The youngest and oldest company car, van and truck drivers are not always the biggest accident risk for employers, new research shows.
Figures released this week by fleet software market leader CFC Solutions break down the percentage of drivers with driving licence endorsement points by age, based on the thousands of users of its Licence Link licence checking software.
The aim of the company’s research was to examine the widely held assumption that the youngest and oldest drivers pose the greatest accident risk for fleets, with the findings based on their propensity to have points added to their licence.
In the No points and 1-4 points categories, this assumption held true with the 17-24 and 65+ bands having the most points. However, in the higher risk categories of 5-8 points and 9 plus points, the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups were more common.
Against these figures must be balanced the percentage of drivers with points in each category. The proportion of those with 1-4 points is 14.83% while only 3.29% have 5-8 points and just 0.52% have 9 plus. This means that while older and younger drivers with lower numbers of points are much more common, there are a small number of middle aged drivers who tend to have the very highest number of points.
Neville Briggs, managing director at CFC, said: "Perceived wisdom in risk management for many years has been that the youngest and oldest drivers represent the highest risk and these figures largely confirm that.
"Younger drivers may lack road experience and because of this are poorer judges of road situations, while older drivers will tend to have poorer reaction times and a general decline in awareness.
"This means that drivers aged below 24 and above 65 may require special attention when it comes to employers ensuring that everything reasonable is done to prevent them from being involved in accidents."
However, Briggs added, the new research and anecdotal evidence suggested that a few middle aged drivers could become a risk management headache by falling into a cycle of gathering endorsement points and waiting for them to elapse.
He said: "While the actual numbers of these drivers is not high – they form a tiny percentage of our overall research – they do suggest that the very highest risk drivers are the ones who should be at the height of their competence and that is perhaps the issue.
"Some of these middle aged drivers in high risk categories are a definite concern for their managers because they suffer from a high degree of overconfidence. For these drivers, some form of remedial action such as training should be considered, before the point is reached where their licence is taken away or a serious accident occurs."