The Travis Perkins Group has announced the findings of a groundbreaking study on Driver Behaviour which it hopes will lead to enhanced fleet safety.
The research identified three major areas to focus on to improve driver safety, including what it terms as “Skill decay”, “Stress and performance” in addition to “Attention lapses and distractions”. With one of the largest fleets in the UK and a driver base of around 3,000, the merchant group states that “drivers are at the forefront of the Travis Perkins plc business.”
As part of the Group’s commitment to continuous improvement, the business commissioned research from Dr Lisa Dorn, Associate Professor of Driver Behaviour at Cranfield University and Founder of PsyDrive; a company that specialises in accredited training for road safety professionals, research, assessment and interventions for improved road safety.
The study involved a comprehensive literature review of existing research and took into consideration studies in other industries such as aviation, blue light (emergency services), marine, military and the rail industry to review their learnings and adapt them for use with the Travis Perkins plc’s fleet, and potentially also with a wider driver community to improve safety.
Dr Dorn commented: “It’s perhaps no surprise that when we have something on our mind, performance is affected, and as this study shows, stress causes distraction and can impact driver safety. Attention lapses and distractions are a significant cause of crashes.
“The research also concluded that without practise, people experience skill decay, and cognitive skills like decision-making are particularly vulnerable. This has implications for safety when driving for work.”
Richard Byrne, Safety Director at Travis Perkins plc, explained: “We will use these findings to guide our driver strategy; informing areas, such as policies, intervention, training, recruitment and wellbeing.
“Nothing is more important to us than safety, and so as members of several key transport forums, and the leading partner to the construction industry, we will also consider how we can share these learnings more widely, to breed best practice and encourage a cultural shift where drivers feel able to come forward to discuss any life challenges they may be going through, and promote more regular training beyond compliance requirements.”
The results of this study were first presented by Karl Wilshaw and Dr Lisa Dorn at the recent Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Annual Safety Forum Conference in the company of CILT patron, Her Royal Highness Princess Royal, and other distinguished guests.