Fleet News

Police get tough on fleet death crashes

ONE of the country's biggest police forces has warned employers that officers will come knocking on their doors in the event of an accident involving company drivers. South Yorkshire Police gave the warning at a major seminar last week where it also outlined the role employers should play in the event of a fatal accident involving a fleet driver.

This role could include providing detailed information against possible prosecution but also extends to helping bereaved families. Roads police sergeant Mike Fillingham said the force was attempting to change attitudes towards car crashes.

'The word accident implies it is unfortunate – we try to use the word collision,' he said. 'People don't tend to look at them as a crime. We ask why it happened and who else may be liable to prosecution. We will look at the state of the vehicle and how it is maintained – that includes looking at company maintenance records and interviewing directors, other drivers and maintenance staff.'

Sgt Fillingham said it was vital companies put safety before profitability in terms of fleet drivers, adding: 'Following an incident companies find it difficult to justify putting profits first. There can also be bad publicity arising from a collision.'

Family liaison adviser and seminar organiser Pc Jeff Goodright said: 'Someone within the workplace should be charged with the task of dealing with relatives and they should have the right personality to be able to do that, it's very important.'

Employers must keep a record of all contact with the family should there be a subsequent prosecution involving the company.

Goodright said: 'That person could help the family deal with issues such as pensions or dealing with the unions. The last thing on a wife's mind should her husband have been killed is money, but it can have a massive effect on the rest of their lives.

'They could also deal with returning property to the deceased's family, such as their uniform or locker contents or vehicle. But make sure you have corroboration – have someone with you when going through the deceased's property and document everything.'

  • Anyone interested in attending further seminars should email Pc Jeff Goodright at Jeffrey.Goodright@south yorks.pnn.police.uk
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