Driver Risk Assessments - A Brief History

Pretty much all of us have carried out driver risk assessments at one time or another. Usually as a passenger, when our imaginary brake pedal in the foot-well gets depressed some time before the driver themselves has noticed the cause of our angst.

That action may or may not have the desired result but there is a certain comfort factor associated with its deed.

Commercially available driver risk assessments usually claim to be a little more scientific but they are not necessarily fool-proof; nor indeed should they be used simply and in their own right to tick the health and safety box.

Driver risk assessments, at least as predictive tools with regard to the likelihood of an individual driver being 'accident prone', come in a variety of guises; from psychometric testing to cognitive behavioural assessment, to simple knowledge checks aimed at discerning a driver's memory of the Highway Code he probably last read (and threw away) on the day of his driving test.

All the finery of these types of assessment tends to overlook the reality of the matter - the individual's actual exposure to risk and, more importantly, how they are likely to respond to it. Either reactively or proactively.

There are clear indicators; and these have been known to insurance actuaries (the guys and girls who work with risk projections all the time) for years and years. Age, mileage, experiences, type of driving environment, times of day, road types, knowledge, technical skills, attitude, states of alertness, physical well-being...These are the relevant elements of driver risk assessments. Far more than their ability to hold a steering wheel at 10 to 2 or even know what sort of vehicle they are driving.

What's really needed is a realistic comparator to assess drivers' statistical likelihood of being crash involved but then have a means of analysing those comparisons immediately and having the tools to report to clients and devise or agree solutions with the minimum of fuss.

This happens to be the line that Automotional has adopted. A full on-line risk assessment package with regular driver updates and linked to a pre-agreed suite of appropriate interventions.

One small word of caution. If you do decide, as an employer, to embark on driver risk assessments for your drivers, you'll need to be committed to following through with recommendations that might flow from the process. Our legal friends suggest that if you are aware of a 'risk' but then fail to act on it, you are potentially more exposed to the threat of proceedings than if you had not embarked on the exercise in the first place!

For more information go to www.automotional.com

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