There are a range of laws that fleet managers and their drivers need to adhere to.
These range from road safety laws such as speed limit regulations, anti-drink driving legislation and minimum vehicle standards rules to health and safety regulations in the workplace and even anti-smoking laws that apply in company vehicles.
Some of the key legislations are:
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
Employers have a ‘duty of care’ for the safety of employees at work, regardless of the type or size of business. There is also a duty of care to others who may be affected by their business activities which, in the case of driving, means all other road users.
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Employers are required to carry out risk assessments, make arrangements to implement necessary measures, appoint competent people and arrange appropriate information and training.
- HSE guide to health and safety laws - a manager's guide
- HSE guide - a simple guide to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
The Regulations ensure work equipment is suitable for its intended use, safe and inspected, and properly maintained. They also require those using the equipment to be properly trained.
The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1996
These set out the standards for vehicles on UK roads.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
These cover a wide range of basic health, safety and welfare issues including traffic routes for vehicles within the workplace.
- EC Drivers’ Hours Rules
- UK Domestic Drivers’ Hours Rules
- The Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005
It is both the driver’s and employer’s responsibility to ensure compliance with drivers’ hours and Tachograph Regulations. They are applicable to goods vehicles in excess of 3.5 tonnes.
Road Traffic Acts, supported by the Highway Code
It is an offence for an organisation to set driver schedules that may cause them to break speed limits and/or have reward schemes that in any way incentivise them to do so.
Drink driving regulations
It is against the law to drive or be in control of a vehicle if you have 80mg of alcohol or more per 100ml of blood, 35mcg per 100ml of breath or 107mg per 100ml of urine. In most other European countries, the limit is less, usually 50mg per 100ml of blood. However, the rules are currently being revised.
The Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006 came into force in July 2007. It banned smoking in company vehicles that are used by one or more people for work. The ban applies to all cars/vans/lorries at all times if they can be used by one or more people (as driver or passenger) in the course of paid or voluntary work, regardless of whether they are in the vehicle at the same time.
Therefore, smoking will be prohibited in all vehicles which are used primarily for business purposes by more than one person. Vehicles used primarily for private purposes or for business purposes only by the driver are exempt and employees can smoke in those vehicles.
Using a hand-held phone or sat nav while driving
It’s illegal to hold a phone or sat nav while driving or riding a motorcycle. You must have hands-free access, such as:
- a bluetooth headset
- voice command
- a dashboard holder or mat
- a windscreen mount
- a built-in sat nav
The device must not block your view of the road and traffic ahead.
You can get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine if you use a hand-held phone when driving. You’ll also lose your licence if you passed your driving test in the last 2 years.
You can get 3 penalty points if you don’t have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle.
You can also be taken to court where you can:
- be banned from driving or riding
- get a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus)
New rules will come into force next year which mean holders of commercial licences will have to have their eyes tested every five years, and holders of private licences will be tested every 10 to 15 years.