appropriate rest breaks when compared to a similar study conducted by Verizon Connect last year.
Only 15% of fleet managers said their vehicles haven’t been involved in an accident in the past 12 months, with fatigue identified as the cause for 15% of accidents that their vehicles are involved in, second only to speeding with 17%.
Despite the increase in drivers exceeding rest limits, fleet managers are working harder than ever to ensure their teams take appropriate breaks. Only 5% of fleet managers admitted that they don’t keep track of their drivers’ breaks, compared with 11% in a similar study from 2019, a reduction of 120%. Fatigue also featured in the top three concerns of fleet managers when it comes to the health and safety of their drivers, second only to drivers using devices such as phones while driving, and drivers getting sick (due to COVID-19 or otherwise).
The failure of individual drivers to observe these safety regulations not only increases the chance of road traffic accidents but can also result in punitive penalties – the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can issue drivers with an on-the-spot fine of up to £1,500 if they’re caught breaking these rules on the road, and have the power to issue additional penalties to their employers.
On top of the potential financial penalties administered by the DVSA, the research also reveals that on average fleet managers lose 4.3 working days each year as a result of vehicle accidents across their fleet.
Compliance related tasks rank highly amongst fleet managers’ to-do list – accounting for 20% of their working days. Additionally, the average fleet manager spends just over two hours per week correcting and following up on mistakes in drivers’ tachograph data, the equivalent of 14 working days per year.
Derek Bryan, Vice President, EMEA, Verizon Connect, comments: “The pandemic has shone a light on the importance of fleet-based businesses to our daily lives, many of whom were designated as key workers. They worked especially hard to keep the nation ticking over during lockdown. While their commitment is admirable, it simply can’t come at the expense of safety and taking the appropriate rest breaks.
“In such a competitive environment, and with expectations even higher, fleet businesses are no doubt feeling the pressure. They need to work smarter than ever to survive. This doesn’t mean cutting corners, especially when it comes to safety. It means deploying the right processes and systems so the business can operate at its absolute best. Technology has a vital role to play here, not just helping to identify efficiencies across the fleet to improve productivity and reduce costs, but also to help ensure safety through real time driver alerts and automating compliance processes. Ultimately, this lets managers reclaim time to focus on growing and improving the business.”
For further insights from the survey, visit www.verizonconnect.com/uk/