A FREE driver app has been launched to help employers manage the safe return of furloughed staff following the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown.
Driving for Better Business, the government-backed Highways England programme, has created the app to support a national campaign asking drivers if they are #ReadyfortheRoad?
Coordinated by the National Roads Policing Operations and Intelligence group, the campaign is also supported by ARRM, DfT, Driving for Better Business, DVLA, DVSA, Highways England, MIB, MoD, NFCC, NRPOI, PACTS, Police Scotland, Road Safety Trust, TyreSafe and UKROEd.
The Driving for Better Business ‘Ready for the Road?’ package, created by fleet software specialist FleetCheck and including a detailed 20-point checklist devised by Mercedes-Benz Vans, will take drivers through the process of ensuring their car or van is fully roadworthy after being left unused for weeks or months, as well as showing them how to sanitise the vehicle effectively.
The Driving for Better Business Driver app includes:
- Cloud-based manager dashboard to monitor compliance
- Elimination of paper checklists with associated chasing and filing
- Thorough digital safety check for mothballed vehicles including photographic evidence of defects or damage
- ‘Fit to drive’ driver declaration including COVID-19 symptoms
- Essential driver support information
- Daily vehicle sanitisation checklist
- Robust audit trail of all legally required actions
- Push messaging to reinforce safety messages and driving for work policy
The ‘Ready for the Road?’ app sends completed driver safety checks to a management portal where the employer can then deal any vehicle maintenance or repairs that are needed, as well as communicate changes in policy, such as handwashing and vehicle cleaning.
The portal also includes links to the latest government guidance relating to vehicles as well as resources exclusively created for the Driving for Better Business COVID-19 Transport Toolkit.
The complete package of management portal and driver app is completely free to use for businesses with 10 or more vehicles.
Employers should visit www.drivingforbetterbusiness.com/ready to register. Employers with fewer vehicles will not be able to use the app but will be able to download digital versions of the checklists and animations to distribute to their drivers.
Employers are also encouraged to share the resources with any staff who may commute by road, to help everyone understand the new challenges, whether or not they drive for work.
Simon Turner, Campaign Manager, Driving for Better Business, said: “Cars and vans that haven’t been used for many weeks because businesses have been non-operational can’t simply be put straight back on the road, and need a thorough inspection.
“Tyres could very likely have lost pressure, a small leak could have drained fluids, and even rodents could have caused problems by chewing through the vehicle’s wiring. As the lockdown is lifted, employers need to make sure vehicles are roadworthy before they’re driven again to avoid breakdowns and the increased risk of accidents.
“Drivers, too, need to make sure they’re prepared. Having been used to no more than the occasional trip to the shops on an empty road, traffic is now starting to increase to more normal levels.
“That readjusting will take time and they will also need to be alert to the increased number of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists as many commuters take to the road instead of public transport. A new series of 12 short animations included in the app will help them understand these challenges.”
Paul Keasey, Detective Chief Superintendent, Gloucestershire Police Chair, National Roads Policing Operations and Intelligence (NRPOI) said: “Police officers across the country deal with a significant number of incidents that are completely avoidable.
“The Ready for the Road? app will enable employers to ensure the safety of their vehicles and their drivers as we return to a new normal, and I am delighted to support this resource and the wider Driving for Better Business Programme.”