Fleet News

Company drivers claim working hours 'force' them to break the law

COMPANY car drivers can spend a full working week behind the wheel before they even start their full-time jobs, and many claim the pressure of work has forced them to exceed the speed limit, shocking new research reveals.

The in-depth study of hundreds of at-work drivers revealed that 18% of business car drivers spend more than 20 hours a week driving on business, with 4% driving up to 30 hours and 2% driving more than 30 hours, every week. Extrapolated across the UK company car driver parc, this is equivalent to 60,000 employees.

If staff driving more than 30 hours a week were to comply with the average working week, they would have only one hour a day to do any work, including any lunch break, without even including commuting.

Of the 700 drivers surveyed by Godfrey Davis (Contract Hire), 91% admitted to driving faster or less safely because of the pressure of work, while 72% confessed that their normal speed on motorways was 80mph, with 10% driving at 90mph.

In addition, 13% of employees owned up to driving their company cars 'harder' than their own cars, while 17% said they never made any safety checks on their cars except when they went to the garage, which could be as seldom as every two years. Female drivers were poorer at carrying out checks.

Despite the dangers of their work, company car users are uninterested in safety features on cars, such as airbags and ABS brakes, focusing instead on sunroofs and satellite navigation as the most wanted features on their next cars.

Two-thirds of drivers had not received defensive driver training, although 47% said they would like it, while 63% of staff never had their driving licences checked, and 85% were not penalised if they had accidents.

The survey comes as the Health and Safety Executive and Government consider the best way to tackle fleet driver safety amid a series of recommendations to treat cars more like the workplace from the Work-related Road Safety Task Group.

Nigel Underdown, director of marketing for GDCH, said: 'With the threat of more punitive health and safety legislation looming, the fact that nearly 30% of drivers do not check fluids and tyre pressures on a regular basis is a cause for concern.'

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