Fleet News

Law review prompts duty of care warning

FLEETS are being urged to look at their duty of care policies in preparation for a new Home Office review of road traffic offences.

It is likely that by updating the law, sentences will become tougher for bad drivers, particularly those who cause a death or serious injury as a result of their actions behind the wheel.

Industry commentators also believe the penalty points system could be under review and penalties may increase, meaning motorists convicted of speeding offences would rack up more points and lose their licences more quickly.

It highlights the importance of fleets checking licences regularly, to ensure their drivers are safe on the road and providing training to boost their awareness.

The review, led by John Halliday, a former director of criminal justice policy at the Home Office, will look at ways of updating the law on serious driving offences. A team will study all levels of bad driving and develop new proposals for the prosecution and punishment for this type of crime.

Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland said: 'The impact of serious bad driving is often underestimated. This kind of crime can be devastating for victims and their families and a significant threat to the security and general well-being of our communities.

'It is vital that the criminal justice system reflects the needs of the victims of these crimes as much as it provides for the trial and sentencing of offenders. I am confident the review will formulate thorough, sensible and, if necessary, radical proposals for change.'

Mike Waters, head of market analysis at Arval PHH, said: 'Driver behaviour should be part of a fleet's duty of care obligations. If penalty points are going to increase then drivers could find they lose their licence a lot quicker. It is also increasingly important to introduce policies that cater for cash-for-car or private owner-drivers.' The review is likely to last about four months and then a period of public consultation will follow.

Offences going under the spotlight will include careless driving, dangerous driving, causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causing death by dangerous driving.

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