Fleet News

Manslaughter warnings ignored by operators

FLEET managers are ignoring stark warnings that they could be facing manslaughter charges if they force their drivers to spend dangerously long hours behind the wheel. A total of 4% of working drivers questioned in the RAC Report on Motoring 2001 felt that pressure from their employers to drive too far or too long had put themselves and other motorists at risk.

Those who felt under pressure were twice as likely to have fallen asleep while driving. Research in the report showed that 15% of private and fleet drivers interviewed admitted to 'dozing' behind the wheel - a potential figure of 4.1 million motorists. However, while 45% of drivers questioned had driven while feeling tired a 'couple of times' this was down from 74% in 1997. Sleepy drivers tend to be high mileage males. Furthermore, 27% of drivers said their employer put them under pressure to get to a destination on time, while 8% said their employer set unrealistic targets that required them to drive too fast or for too long.

Some 78% of drivers in work have had no training, the report revealed, commenting, 'The overall level of sleep driving is worryingly high. Risk management audits, combined with driver training in the workplace programmes would create a culture of safer driving practice.'

A summary of the report is available on the RAC website www.rac.co.uk, or for copies of the full report, priced £395, call Louise Sanders on 01454 208273.

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