Fleet News

Ignore routine checks and end up in court: warning

COMPANY car drivers, fleet managers and company bosses could find themselves in court if an accident has happened because routine checks on vehicles were ignored. Many company car drivers are failing to inspect brakes, tyres, oil and screen-wash levels at regular intervals because vehicles now have 15,000- or 20,000-mile service intervals.

'It's your life. Check those safety items regularly - in the event of an accident it's you who could be held responsible,' John Redden, Alphabet (GB)'s fleet operations manager told company car drivers on the eve of publication of the Government's long-awaited road safety strategy. And he urged fleet managers to carry out vehicle inspections and check tyres and fluid levels, saying: 'If you can get your drivers into good habits, the cost benefits can be enormous.'

The warning comes just a week after fleet operators and company bosses were told by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents that they could find themselves in court facing serious charges if they allow company car drivers to spend too many hours behind the wheel. The claim followed an Old Bailey court case in which two haulage company directors were convicted of manslaughter after one of their drivers fell asleep at the wheel of his vehicle and caused the death of two other motorists in a seven-vehicle M25 pile-up.

Roger Bibbings, RoSPA's occupational safety adviser, said: 'This is a warning to all fleet operators - not just of lorries but of cars and vans as well - that action can be taken if they do not manage risk on the road correctly.'

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