And driving too fast, especially in wet conditions, is when most company car drivers are at their most lethal.
The damning evidence of continuing dangerous driving comes from a new Department for Transport-funded report carried out by the University of Nottingham’s school of psychology.
Researchers examined the contributory factors in 2,111 accidents in the Midlands between 1996 and 2004. They found that overall the drivers of company cars, vans and lorries were most often to blame for crashes.
Company car drivers driving too fast was the major factor, while van drivers showed more observational failures. Lorry drivers tended to be tired and have defective vehicles.
The report said: ‘Company car drivers had more of their accidents on slippery roads, or while under the influence of alcohol, or while speeding, than would be predicted by chance when compared with drivers of other vehicles used for work purposes.
‘Over half the accidents on slippery roads also involved excessive speed, so there appeared to be a huge overlap in these two groups.’
Driver training firm Peak Performance said the report showed the importance of educating those that drive for work.
Managing director James Sutherland said: ‘This study clearly shows the pressure that company car drivers are under and that companies are still not doing enough to train their employees.
‘Although much has been made in the media about the increased duty of care that companies owe to their employees, many firms are still paying lip service to the issue.
‘It may be that companies think they are being perfectly reasonable in sitting on the fence and waiting for something major to happen, but there is growing evidence being compiled against company car drivers by a number of agencies and as soon as companies realise that the better.’
The full study can be found online here.