Britain’s roads are getting safer, with Department for Transport figures showing that total road casualties were down 5% on the previous year. However there is still some work to do as there were 164,500 reported casualties on our roads in the year ending June 2017 including 1,710 fatalities and 25,420 people seriously injured.
Causing death by dangerous driving is the most serious driving offence and a driver will be charged if there is a fatality as a result of driving that involved a deliberate decision to ignore (or a flagrant disregard for) the rules of the road and an apparent disregard for the great danger being caused to others. With the Government set to take an even tougher stance by increasing the maximum sentence from 14 years to life imprisonment; organisations should have adequate procedures and policies in place to ensure that employees required to drive for business do so safely and legally.
Up to 1 in 3 road collisions involve a company vehicle. Furthermore, 200 people are either killed or seriously injured every week in road collisions whilst at work. If an employee is charged with a serious driving offence there can be serious ramifications for the employer too. In addition to reputational damage and potential business interruption, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) may also look to conduct an investigation to determine whether the employers’ actions (or lack of) contributed to the collision.
As part of its investigation the HSE will look at an organisation’s driving at work policy, as well as other associated documents such as their mobile phone policy and drivers’ hours policy. For more information about dangerous driving offences and the impact on driving at work policies, take a look at Allianz’s whitepaper >
As well as taking steps to prevent road traffic collisions, businesses should have an understanding of the collision investigation process and how to handle questions which arise when their vehicles and employees are involved in road collisions. More and more Fleet, Health and Safety and Operations Managers are being equipped with the knowledge to assess contributory factors, make recommendations to prevent future collisions and advise on the company’s legal position.