Brake calls on fleets to ensure mechanics are trained and qualified

16 December 2013

Brake, the road safety charity

Brake, the road safety charity, has published a new report for fleet managers on maintaining safe vehicles. Sponsored by Licence Bureau and published through Brake's Fleet Safety Forum, the report contains results of a Brake survey of fleets' management of vehicle safety, and gives guidance on how fleet managers can ensure vehicles are safely maintained.

Inadequate vehicle maintenance can cost lives: vehicle defects contributed to 2,125 crashes in Great Britain in 2011, 52 of them causing deaths. It is vital that fleet managers ensure their vehicles are safe and roadworthy, and that mechanics working on their vehicles are properly trained.

Brake's survey found outsourcing of vehicle servicing and repair is widespread: two thirds (63%) of managers surveyed outsourced all their vehicle servicing and repair. It is therefore concerning that fleet managers who outsourced services and repairs were less stringent in their checks of mechanics working on their vehicles. Just half (52%) of companies using outsourced maintenance ensured mechanics' qualifications were checked and verified, and less than a quarter (23%) ensured regular training was provided.

Regular pre-drive checks of vehicles are also vital for ensuring that vehicles are safe for the road. This is equally important for all vehicle types, but seems to be taken more seriously by fleets containing large vehicles such as trucks or buses. All fleets operating larger vehicles required checks at least daily, but almost one in five (18%) managers of fleets with only smaller vehicles did not require their drivers to complete pre-drive checks at all.

The report is available for free to Fleet Safety Forum subscribers, or can be purchased for £5 by non-subscribers. Special offer: the first 25 non-subscribers to request the report will get a copy for FREE, and a 50% discount on their first year's subscription to the Fleet Safety Forum. Please email or call +44 (0)1484 559909 to order and quote 'mm50' to take up this offer.

As part of its ongoing campaign for safer vehicles, drivers and roads, Brake is also running two essential training events for fleet managers on this topic in 2014, kindly sponsored by IRTE. A seminar on maintenance and mechanics will be held in London on Wednesday 14 May 2014, followed by an online webinar on the same topic on Thursday 6 November 2014. For more information on these and other upcoming events, and to book, please visit

The Fleet Safety Forum is a low cost, not-for-profit subscription service, run by road safety charity Brake. It supports fleet managers in reducing the human and financial costs associated with road crashes involving at-work drivers. Annual subscription costs just £155 +VAT (discounts available for smaller organisations and public sector), and subscribers get access to advice, guidance and other resources to help them improve road safety from within their organisation. Find out more and subscribe online at

Laura Woods, research and information officer at Brake, says: "Fleet managers have a duty to ensure their vehicles are safe, well-maintained and roadworthy, and that the mechanics working on their vehicles are fully qualified and their skills are kept up to date. This report has highlighted worrying gaps in some fleets' management of vehicle risks. Brake urges fleet managers to make use of the advice in this report, and other resources available through the Fleet Safety Forum, to ensure they are not putting their drivers and other road users at risk by allowing dangerous vehicles on the roads."

Les Owen from Licence Bureau says: "I remain amazed that those who manage fleets do not take this seriously and monitor more adequately the quality of maintenance staff and the safety of the vehicles they have in their fleets. The responsibility to ensure vehicles are safe and fit for purpose is part of the duty of care and companies need to verify that they have appropriate procedures in place to avoid incidents which could be prevented by management control and monitoring of vehicle maintenance."

Notes for editors

Editors can click to view the survey report.

Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 63 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education, events such as Road Safety Week (17-23 November 2014), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road crashes are not accidents; the use of the term 'accident' undermines work to reduce road risk and causes insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by drivers taking risks on roads.

Fleet Safety Forum
The Fleet Safety Forum is a dedicated, not-for-profit service for fleet managers run by road safety charity Brake. Subscribers receive: free and discounted access to Brake's professional events; free training in Brake's Pledge to stop dangerous and unnecessary driving; e-bulletins containing the latest initiatives and research in fleet and road safety from across the globe; password access to the Fleet Safety Forum website containing guidance for managers and a host of resources for drivers; and posters. Annual subscription costs between £50 and £155 +VAT. Subscribe online at or contact Brake on +44 (0)1484 559909 or