Fleet News

Agenda for Action Conference: Probe road deaths as if they’re murder

DEATHS on the road should be investigated as thoroughly as suspected murders, said Kevin Clinton, road safety adviser to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Two-thirds of last year’s road casualties (188,342 people) were car users and a substantial proportion were drivers making journeys as part of their work.

About 100 people were killed or seriously injured on the road daily and another 750 slightly injured, he revealed.

Clinton told conference delegates: ‘Companies should have a driving policy document to help reduce accidents. It must be communicated to all fleet drivers, because 30% of miles driven on UK roads are for work, including 16% of car miles.’

Thorough road accident investigation was essential because the Health and Safety Executive said relevant laws applied equally to on-the-road work as to other work activities. All needed to be managed within a health and safety system.

Clinton said firms should set in-house standards as a benchmark for investigating employee road accidents and recognise emerging factors. Falling asleep at the wheel was a rising problem, according to the Department for Transport.

‘Fleet drivers should stay within speed limits, but how can employers expect them to if it is not written into a set of standards,’ Clinton said.

Other factors in the standards should be combating fatigue, avoiding night/adverse weather driving and vehicle specifications and maintenance, including vehicles being fit for the person and purpose.

Driver fitness assessment must include stress, drugs and alcohol, including the danger of ‘morning after’ driving, and taking non-prescription medicines, banning the use of all mobile phones while driving and improving driver competence.

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