Isn’t it time you had a drive safely policy?
Does your business have a drive safely policy, or are you one of the 21% of businesses in the UK that lacks one? The HSE estimate that "more than a quarter of all road traffic incidents may involve someone who is driving as part of their work at the time."
Are you mad, are businesses employing people without licences now?! Well funny you should ask that, because here at Qdos Consulting we have supported business owners who have come across some of their drivers who are not eligible to drive. For instance, those with expired licences, foreign licences that are not valid in the UK, had licences removed for health reasons and even those who have simply been banned from driving!
As a business owner, you have a duty to ensure that your workers are made aware of the hazards associated with their job, provide a safe place of work and give information, instruct and train them to complete their role safely. This should extend to driving for business purposes.
Goods vehicle and passenger carrier vehicle drivers are covered and therefore restricted by the EU’s drivers’ hours rule and detailed information is available on the gov.uk website, but many company car drivers perform many miles of driving and therefore implementing a drive safely policy to protect your employees and other road users becomes paramount.
Surely if they have a licence they know how to drive?
Sure enough, but people still have accidents and you need to set the standards to which they should be following, such as; use of mobile phones, travel time before having a rest break, informing work about driving offences and penalty points, looking after company vehicles, maintenance, informing of faults, service lights coming on etc.
This also includes those who are classified in the ‘grey fleet’ (those who use their own vehicles for business use).You must ensure that their own vehicle is properly maintained and serviced for the times they use their vehicle for company purposes. You must carry out regular licence checks and ensure that your drivers are suitably insured and their vehicles taxed with a current MOT certificate, where relevant.
The research undertaken by TomTom found that 60% of the 400 companies surveyed, that have five or more employees, reported staff members had been involved in road traffic accidents while driving for work. Over three quarters claimed this resulted in lost productivity due to the person being off work because of an injury.
Would I be liable for this?
That depends on the vehicle and whether you supplied a faulty vehicle, (similarly to providing faulty equipment in the workplace). If your employee was at fault; if your employee was ineligible to drive; the other driver was at fault; you failed to suitably implement checks on your drivers; the employee’s vehicle was not insured, taxed or with a current MOT certificate etc.; investigations will discover the root cause and where a failure was on the part of the employer, this could be deemed as vicarious liability and therefore the employer can be prosecuted.
So, what options are there for me?
TomTom’s research also highlighted that 57% of employers provide driver training, 38% provided it every six months or less frequently, over half of those surveyed, provide technological tools or driver aids to improve safe driving. However, under the Road Safety Act 2006, a driver can still be imprisoned if it is proven that they were not in full control of their vehicle and this can even mean, operating a mobile phone hands free, listening to music, talking to passengers, drinking, eating, personal grooming and using technological aids!
The director for TomTom Telematics insists that driving is one of the highest risk activities that employees perform but is not seen as a priority compared to workplace health and safety. Beverley Wise director UK & Ireland at TomTom Telematics has been reported saying, “… businesses should be aware that a proactive approach to road safety can deliver business benefits…’monitoring technology for driver behavior that allows for live feedback alongside support and coaching …’ … is possible to help reduce fuel spend, cut insurance premiums and boost productivity …”
Trends suggested by the Government indicate a reduction in road deaths since the year 2000 to around 1,750 per year for all road related casualties, from over 3,000. We still have a lot to do to reduce this further, but by implementing a drive safely policy, providing the right level of support, including training and checks can contribute to this trend analysis and boost your production as a business owner.
Our Driving whilst on company-related business policy is available to view on our website, however, if you require access please call our advisors on the following: Qdos 01455 852028.