Download: Riverside Case Study (PDF 266kb)

Riverside Housing Association put its managers through their paces with RoSPA's Driver Development Programme – our bespoke driver training package that provides those who drive for work with a systematic approach to hazards and defensive driving techniques when out on the road, as well as providing additional environmental and economic benefits.

Head of Health, Safety and Environment, Paul Kennedy, was clear about what he hoped to gain from driver development training and why he chose RoSPA as a provider:

"One of the initial reasons for embarking on a driver training programme was to support our driving at work policy and ensure that any person driving on company related business was doing so safely."

"RoSPA were not only very competitive in price but offered additional support with the implementation and management of the driver training programme across the group. We are also members of RoSPA and knew that we would receive a first class service."

Following training, a hugely encouraging 91% of drivers said they would recommend Driver Development Training from RoSPA to others. A more detailed breakdown of feedback follows, focusing on the key areas of improvement: safety, driver confidence, fuel efficiency, driver behaviour and environmental impact.


With more people still being killed and injured in at-work road accidents than in all other occupational accidents combined, driver safety is obviously a major concern for every organisation.

"I am more aware and conscious about what is going on around me when driving."

John Wood, Group Director, Housing Services

In direct response to this concern, our Driver Development programme focuses on teaching drivers to spot dangers when out on the road. Our delegates at Riverside found this aspect of the course particularly valuable, with over 78% of respondents feeling that their anticipation of hazards improved after undergoing training.

77% also noticed a difference in how they positioned their vehicle in relation to other road users and 1 in 3 delegates felt an increase in their ability to manage fatigue while driving – a major cause of on-road accidents.

Driving Confidence

"Made me feel more confident that I'm a safer driver than before."

Helen Wakefield, Income Management Officer

As a driver it's vital that you have confidence in your ability to make the right decision at the right time. While confidence comes naturally to some drivers, others need help to optimise their confidence on the road.

Fortunately, almost 60% of drivers felt their confidence had increased since undertaking RoSPA training – with a number of delegates commenting that they found the course 'useful' as a refresher and informative 'without being patronising'.

Paul Kennedy also noticed a significant impact on his drivers' attitude following the programme:

"Everybody who has attended a driver awareness session has taken something positive away from it whether that be the identification of some areas of improvement, driving more efficiently or just being more aware of things going on whilst behind the wheel."

Driving Behaviour

Riverside Driving Behaviour
Left: Colin Knight, Fleet Risk Consultant, RoSPA
Right: Paul Kennedy, Head of Health, Safety and Environment,
Riverside Housing Association

"I think the whole experience of doing the defensive driver training and implementing the strategies gives you tools for helping to deal with stress better."

Graham Roberts, Corporate Audit Manager

Stress while driving can often manifest itself in the guise of 'road-rage'. This is often a major factor in road accidents, not to mention having a detrimental effect on public relations and image.

Driver development is a great way to improve driver behaviour, with almost 2 in 3 delegates commenting that RoSPA training provided them with effective strategies for dealing with on-the-road stress.

Fuel Efficiency

The price of fuel has risen on average 38% in the last 5 years. It goes without saying this rise has had a major impact on organisations up and down the country, which are naturally doing everything they can do to reduce costs.

"I've learnt how to drive more fuel efficiently which is a good thing given the cost of petrol!"

Nicola Haslem, Communal Area Officer

As well as improving general safety (reducing the risk and cost of accidents within your fleet), Driver Development Training can also save money by teaching drivers to use their vehicle in a more fuel efficient manner.

A massive 82.9% of delegates felt they were more conscious of fuel efficiency after taking part in the training, helping them to drive in a safer and more economical manner.

In addition to the savings made on fuel, Paul Kennedy also identified some other financial benefits of driver development training:

"While some costs as a result of poor driving are quantifiable, other costs are not, such as appointments being delayed, deliveries being late and the hassle of administration. Therefore, reducing the likelihood of our drivers being involved in vehicle related incidents has a two-fold effect as both direct and indirect costs will reduce."

Environmental Impact

"This is a really positive step in helping us meet our CSR responsibilities"

Paul Kennedy, Head of Health, Safety and Environment

For the four months following training, Riverside has measured a CO2 reduction of 327 tonnes compared to the same period last year. Projecting this figure forward we are looking at potentially reducing our CO2 emissions by 982 tonnes over the whole of 2013.

Paul Kennedy, Head of Health Safety and Environment was delighted with this result, commenting that "better driving techniques and more economical driving styles gained from the driving awareness training are certainly factors that have helped us achieve this".

Parting Shots

Following the training, Riverside's CEO, Carol Matthews, reflected on the reasons they take driver development seriously, as well as explaining what she felt she personally gained from taking part:

"We take this seriously because we have a duty of care to our colleagues and the wider community. I completed the course with a wee bit of trepidation yet found it really valuable in reminding me of a couple of things I had forgotten, I got some hints and tips to help me keep safe and increased my confidence in my road sense. A morning very well spent and keeps me safe whenever I'm on the road."

What's Next?

Following their successful participation in the Driver Development programme, Riverside have already started expanding the training to all drivers likely to drive on company business. As previous RoSPA Award winners, they will also continue to take part in the award scheme, as Paul Kennedy explains:

"We use the RoSPA Awards as a way of benchmarking our safety performance externally. It is also one of our Corporate Health and Safety Objectives working towards, achieving and then maintaining a level of performance meriting the RoSPA Gold Award for Occupational Health and Safety. This external recognition helps me as the Head of Health, Safety and Environment for the Organisation to demonstrate to key stakeholders that our health and safety management systems are working."

"On a personal level, I think it is vital for an organisation's ongoing success to celebrate it's achievements, and the awards ceremony and gala dinner provides the ideal opportunity to do this. The gala dinner is a very enjoyable experience and a fitting way to reward the hard efforts put in by safety professionals across the country."

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