Driver Safety Hub

Driver safety is a fundamental part of a safety advisor’s role. Here, we’ve collected all of our content including blogs, guidance articles, case studies, e-books, webinars and more…

As an employer, managing health and safety risks to workers who drive a vehicle or ride a motorcycle, other powered two-wheeler or bicycle on the road as part of a work activity is a must.

The health and safety laws applDriving-For-Better-Business-Logoy to work activities on the road in the same way it does on a physical site.

This guidance will help you protect your employees by providing ways to have greater operational efficiency, reduce stress and improve morale.

This content is in association with Driving for Better Business. Driving for Better Business is a free programme to help you reduce work-related road risk, control the associated costs and improve compliance with current legislation and guidance.

Driver Safety Podcast Episode

Episode 31: Obstructive sleep apnoea and fleet management

How did a global industrial gas distributor support and manage a driver diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea? Tune in to find out!

Kevin Bird is an experienced driver at Air Products, a leading, global industrial gas company that operates a global fleet of vehicles. However, on being diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea he faced the possibility of losing his licence. Here, alongside his Manager, John Davies, he shares his story with SHP Editor Mark Glover, from that initial diagnosis to the support he received from his employers when revealing his condition.

Subscribe and tune in the Safety & Health Podcast to discover the latest issues facing the health and safety profession, and stay on-top of the developments affecting your role, from working at height, lone working and common workplace hazards, to safety culture, behaviours, occupational health and mental health and wellbeing.

Monthly Blogs from Simon Turner at Driving for Better Business

In this collection of monthly blogs, Simon Turner delves deep into the realm of driver safety, shedding light on the challenges faced by employers when it comes to road risk management. From addressing drug driving to combating driver fatigue and managing distractions, each article presents valuable insights and practical advice, ensuring that health and safety teams prioritise driver well-being and create safer journeys for their workforce.

Employers have a duty to ensure that all their staff are fit for work – and for safety managers, that means fit to drive as well. That responsibility means they must, where necessary, arrange for periodic health surveillance.

Learn more about what managers need to know, when diabetes is a DVLA notifiable condition and good practice for managing diabetes risk.

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Man having a health check via patch and mobile app.

Fleet operators have a duty of care to their employees and other road users whenever anyone is driving for business. This means they must ensure that drivers behave in a safe manner when behind the wheel. The most effective way of ensuring safe driving is to assess drivers, train to address any deficits, and periodically to keep skills and knowledge fresh; and to monitor on-road safety.

Learn key tips for effective training, and how using technology can help keep an eye on driver behavior to prevent problems before they happen.

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Standards and accreditations serve various purposes in terms of fleet safety. They provide an external checklist and structure for ensuring compliance and good practice; they demonstrate good practice, and they usually result in evidentiary trails to document the company’s governance.

Learn about the benefits of using fleet safety standards and accreditations to improve your road risk management.

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In his monthly column, Simon Turner sheds light on the far-reaching implications of driver welfare beyond organisational care, emphasising its direct influence on road safety.

Driver welfare goes beyond the pastoral care good organisations offer to employees – it has a direct effect on road safety.

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Driver distraction is one the fatal five – the most common contributory factors to fatal road collisions – and it can be one of the hardest work-related road risks to manage. Not only is it rarely witnessed, but vehicles are increasingly filled with phones, infotainment systems and other technology.

In this regular monthly column, Simon Turner discusses the pressing issue of driver distraction, emphasising the dangers of multitasking while driving and the need for strict policies and technology to manage this risk effectively.

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As you know, employers have a duty to manage health and safety for their workers and the public. However, organisational structure, business demands, working patterns and reward structures often do not consider the potential implications on the safety of those driving for work.

In his fifth regular monthly column for SHP, Simon Turner talks about the ways in which health and safety teams should review working practices to ensure that they prioritise driver safety, and do not compromise it.

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If anyone is driving for work, their employer has a legal obligation to ensure that they are qualified for the vehicle they are driving, and that they remain qualified. Therefore a standard part of any recruitment procedure should be to check the employee’s driving licence qualification prior to giving them a vehicle, or allowing them to drive for work in their own vehicle.

