Driving for Better Business, a Highways England programme, has launched the Ready for the Road app, which includes safety checklists and training videos, and is free for businesses with 10 or more vehicles.
The app was created by fleet software company FleetCheck, together with Mercedes-Benz Vans. It helps staff who normally drive for work, but haven't done so during the lockdown, to check whether their vehicles are safe and whether they themselves are fit to drive.
Mercedes-Benz Vans put together a 20-point checklist for vehicles to make sure they are roadworthy after being left unused for weeks or months. It also guides drivers through the process of sanitising the vehicle effectively.
The app also includes 12 training videos to help drivers readjust after months off the road, a Covid-19 risk assessment template to help employers operate safely, essential driver support information and push messaging to remind drivers of good practice.
For managers, the software offers a cloud-based dashboard to monitor compliance and a robust audit trail of all legally required actions.
Simon Turner, campaign manager of Driving for Better Business, explained: "Cars and vans that haven't been used for many weeks because businesses have been non-operational can't simply be put straight back on the road, and need a thorough inspection.
"Tyres could very likely have lost pressure, a small leak could have drained fluids, and even rodents could have caused problems by chewing through the vehicle's wiring. As the lockdown is lifted, employers need to make sure vehicles are roadworthy before they're driven again to avoid breakdowns and the increased risk of accidents.
"Drivers, too, need to make sure they're prepared. Having been used to no more than the occasional trip to the shops on an empty road, traffic is now starting to increase to more normal levels. That readjusting will take time and they will also need to be alert to the increased number of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists as many commuters take to the road instead of public transport. A new series of 12 short animations included in the app will help them understand these challenges."
Peter Golding, managing director of FleetCheck, said: "One of the most important things about managing driver and vehicle safety is the need for a robust audit trail - ensuring all necessary checks are made, nothing gets missed, and everything is recorded. With the many unique challenges fleets are now facing, we're delighted to have the opportunity to work with Driving for Better Business and help develop this valuable resource to support fleet operators through what is an incredibly challenging time."