Research by Verizon Connect has revealed that a quarter of UK commercial drivers are breaching driver guidelines around rest and fatigue.
By UK law, a commercial driver must take a rest break of at least 45 minutes after a maximum four hours and 30 minutes of driving time. Yet, a quarter of fleet managers admitted that their drivers on average take breaks after five hours or more, breaching the driver guidelines.
The study confirms the challenge fleet managers face to ensure their drivers remain safe and compliant. When asked about the top issues that worry them, 24 percent cited compliance, 23 percent said unsafe driving practices and 13 percent of fleet managers said drivers not taking rest.
Two thirds of fleet managers (66 percent) have systems in place to help ensure their drivers take required breaks. However, 16 percent of them leave it at each driver's discretion to take appropriate rest, 15 percent ask their drivers about their breaks and three percent do not know.
Many fleet managers (46 percent) use a tachograph to automatically record vehicle speed and distance and to keep track of their drivers' rest periods. While this is the most time-effective approach for fleet managers, it still has its challenges. According to the study, fleet managers said they spend more than three hours a week correcting and following up on drivers' tachograph mistakes – which adds up to nearly 21 working days, or more than a month, each year. When asked how they would prefer to spend this time instead, looking for ways to reduce costs was the most popular response with 39 per cent.
Fleet managers must also keep tachograph data on record for no fewer than 12 months. Over a third (31 percent) admit non-compliance by failing to download driver data every 28 days and storing the data for less time than they are supposed to (29 percent).
"Fleet managers are frequently under pressure to increase margins, impress their customers and outshine their competitors. However, safety is still priority number one. Our research shows how hard fleet managers have to work to maintain safety and compliance while juggling so many demands," comments Derek Bryan, Vice President, EMEA, Verizon Connect.
"Simple systems can be put in place to cut down time spent on admin while ensuring compliance and driver safety. By integrating tachograph data with their fleet management system, organisations of any size can improve driver safety, compliance, and productivity. In doing so, managers reclaim time to focus on growing and improving the business."
The research was conducted by Opinium, completed on 2 January 2018. The findings were generated by interviews conducted with 201 fleet managers and decision makers who operate with 3-50 vehicles in their fleets.