Fleet managers should consider the mental health of their drivers when improving safety on the job and assessing risk, said FleetCheck.
One in four people will be affected by a mental health issue in their lives. It’s already a legal requirement to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency about a mental health issue that impacts someone’s ability to drive. But fleet managers and employers need to be even more attentive than that, said Peter Golding, managing director of FleetCheck, provider of fleet management software.
2017 research from Mercedes-Benz found that almost one in five van drivers describe their mental health as poor or very poor, with three-quarters of those saying work was a contributing factor.
Usually, if the employee is suffering from stress or depression, the employer only feels the need to become involved if the employee is taking medication. However, research has shown that depression has a direct impact on concentration and reaction times, impacting someone’s suitability to drive.
“Fleets should arguably be considering these issues and including them in their risk management strategies,” Mr Golding said.
He said FleetCheck is currently developing a risk management app for a client which asks drivers about their mood and health as part of their regular walk-around vehicle checks. The catch-all question captures all aspects of a driver’s wellbeing.
“The app simply asks, ‘Do you feel fit to drive?’ This simple, but fundamental question is one that fleets, in our experience, almost never consider,” he said.
“This is certainly a question that could potentially help to highlight any underlying or emerging mental health problems from which a driver may be suffering that could compromise their abilities behind the wheel.
“As we become better at talking openly about mental health, employers should be doing more to develop policies within their risk management strategy. Across our industry, it would be good to see a greater dialogue develop about this area,” he added.