Updated August 12, 2014
American author and political satirist P J O’Rourke once wrote that the fastest car in the world is a hire vehicle. He’s not wrong; throw off the shackles of ownership (and the associated costs) and many drivers suddenly experience a giddy rush of freedom and proceed to thrash the living daylights out of said hired metal. Be warned though; that very same mentality can be found lurking in company drivers too…
No. 1 – ‘The Gumballer’
The Sin: Mistaking themselves for drivers in the infamous Gumball Rally (the continent-crossing event that attracts playboys/feckless tools from across the world), this speed merchant is incapable of engaging their left foot unless changing up a gear. In fact, they’re so enamoured with their right to speed that they believe it is enshrined in the 1998 Human Rights Act.
Road To Redemption: Plagued by company drivers who are constantly speeding? Still being presented with huge petrol bills from them despite their fuel cards? Then consider introducing a penalty process based on Finland’s unique speeding fine system. It bases any fine on the speedster’s last known salary. So when a Finnish 27-year-old heir to a family meat business was caught going at twice the legal limit, he received a very juicy and succulent fine of €170,000…
P.S. This Finnish approach could help come pay review time too with serial speeders desperately arguing that their wages should be reduced, instead of increased. Everyone’s a winner!
No. 2 – ‘The Chatter’
The Sin: They’re still out there; the folk who truly believe that yakking on the phone while driving “Does not affect… hold on, there’s a lorry coming… where was I? Doesn’t affect… where did he come from? Not affect my driving at all ARRGH!” But all manner of scientific research (and common sense) has shown that using a mobile while driving increases the chances of a fender bender fourfold. So God only knows what impact texting has on driving standards (all while eating a Ginsters Scotch Egg Bar).
Road To Redemption: First of all, make it crystal clear to drivers that strapping their mobile to their head using an elastic band (like the driver pictured in the press earlier this year) is not a valid compromise. If presenting offenders with the hard facts fails, then it’s time to unleash the ‘Scorched Earth’ option. Tell them if they don’t curb their bad mobile phone habits, you’ll delete their Angry Birds app. Sorted.
No. 3 – ‘The VIP’
The Sin: They’re in a hurry and they’re really, really important. No, they’re not medical couriers – they’re company drivers on a mission to deliver life-saving, erm, sales brochures. A red traffic light is at best optional to them. That ‘Children’s Crossing’ sign can only mean one thing – a fleet of child-carrying Range Rover Evoques blocking the road up ahead – “So I’d better accelerate to twice the legal limit immediately to get past”. And pity the poor motorist daring to cruise at 69 in the middle lane on the motorway; the ensuing combination of tailgating, honking, flashing and obscene hand gestures made by (invariably male) company drivers conclusively proves once and for all that men can multi-task.
Road To Redemption: Organise a ‘Gymkhana’ day with US rally-driving star Ken Block. Have all offending drivers endure a ten minute drive with the Block as he shows them what being a true ‘road warrior’ actually is. They will be so traumatised by being power-slid backwards under an articulated truck at 90mph while on fire that they will never raise a (middle) finger in anger again.
For more even-handed advice on how to stop your drivers burning through fuel and how fuel cards can save you even more money, download our eGuide ‘Keep an eye on your heavy footed drivers: without a heavy hand’.
James Knight is the fuel management consultant of The Fuelcard Company, the largest commercial reseller of company fuel cards in the UK. He shares his expertise in fuel control and provides informative solutions on vehicle maintenance. You can also find him on Google and Twitter.
Categories: Gear Grinding