Everyone knows the dangers that come with driving a motor vehicle. While creating a safe work environment is an employer’s responsibility, it can be tricky when driving at work is involved.
Unsafe driving impacts your employees, your community, and ultimately, your business’s bottom line. All is not lost, though. Creating a driving at work policy can help prevent accidents and protect your fleet from costly incidents. In this article we show you how, and help you understand driving at work laws in the UK.
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Your Business & Driving for Work Laws UK
The first thing to know is the Highway Code applies to all users, whether they are driving for work or recreation. And according to the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, employers have a duty of care for the safety of employees at work. That duty also applies to others impacted by their business activities. For driving at work, that applies to other road users.
- Driving at work HSE (health, safety, and environment) refers to the government regulations for driving safely for business purposes.
To fulfill their duty of care, fleet managers need to stay up to date on driving at work HSE.
Driving for work laws in the UK mandate that employers do not incentivise drivers to speed or drive unsafely.
This means it is illegal to set unreasonable driver’s schedules that encourage them to break speed limits.
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The Impact of Speeding and Unsafe Driving
Speeding and unsafe driving while driving at work can have devastating consequences. This is why driving at work HSE regulations aren’t just a bureaucratic hoop to jump through- they save lives, not to mention protect your business.
- Hurt your company reputation
- Result in heavy company fines
- Increase petrol costs
- Cause accelerated vehicle wear and tear
- Lead to licence bans for your drivers
As an employer, you can be prosecuted for aiding and abetting, or even corporate manslaughter, should a serious accident occur.
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Speeding Fines with Company Vehicles
So if your drivers are caught speeding with a company vehicle, who is responsible?
Driving at work laws in the UK indicate that ultimately, the driver is responsible. However, this doesn’t mean your company is off the hook. You as the employer are required to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy and driven safely.
After being pulled over by the police, your drivers are responsible for disclosing the incident to you. If you receive a letter in the post that your vehicle was caught on a speed camera, driving at work laws UK require you to name the driver.
Drivers caught speeding in the UK receive penalty points on their licence and a fine. Generally, the employee is the one footing the bill.
However, it is possible that your business could be held liable for your drivers’ reckless driving if you can’t prove that you’ve fulfilled your duty of care obligations.
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Creating a Driving at Work Policy
If you don’t already have a driving at work policy in place, this is the first step. This handy tool provides a framework for driving at work HSE.
- A driving at work policy helps your drivers understand your safe driving expectations, and demonstrates your due diligence as an employer.
Your policy should outline your driving at work policies and procedures. Ensure this includes your expectations regarding:
- Rest periods
- Aggressive & distracted driving
- Mobile phones
- Impaired driving
Print a copy to keep in each of your vehicles as part of your safe driving at work toolkit.
Helpful Tools of the Trade
Nowadays, there are digital tools that take the guesswork out of complying with driving at work HSE regulations. GPS tracker systems like Vimcar’s Fleet Geo make it easy to monitor and record your driver’s habits.
Tracking your drivers holds them accountable and leads to better driving choices.
By monitoring your route history, speed, real-time location, and stops, GPS trackers let you analyse your drivers’ behaviours and identify where improvements can be made.
- Without GPS tracker data, it is difficult to enforce your speeding policy.
Tips for Promoting Safe Driving at Work
Encouraging safe driving at work means careful adherence to driving at work HSE regulations.
Get started with these tips:
- Create driver incentives for safe driving, such as prizes for incident-free quarters
- Set realistic schedules, so your drivers are not tempted to speed
- Give your drivers tools to navigate hands-free, so they aren’t tempted to use their mobiles on the road
- Mandate that mobile phones be set to ‘do not disturb’ on the road
- Hold annual defensive driving training sessions
- Whenever possible, have deliveries occur during non-rush hours
Safety on the Road
While some road accidents are inevitable, there are things you can do as an employer to reduce risks. A driving at work policy helps you cut down on incidents and guard against company liability.
And don’t forget about the tools at your disposal. Fleet Geo helps you monitor driving habits and hold drivers accountable. Plus, with the market’s most accurate data, you have information on your side should you need to demonstrate proof to law enforcement.
Because the responsibility for accidents with company vehicles can be a grey area, fleet managers cannot afford to ignore driving at work HSE. By arming yourself with the information and tools you need, you can keep risk to your business to a minimum.
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