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How has AO reduced its road accident rate by 20 per cent?

Client: AO Logistics

Service: RoSPA Level 2 Award in Driver Assessor Skills (Customised)

Background: AO World plc, headquartered in Bolton, is an online electrical retailer that sells major and small domestic appliances and a range of electrical products in the UK, delivering them via its in-house logistics business. It also provides ancillary services such as the installation of new and collection of old products. AO’s Logistics arm employs over 1,500 people, with over 700 vans on the road, driving over 500,000 miles each year and completing around 72,000 deliveries every week.

The challenge:
Shaun Carter, regional manager at AO Logistics, told us: “Previously, when we brought new drivers in – whether for HGV trunking or home delivery driving – we would always go through an assessment process, paying for an external company to come in and take our drivers out for a 15-to-20-minute drive around.

“However, we felt like that wasn't really enough because while in some locations it was fine, in others, half an hour down the road is pretty much to the traffic lights and back, so it wasn't including enough different road types and scenarios to get a good idea of their abilities.

“We have always had a comprehensive ‘sharing best practice’ programme for our core self-employed fleet of delivery drivers because of their varied duties.

“We realised it made sense for this programme to also involve assessment of their driving ability, with the ultimate aim of using the services of a better standard of driver and to help reduce accidents. As a result, we made the decision, as a business, to have our own assessors.

“We put together a series of measures which meant that if an incident occurs – not just an accident, but if it is something highlighted via telematics that showed that the driver had driven poorly – then we needed to have someone within the business with the expertise and knowledge to be able to then take that driver back out on the road to offer support and guidance.

“We looked at several options and decided to go for RoSPA because we felt like it had the best programme, but also the best reputation for what we wanted.”

The process:

Shaun says: “So far 25 people have been trained by RoSPA as driver assessors across the business. We wanted to have assessors pretty much all over the country really as we’ve got sites from Dundee all the way down to Exeter, so those 25 assessors are dotted everywhere.

“The idea is that if we have an incident now, then these experienced driver assessors can take drivers back out on the road, effectively assessing them over a four-to-10-day period. And they are also on hand to re-train and reassess drivers if needed after that.

“So, we changed our whole process as a business, not only in training these assessors, but also changing the way that we operated after an incident, what processes we went through. We felt that this was the right way of moving forward for us, with the ultimate goal obviously of reducing our accident rate.

“I felt from day one that getting the assessors trained by RoSPA was really fantastic. The guys behind the desk doing the bookings were really helpful. They made that whole process quite easy. They gave me lots of options as it’s sometimes quite hard for us as a business to try and work around when drivers are working. So that bit was brilliant.

“When the training course begins, the assessors that come to site are extremely professional. We explained what we wanted as a business and why we were doing it and every single person that went through the training gave really good feedback. Everyone has said that they learned something, they felt like they really got something out of the course.”

Shaun Carter explained that: “Training driver assessors has been part of a much larger project to reduce transport-related accidents, so we’ve changed our whole structure and there are a lot of other things that have gone into it as well, but overall, we have massively reduced our accidents - we've had a 19.3 per cent reduction in our road accident rate. And larger accidents are 44.5 per cent down, so it means basically we're having less accidents and then of the accidents that unfortunately do sometimes happen, they're now smaller. Which is fantastic.”

March 2024

"Every single person that went through the training gave really good feedback. Everyone has said that they learned something, they felt like they really got something out of the course.”         - Shaun Carter, AO Logistics

RoSPA Level 2 Award in Driver Assessor Skills

Are you seeking to equip your employees with the essential skills to assess drivers within your organisation effectively? This three-day Driver Assessor Course provides the highest standard in Driver Assessor Training, enabling you to assess your fleet - for less! Find out more at: 


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