Fleet News

HSE in bid to examine fleet accident records

FLEET accident records could be scrutinised by the Health and Safety Executive as the Government battles to cut company car driver accident numbers. The broadening of the executive's remit to include involvement in the management of company car drivers is put forward in a consultation document on transport safety published by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions as part of the integrated transport white paper.

The move is in line with the Government's determination to tackle what it sees as the unacceptable number of accidents involving the corporate car driver. It is thought a 'softly-softly' approach will be used initially to make companies have a more responsible attitude towards risk management rather than making driver training a statutory requirement. However, those companies failing to address poor driving standards are likely to face greater pressure to get their house in order.

The HSE declined to comment on the consultation paper or give an update on the progress of a year-long research being carried out in partnership with Nottingham University using police reports to establish the dangers faced by company car drivers which started this year. It follows Government concern resulting from findings that about 50,000 fleet drivers are involved in crashes annually. DETR figures show a company car driver is 30-50% more likely to be in an accident than a private motorist.

But one of the consultees is the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and Paul McCormick, RoSPA's highway and transport safety manager, said: 'We are likely to see the HSE take a softly-softly approach initially towards company drivers rather than the iron fist. But in the case of a fatal accident it's likely a company will get HSE inspectors coming in to see its records in the same way as they would an accident in a factory.'

The consultation document is available on the DETR website at www.detr.gov.uk or by telephoning 0870 122 6236. Responses must be submitted by June 14.

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