Road Safety GB North East Region has launched a new campaign warning businesses that they could be prosecuted if they neglect their employer responsibilities.
The new campaign, Driving Down Your Risk, urges businesses in northeast England to act to help protect their employees, because they are “more likely to be involved in a collision as a result of a business driver than a drink driver”.
Between 2008 and 2012, 7,778 people were involved in collisions in the northeast while on a journey for work, which equates to one in five road collisions.
During this period, collisions involving business travel resulted in the deaths of 74 drivers and riders, 748 serious injuries and 8,262 slight injuries.
Casualties are highest during autumn and winter, with the majority happening Monday to Friday and peaking after 8am.
Men account for 78% of casualties, while those aged between 35 and 44 years are the highest risk group, accounting for 26%.
Alan Kennedy, road safety manager at Durham County Council, said: “About 21% of the region’s traffic collisions involve people who are driving for work, which is significant.
"To put this into perspective, over the same period, about 5% of collisions involved a drink driver, yet driving over the limit seems to get much more attention.
“We are appealing to both drivers and employers. Motorists need to watch their speed and give themselves ample time to reach their destination.
"It is also vital that they drive according to the weather conditions and avoid distractions, such as mobile phones and eating and drinking while on the move.
“However, it’s important that businesses play their part too. They must remember that they are liable under the Corporate Manslaughter Act if their policies are not up to standard.
"They have a duty of care to their staff to make sure they have enough time to reasonably get to appointments, have sufficient stop breaks and are not discussing business on the phone while driving, and are not suffering stress.
“Companies seem to be putting their employees under more and more pressure to deliver, but they need to appreciate that someone under pressure takes risks. Our question to employers is, are you doing enough to keep your staff safe?”
For more information about the campaign contact Karen Westcott at DTW on 01287 610404.