In his regular monthly column for SHP, Simon Turner talks about the legal obligations of checking your drivers are qualified to operate the vehicles.

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Driver ‘fatigue’ is thought to contribute to 20% of collisions and up to 25% of all fatal and serious collisions. Both conditions slow our mental processing and reaction times, and make decision-making more emotional than rational. All organisations should address the risk of drivers lacking alertness when driving for work, and also when commuting home after long or night shifts.

In his regular monthly column for SHP, Simon Turner at Driving for Better Business looks at driver fatigue and how employers can look to educate and ultimately prevent it in their fleet.

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All fleets are very aware of the dangers of drunk driving – but what about drugs? Recreational drug use can be widespread and very hard to spot. In his second regular monthly column for SHP, Simon Turner at Driving for Better Business looks at drug driving and how employers can look to educate and ultimately prevent it in their fleet.

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Do you play the National Lottery? The odds of winning the jackpot are a vanishingly small one in 45 million, yet millions of us think, this week, it might be me! The same optimism for a good outcome often blinds us to the risks involved in managing the safety of staff that drive for work.

In his first regular monthly column for SHP, Simon Turner at Driving for Better Business says Managers should never play the odds when it comes to driver safety.

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New technology driving change in road safety

eBook: Good practice in driver safety management

Driving for work is one of the highest-risk activities that many employees undertake, whether they drive a commercial vehicle, a company car or make occasional work journeys in their own vehicle.

This free eBook will guide you through some of the key understandings you need to be able to manage driver safety effectively and, at the end, provide a series of free resources you can access to help you ensure your own driver safety management system is robust, legally compliant and in line with industry-accepted good practice.

Driving for Better Business is a free to access government-backed National Highways programme, delivered in partnership with RoadSafe, to help employers in the private and public sectors reduce work-related road risk, protecting staff who drive or ride for work, and others who they may share the road with.

Download your copy here

Driver Safety Essentials

The Essentials of Driver Safety Management is a seven-part series written in partnership with Driving for Better Business.

Part 1: Writing a Policy

Part 2: Communicating Your policy

Part 3: Driver Checks

Part 4: Vehicle Safety

Part 5: The Business Case

Part 6: Accurate Record Keeping

Part 7: Regular Reporting


Our 7-Step Framework will help you improve your management processes, our free award-winning resources will help improve safety knowledge among both managers and drivers, and our case studies will demonstrate how others have achieved impressive improvements.

Health and Safety at Work legislation requires any organisation with 5 or more employees to conduct a written risk assessment of all their business activities – and this includes driving for work. Procedures then need to be put in place to minimise those risks, and that’s normally done through a Driving for Work policy.

Your driving for work policy sets out the standards of behaviour expected of your drivers, and it provides the framework for managing how well these standards are followed.

A good policy will include:

  • A policy statement which explains to drivers why the policy exists and why it’s important they follow it.
  • Details of any driver checks to be carried out such as driving licences and medical checks.
  • Guidance on Vehicle management and maintenance to ensure the vehicles are roadworthy at all times, and faults are fixed quickly.
  • Drivers’ hours and fatigue management to ensure excessive work patterns don’t create additional risks.
  • Driver distraction including use of mobile phones while driving.
  • Drug and alcohol impairment.
  • And what to do following an accident or breakdown to minimise anxiety and panic to ensure the correct procedures are followed.
  • It will also set out any training requirements and show how the organisation will deal with those who don’t follow the rules.

It is also a requirement that a named Director has personal responsibility for the policy. This responsibility includes ensuring that it’s comprehensive and up to date, that it’s communicated appropriately to all staff, and that procedures are in place to monitor compliance.

Your driving for work policy needs to be reviewed and amended periodically. From time to time, new legislation may be introduced, or existing legislation updated, plus the business may grow or diversify into new areas with new or different risks. Ideally the policy would be reviewed annually.

The latest version then needs to be signed and dated by the director responsible and communicated effectively to all relevant employees.

The key benefits of having a comprehensive driving for work policy in place include:

  • Clearly defined rules that reduce the level of driver risk.
  • Drivers who understand why the rules are in place.
  • Drivers that are more likely to behave as you’d want them to.
  • A clear framework for disciplining drivers that don’t follow the rules.

