Driving for work

Did you know that you are more likely to be involved in a collision as the result of a person driving for work than you are a drink driver?

One in five road collisions in the North East, or about 21%, involve people who are driving for work, but that figure does not include drivers of public service vehicles.

To put that into perspective, only about five percent of accidents involve a drink driver, yet driving over the limit seems to get much more attention.

Some of the key causes are speeding, rushing between appointments, distractions, such as mobile phones, eating and drinking, as well people failing to drive according to the weather conditions.

Businesses are liable under the Corporate Manslaughter Act if their staff driving policies are not up to standard. They have a duty of care to their employees to make sure they have enough time to get to appointments, have sufficient stop breaks and are not discussing business on the phone whilst driving, and are not suffering from stress.

Lives and pounds saved with business driving course

One of the region’s leading manufacturing companies, Husqvarna, made substantial savings after putting its drivers and managers through a safety and efficiency motoring course.

The Newton Aycliffe-based company, which produces Flymo garden products, has seen its fuel bill reduce and its driver safety record improve following completion of the Safety and Fuel Efficient Driving (SAFED) course.

On average, drivers saved ten miles to the gallon at the end of the course and saw their risk score drop from 11.42 to 1.44.

SAFED courses aim to improve the driving standards of people who drive for work, while also reducing fuel consumption and saving money on transport costs.

“The course has been a revelation to us because not only does it save us money in the long-term, but it helps us to safeguard our employees against collisions that can easily be avoided,” said Paul Mather, Husqvarna’s Health and Safety and Risk Manager.

“The course is not about labelling people as good or bad drivers, but the instructor looks at how you drive and then advises on how you can improve and drive more efficiently.”

For information about the SAFED course, contact the road safety officer at your local council.

“The course is not about labelling people as good or bad drivers. The instructor advises on how you can improve and drive more efficiently.”

Safe driving during work time is a shared responsibility

  • Drivers and their employers must take responsibility for safe driving practises during work time.

  • While motorists must slow down and concentrate on the road at all times, businesses need to appreciate that someone under pressure takes risks.

  • Our question for employers is ‘are you doing enough to keep your staff safe’?

  • Men account for 78% of road traffic casualties where collisions have occurred involving a business driver.

  • Those aged between 35 and 44 are in the highest risk group, accounting for about a quarter of casualties, and more than half of vehicles tend to be cars, followed by small goods vehicles and then heavy goods vehicles.

Top tips

  • Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination

  • Slow down in poor weather conditions

  • Switch your phone off and put it out of sight before starting your journey

  • Leave eating and drinking until you can stop your vehicle

  • Take plenty of breaks

  • Don’t take risks

  • Ensure your vehicle is regularly maintained

  • Give yourself realistic appointment times

  • Talk to your employer about issues concerning driving for work

For safety videos and downloadable road safety material, please visit our Resources page