Fleet managers should carry out regular weather checks on behalf of their drivers, an industrial injury lawyer has advised.
However, fleet operator’s association, ACFO, has highlighted the need for drivers to take responsibility for their own actions.
“Fleet policies should include weather conditions, just as they talk about sticking to the speed limit and taking breaks, and individuals should be making a call on conditions themselves,” ACFO chairman Julie Jenner said.
“But it’s completely unrealistic for a fleet manager to monitor the weather all the time, dealing with drivers all over the country.
“Should fleet managers have to sit next to every driver, every day, and make sure they obey the speed limit?”
Steve Johnson, communications director at DriveTech, agreed, saying: “There is only a certain amount of hand-holding that fleet managers can be expected to do.
"Any person driving for a living should take responsibility for planning their journey.
“Having said that, if a driver does assess the weather and believes that the journey may compromise his or other road users’ safety, the employer must respect that judgment and support the driver’s opinion.”
The comments follow the news that a driver has begun proceedings against his employers after his lorry overturned in high winds.
The driver’s solicitor, Rachel Di Clemente, said that all fleet managers – regardless of their fleet makeup – should check forecasts and prohibit drivers going out on the road in hazardous conditions.
“It’s not up to drivers to find out when they should and shouldn’t be driving,” she said.
“It’s on the employer whether they should be sending employees out in dangerous conditions.
“If you’re sending employees on a long journey, then employers can easily undertake a weather forecast check.”