Business development · 29 February 2016

Bad driving in branded vehicles could lose businesses thousands of customers

bad driving
Over half of SME owners blamed their own bad driving for their most recent trip to the garage

The vast majority of British motorists are put off brands when the company’s drivers are unsafe or discourteous, according to new research by TomTom.

The survey of over 1,000 UK consumers also revealed that van drivers are perceived to be the least safe motorists on the road – with only three per cent of those surveyed confident about their ability to be careful. Taxi drivers and people in sports cars were also deemed untrustworthy.

“I think business owners may be surprised by the results of this survey and the extent to which poor driving standards can impact on their companies,” said Taco van der Leij, vice-president of marketing at TomTom.

“By improving how they are perceived on the road, businesses can establish themselves as responsible brands worthy of consumer trust,” he added.

The owners of companies large and small have previously seen their brands undermined by the actions of employees on the road. Footage of a Tesco delivery driver who cut up a learner in Bexleyheath in September 2015 quickly went viral, and the company faced criticism for not firing the driver responsible.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) revealed in February 2015 that more than one in three companies do not have a formal driver risk management policy in place – despite the fact that 85 per cent of company owners have had a driving accident within their business.

Additional research published by vehicle leasing company Lex Autolease in June 2015 revealed that over half of SME owners blamed their own bad driving for their most recent trip to the garage – with 17 per cent of repairs due to owner accidents.  And throughout the UK, one in three accidents occur when the motorist is driving in a work capacity.

Simon Barter, the SME head at Lex Autolease, said: “From making deliveries to driving to sales pitches and meetings, vehicles are essential to the successful day-to-day operations of many UK small businesses. It’s therefore surprising to see that so many fail to protect themselves from avoidable costs.”

Company also revealed recently that company drivers accrued £5.6m in parking fines and penalties for bus lane infringements over the course of 2015.

For more advice on what to avoid if you don’t want to lose customers, don’t miss this research.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

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