More than a quarter of commercial vehicle fleets are unaware that the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act came into effect in April, a study has revealed.
Firms may be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter if it can be proved that negligence in their duty of care obligations caused a death.
Twenty-eight per cent of companies questioned in the survey, commissioned by vehicle tracking specialist Navman Wireless, admitted to being ignorant of the new law.
However, the survey also revealed that of those aware of the legislation, more than half are planning to make adjustments to the way they handle their fleet.
“The Act should prompt the call to action needed for companies to introduce systems enabling them to manage road risk,” said Tony Neill, vice-president Europe, Middle East and Africa, Navman Wireless.
“But it is a concern that a significant number of companies are unfamiliar with the potential consequences of failings by senior managers.
“A corporate manslaughter conviction can lead to fines of up to 10% of a business’s annual turnover.
In spite of this, it is still encouraging that a considerable number of businesses will be taking steps to improve their duty of care procedures.
Vehicle tracking and fleet management systems, the more advanced of which can compel drivers to carry out vehicle checks, currently offer one of the most effective solutions.”
Of those companies set to improve their procedures, more than half (51%) said that they would enhance the quality and/ or frequency of safety checks on their vehicles.
Forty-four per cent said they would reschedule work timetables to ensure staff are not overburdened or working too many hours, while 42% said that they would now enforce
the Working Time Directive more carefully.
More than a quarter of the companies surveyed (27%) said that they currently operate a vehicle tracking system.
- If you need help on understanding the implications of the new corporate manslaughter act, Fleet News has produced an essential guide on what it means for fleets. Click here for more information.