Focus on older drivers needed, insurance broker says

Older drivers are more at risk of getting involved in a tanker incident, according to OAMPS Insurance Brokers

February 22, 2012

Older drivers are more at risk of getting involved in a tanker incident, according to OAMPS Insurance Brokers.

The firm says it dealt with a record number of claims from a series of incidents involving vehicles carrying dangerous goods, at a cost of $6 million in loss, in the second half of last year.

National Fuel and Transport Manager Grant Stillman says six of the nine major incidents were single vehicle incidents and two were serious collisions.

The majority of people involved in those accidents were seriously injured, with one resulting in death.

Lost fuel and clean-up costs have accounted for an estimated 70 percent of the damage bill, with one single incident having a claim cost in excess of $2.5 million.

The key contributing factors are lack of attention, road and traffic conditions, age of drivers, fatigue and the time of the day.

"It has become apparent that there are an increasing number of tanker incidents involving drivers over the age of 55," Stillman was quoted as saying in the current edition of the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association (ACAPMA) magazine.

"Recent trends in the wider transport industry have us believing that the average age of industry drivers has increased from the high 40s to the low 50s, and it has emerged that there has been an increase in incidents involving drivers well into their 60s."

He is calling on companies to ensure older drivers are not working outside their comfort zone, saying employees and employers need to communicate regularly to understand what is working well and what is not.

The company also needs to address the job, workload and environment, including hours of work.

"There is a want and sometimes a need for a driver to remain in the workforce," Stillman says.

"Operators may be inclined to hire more experienced drivers rather than the younger generations with little or no experience."

Stillman says workplace and non-work pressures should be measured an analysed, with companies introducing procedures and monitoring their impact.

"Training programs will be required to address any gaps in knowledge, update compliance or introduce new routines," he says.

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