Having gone to the trouble of creating your policy, it’s obvious that if the policy is not communicated effectively to all staff, then they’ll not be in a position to follow its guidance.

Simply having a copy on a shelf in the office, or buried within the intranet, is not sufficient. It must be communicated to all drivers – and that includes those who may use their own car for work journeys – they are still driving on behalf of the business and the rules apply to them too.

In the case of other policies, such as mobile phone use, the rules may need to be explained to other relevant staff who may have cause to phone a colleague whilst driving.

In a recent survey carried out for Driving for Better Business, we found that 1 in every 6 employees who drive for work said they’ve been involved in an incident due to a phone call from a colleague.

You will also need to ensure that the policy is built into your staff induction or onboarding process. New staff will copy the behaviour of more experienced employees so, when new team members join, go through the policy with them and explain the importance of safe driving. If the policy is working, they’ll see other staff putting it into practice.

One of the most effective ways of communicating policy is through a driver handbook. Your handbook might include your whole policy or instead focus on some key elements with additional safety advice and guidance as a way of supporting and reinforcing the policy.

You will also need to keep records to show that this has been done.

You should be able to show that all your drivers have:

  • Received the policy
  • Read the policy
  • Understood the policy
  • Agree to abide by the policy

You may have given your employee a copy of the policy when they joined, and provided them with a driver handbook but it is good practice to remind them of its contents from time to time.

It is increasingly common that line managers are required to discuss Driving for Work issues with drivers at their annual appraisals. This might involve discussing any collisions, failure to carry out vehicle checks or reports of poor driving, but is also an opportunity to refresh their memory on company policy.

You could also look to issue timely reminders on safe driving guidance such as winter driving advice, vehicle checks, and the use of mobile phones whilst driving.

Remember, the benefits of good communication include:

  • Drivers knowing what’s expected of them.
  • Drivers being kept up to date with changes in legislation.
  • Easier process of dealing with drivers for not following policy if the policy has been communicated effectively.

Employers have a responsibility to make appropriate checks to ensure anyone they ask to drive for work is legally able and competent to do so. It sounds obvious but many don’t.

The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that it’s an offence for a driver to drive without a valid licence. The Act also states that it’s an offence for a person or organisation to permit a driver to drive without a valid licence. So having a robust system in place to check drivers’ licenses will help you catch someone without a valid licence.

We also need to check if they have any penalty points, and whether they’re eligible to drive the class of vehicle required. The checks will also highlight if drivers need glasses or have any other medical issues that may affect their ability to drive.

Every year, tens of thousands of drivers have their licences revoked for a variety of offences, while tens of thousands more have to surrender their licence for medical reasons. Regular checks will pick these up. Licences should therefore be checked at least annually directly with the DVLA.

Your driver checks and records systems should include:

  • Licence Checks – penalty points
  • Eyesight and medical checks
  • Vehicle category eligibility
  • Insurance for business use (if they drive their own car for work)
  • Policy receipt and acceptance (as we discussed in the previous segment)
  • Delivery of any training requirements
  • Collision or incident record
  • Driving offences and fines
  • Any complaints or disciplinary action taken against the driver

It’s important to remember that passing the driving test does not necessarily make someone competent to drive for work so it’s essential to check what experience they have.

If you’re asking a younger driver to travel 20,000 miles on a motorway each year, or asking someone to drive a van for the first time, or tow, it’s vital that you take the time to ensure they are both competent and comfortable doing so. If you need to provide any additional training and guidance, make sure that gets noted in your system.

These driver checks are an absolutely vital part of your duty of care.

The benefits of a robust driver checking system include:

  • Preventing the recruitment of unlicenced or ineligible drivers.
  • Quickly picking up medical issues or poor vision standards.
  • Identifying higher-risk drivers and those with penalty points.
  • Ensuring drivers have the right experience and competence.

Vehicle roadworthiness is one of the biggest challenges today. It’s an issue that the police and DVSA are taking increasingly seriously with regular compliance stops across the country where suspect vehicles are pulled in and checked. Policies and procedures to promote regular vehicle checks and ensure they’re in a safe, legal and well-maintained condition are therefore essential.

