Martin Starkey (1)

Driver licence checking service Licence Bureau is calling for businesses to empower their drivers to make more safety conscious decisions rather than heap more work-related stresses on them.

It is urging businesses to entrust their drivers make the right commercial decisions based on health and safety and avoid the temptation to constantly check-up on them.

The move underpins Licence Bureau's recent "road health" message which advised fleet managers to continue to enact on the new norms of social distancing and increased awareness surrounding mental health, and encourage employees to ensure both are considerations when getting back behind the wheel for leisure or work.

The call comes amid fears that increased economic challenges will place greater demands on drivers at the cost of operating compliance.

It says there was already growing evidence before the pandemic that demanding schedules and increasing driver distractions, including the expectation to field mobile phone calls whilst driving, was significantly impacting driver risk.

"No one should be put under extreme pressures when driving for business or asked to use their mobile phone whilst behind the wheel. Yet some companies continue to hide behind policies when the reality is very different. Quite simply this is putting people’s lives at risk," said Martin Starkey (pictured), Licence Bureau training manager.

"With the mounting pressures across all areas of the economy and business stress levels set to rise, it is absolutely vital that individuals are empowered to use their own initiative by organising their own diaries, deciding on their modes and timings of communication and, ultimately, choosing their mobility solution as appropriate.

"Company policy and practice needs to reflect this and support it."

With the government’s current Covid-19 guidance continuing to promote working from home where possible, and to avoid using public transport, driving for work has the potential to become increasingly important at least in the short to medium term.

"Decisions for any business activity need to be based on sound reasoning,’ Starkey said. "More so now than ever before companies need to recognise drivers or remote teams need to be empowered to make the right choices – whether that be using conferencing systems, arranging their own mobility or management of their own diary.

"Lockdown has allowed many individuals and organisations to reflect on how they operate and travelling for ‘travel’s sake’ will become obsolete for many. Instead, individuals will become far more in control of their own commitments and the organisations that encourage this will be the beneficiaries with greater compliance, better mental health profiles and more engaged employees."