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Management of road risk - employee road safety

It has been estimated that up to a third of all traffic accidents involve somebody who is driving for work at the time. This accounts for over 20 fatalities and 250 serious injuries every week. Health and safety law applies to on the road work activities as well as all other work activities therefore it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure the safety of all company vehicle drivers including drivers using their own cars on company business. 

The road safety of employees driving on company business appears to run in conjunction with existing areas of employment legislation. HR must be on top of the health and safety issues that affect company car drivers.

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Road traffic law

Road traffic law is concerned mainly with the individual driver and vehicle. However, the enforcement of road traffic law would also address the extent to which employers have shown their duties of care. 

The police will in most cases, continue to take the lead on the investigation of road traffic incidents on the public highway. If a police investigation into a crash shows that an employee driving on company business was involved, they will look for the following evidence:

  • The condition of the vehicle
  • The driver, signs of fatigue etc
  • The legalities, licence, MOT, insurance etc
  • The reason for the journey, why, distance driven etc

Enforcement action by HSE will usually be confined to incidents where the police identify that serious management failures have been a significant factor in the incident. 

It is essential that organisations’ have controlled and manageable policies in place with expert advice available to deal with any new business challenges that may arise.

In order to assist companies’ responsibilities in promoting and ensuring the safety, health and welfare of staff and members of the public Stephensons can help businesses meet their legal obligations by developing and implementing a Road Risk system for their organisation. For more information on how our legal experts can assist your business contact us on 01616 966 229.

Employee road safety FAQs

Am I responsible for my employees driving to and from their place of work?

If the employee does not normally drive on business, is based at one location and is just commuting from their home to their place of work then the answer is NO. 

What should I do if an employee has points on their licence?

As long as they are below the limit from being banned they are allowed to drive, however if you have doubts about their ability to drive safely you can prohibit them from driving until they can prove that they are not putting themselves or others at risk. You can engage a recognised driver skills company to test the individual.

Am I responsible for paying my employees business insurance?

It depends what was agreed at the time of employment. Normally a company who expects an employee to use their own vehicle whilst driving on company business pays the difference in the insurance.

Who is responsible for the upkeep of a company car? I have problems with employees who don’t take them in for their service on time and who don’t check tyres, lights etc on a regular basis.

Employees of company vehicles must be reminded that whilst a vehicle is in their charge they have legal responsibilities for the vehicle being roadworthy. Employees who disregard this should be disciplined by their manager. If they are persistent offenders then the privilege of the vehicle should be removed.

Some employees take an allowance and purchase their own car for “business use”.  Are we still responsible for the road worthiness of these vehicles?

Under health & safety law, employers have the same duty of care to employees driving their own vehicles on company business as they do for company owned or leased vehicles. By insisting that they service their vehicle annually and provide documentation of this and any other relevant safety requirements such as MOT certificates you are showing that you are assessing the risks and ensuring that the vehicle is fit for purpose. You should also remind all drivers about the need for daily and periodic vehicle condition checks.

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