12 January 2012
“Too many SMEs are taking on young, full time and temporary drivers with very little driving experience and letting them loose in quite large, powerful vans without any additional training of any sort. They can literally pass their test one day in Northampton and be driving a long wheelbase Transit to Newcastle the next.
“Apart from the obvious unfamiliarity with the vehicle itself, they would be driving on motorways for the first time and perhaps it’s even their first outing in the dark . It’s a terrifying prospect, because any collision that does take place under these circumstances is likely to be a serious one.
We’re getting really concerned about what appears to be a growing problem amongst the smaller fleets in this country
David Richards, Marketing Director at AA DriveTech
“The 17 to 25 age group is already the most vulnerable when it comes to crash involvement. Giving them a responsible driving job in a newish vehicle, without impressing upon them the need for restraint, risk awareness and a good understanding of the very different vehicle dynamics involved, compared to the vehicle they passed their test on, is just asking for trouble.
"We’re appealing for employers of young, inexperienced drivers to have a formal and robust induction process in place, rather than just throwing them the keys and hoping for the best. It doesn’t have to be onerous, time-consuming or expensive but you must do something.
“A three hour workshop tuned to the needs of this specific age group would make a real difference. They need to know the differing regulations for cars and vans; they need to know the seriousness of texting and phoning while driving; they need to be aware of the impact of fatigue, drink and drugs; they need to realise the impact of excessive speed; they need to be familiar with the vehicle controls, dimensions and dynamic characteristics. Above all they need to understand that they have a responsibility for the welfare of other road users and that the vehicle they’re driving is potentially a mobile advert for their employer."