Fleet News

Policy change likely on driving prosecutions

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is about to publish its final report on bad driving, which will become the definitive guide for determining which offences errant motorists will face.

The report, to be published within eight weeks, follows lengthy public consultation.

According to regulatory experts, there is likely to be an increase in manslaughter charges for individuals, as well as greater scrutiny on employers’ health and safety policies.

The results of the consultation showed that bad driving is increasingly perceived as a serious offence, and that a charge of manslaughter should be considered in a wider number of cases.

The CPS has already stated that it intends to work more closely with the Health and Safety Executive to assess whether employers should be held responsible for incidents involving workplace driving.

“The CPS consultation has come at a time when bad driving is falling under increased scrutiny, in terms of both individual and corporate liability,” said David Young, partner at international law firm Eversheds, who predicts that a more aggressive approach to charging and prosecuting driving offences is likely in the new year.

Examples of when employers may be prosecuted for offences of bad driving in the workplace include having no regular system of preventative checks of vehicles; directors being aware of a fault, but allowing the vehicle to be used anyway; substandard repairs made by a company; and failure to ensure driver working hours and rest schedules are adhered to.

Robert Kingdom, head of marketing at Masterlease, said: “It is clear that the CPS is comm-itted to investigating more businesses following an offence of bad driving involving a work vehicle. Managers are advised to check policies and practices relating to driving sooner rather than later, or risk falling foul of the law.”

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