By Faye Sunderland 29 May 2012
An endorsement for psychometric testing at the recent Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) AGM and conference from keynote speaker Sgt Gareth Morgan of South Wales Police is likely to raise interest in interest in testing among fleet managers, as a means to determine the likelihood of individual drivers crashing.
Morgan said: “Psychometric profiling encourages drivers to reflect on their thoughts and change their driving behaviour. It delivers behavioural and attitudinal change and, by coaching and mentoring, improvements can be benchmarked that are recognised by the courts."
According to Morgan, the police forces across the UK are waiting to convict liable fleet operators of them under corporate manslaughter and corporate homicide legislation.
To-date there have been just two successful prosecutions under the 2007 Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, but neither were linked to fatalities involving at-work drivers.
Historically police forces investigated ‘death on the highway’. However, they now look for ‘responsibility’, which in the case of at-work drivers could include investigation of the roles played by fleet decision-makers, company directors and other employees in implementing and managing an occupational road risk management strategy.
Assessing the risks
“90% of accidents are as a result of human behaviour,” said Sgt Morgan, a recent graduate of Cranfield University's specialised Driver Research Unit run by acknowledged driver safety expert Dr Lisa Dorn and has since put his newly acquired knowledge of driver behaviour to practical use: "We are using psychometric profiling successfully in the police to facilitate self-belief that an individual can make a real difference to their risk, by raising self awareness of driving risk and encouraging ownership of risk management," he explains.
This form of driver assessment is highly specialised and, while many products on the market claim to have elements of psychometric testing in them, the only one that has academically verified, peer-reviewed content is the Fleet Driver Risk Index product, developed by Cranfield University with input from leading fleet driver training provider Peak Performance. The Chesterfield-based company has had the exclusive marketing rights in the UK for the past seven years and many thousands of drivers have been through the assessment process over that time. The company now expects to see even more interest in its profiling service.
"In the early days many customers were sceptical about any form of psychometric testing," says Peak Performance Managing Director, Richard Hill, "but that attitude is slowly but surely changing. Our particular product is carefully designed to be easily digestible by fleet drivers, but at the same time to produce unambiguous answers. It's proved time and time again to be highly accurate, enabling us to target appropriate training, so that customers avoid wasting money on training that isn't needed.
"With large fleets like Royal Bank of Scotland, Thomas Cook, Severn Trent Water and Orange/T-Mobile [Everything Everywhere] committed to going down this route now, we know we were right to team up with Cranfield to make this unique assessment process possible and it's gratifying that the police, too, have faith in the concept. The evolution of the product is ongoing and there are some exciting developments in the pipeline. "
Further information about the Fleet Diver Risk Index can be obtained by visiting: http://www.peakperformance.net/content/pages/driving-skills/fleet-driver-risk-index.htm or calling the Peak Performance Customer Service team on 01246 244200.
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