Fleet News

Fleets face threat of action over crashes

THE threat of companies being prosecuted for accidents involving their drivers is edging closer as official records will now be kept of work-related road crashes.

Paperwork used by investigating police officers to log accident details now includes a section on whether the drivers involved were travelling on company business.

Road safety experts have welcomed the move, saying precise casualty figures have previously been unavailable. They believe the figures will be collated this year and a report outlining how many accidents involve at-work drivers produced in 2006.

Although many police forces already investigate companies, the latest move means detailed records will be kept and studied, highlighting the true extent of the problem nationally.

Safety officials at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents have welcomed the move. Head of driver and fleet solutions Charles Davis said: ‘This will give us accurate information about the number of work-related road accidents and will be another warning to employers and fleet managers about the responsibility they have to keep drivers safe.’

He added: ‘This will prove that this is the biggest safety issue facing the country. Consideration will have to be given to a Health and Safety at Work Act Approved Code of Practice on driving for work so that companies will understand they will face legal action of they don’t meet their responsibilities.’

Fleets have been warned that companies could face prosecution under corporate manslaughter laws if, for example, one of their drivers who was found to be at fault for an accident did not have adequate insurance.

Davis added: ‘More organisations are now getting to grips with managing occupational road risk, but far too many still pay no heed to what their drivers are doing out on the road. Employers have a moral responsibility to keep their employees safe by introducing safe driving policies, but also to safeguard the lives of people on roads around them.’

The problem of some companies not taking drivers’ safety seriously enough was highlighted by a Government official recently.

Speaking at a RoSPA congress, Transport Minister David Jamieson said too many businesses still ignored what might happen to their employees driving on company business (Fleet NewsNet, March 17).

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