Vans and other commercial vehicles should all receive a full pre-use daily check with a written defect report – as part of an electronic reporting system if possible. If a safety-critical fault is found, the vehicle must not be allowed to be used until the fault has been rectified. Any faults that aren’t safety-critical need to be fixed at the earliest opportunity.

Your vehicle defect management system should include:

  • Guidance to car and van drivers on what checks are required.
  • A procedure for reporting defects.
  • Another procedure for rectifying the defects.
  • Ensuring regular service and maintenance is carried out on time.
  • Prompt resolution for any MOT advisory notes.

The driver is entitled to expect the company to fix any issues immediately such as worn tyres, damaged windscreen, or faulty lights as these are safety issues for which the driver could be penalised if stopped by the police.

Be aware that an MOT test only checks for basic defects, and does not guarantee the safety of a vehicle. It is also only a snapshot of the vehicle’s safety on that particular day – it does not mean the vehicle is safe to use until the MOT expires. Government statistics also show that approximately a third of cars and half of all vans fail their MOT test at the first attempt. Regular checks are essential to maintain the safety of the vehicle.

To ensure your vehicles stay safe, things to monitor include:

  • Key dates including MOTs, Road Tax and servicing.
  • Service and maintenance records.
  • Damage repairs and repair authorisations.
  • Fuel spend.
  • Pool cars and other vehicles not assigned to individual drivers.

Drivers should be encouraged to formally check and report on the condition of any vehicle given to them for the first time, especially if it has been bought pre-used or transferred from another person within the company.

An effective vehicle defect management system means:

  • You can be confidence your vehicles are safe and roadworthy.
  • Minimise vehicle downtime.
  • Encourage drivers to take greater care of vehicles.
  • There is less chance of vehicles being pulled over by Police/DVSA.
  • There is less chance of a collision or breakdown due to mechanical failure.
  • The risk to both the driver and the business is reduced.
  • Vehicle downtime for maintenance and repair is minimised.

Running company vehicles can be an expensive business. While poor driving can obviously put your drivers and other road users at risk, it can also cost your organisation huge amounts of money, but often in ways you may not realise.

This is the basis of any business case to invest in further driver safety. While serious incidents may be quite rare, most businesses suffer regular instances of lighter damage and increased wear and tear on the vehicles due to poor or aggressive driving. Focusing on reducing these smaller incidents and excessive costs will not only bring significant business benefits, but the safe working practices you introduce will reduce the likelihood of a more serious incident occurring.

The most obvious costs are fleet insurance and repairs arising from unnecessary vehicle damage, whether that be serious collisions or just avoidable parking scrapes. A firm with a poor claims history can easily pay three, four, even five times the amount for fleet insurance as a well-managed fleet with a good track record.

Even if you haven’t claimed on your insurance, you might be paying for the damage in other ways such as end-of-term penalty chargebacks from your leasing company that can prove very expensive.

Simple repairs such as replacing a broken mirror can cost hundreds of pounds each because many now have remote control adjustment, blind spot monitors and side repeater indicators built in.

If you buy your vehicles outright, then the reduced resale value of a poorly cared for vehicle means more money is needed for a replacement.

However, there are many hidden costs that are also involved such as the increase in admin and management time sorting out claims and repairs, right up to staff absence, vehicle off road time and business disruption if the incident was more serious.

Operational costs such as fuel, tyres, routine service and maintenance, insurance and damage repairs are often simply seen as the cost of doing business yet they can be significantly higher than they need to be when drivers and vehicles aren’t being managed properly.

Poorly managed drivers will often be prone to poor standards of driving which means they’ll often accelerate or brake more harshly, speeding and driving too close to the vehicle in front in order to keep up with their schedule. This naturally results in greater wear and tear on the vehicle and a higher chance of a collision.

Higher than average fuel use, tyre spend, maintenance costs and damage repair costs are therefore all reasonably good indicators of opportunities to improve driver safety management.

Good management is about measuring and monitoring this type of data to highlight the where behaviour is impacting costs. This will allow you to work towards:

  • Reduced insurance and repair costs
  • Reduced maintenance and operational costs
  • Reduced fuel use and environmental impact
  • Less drain on management and admin time
  • Less business disruption from vehicles being off the road

One of the biggest challenges in managing both drivers and vehicles is ensuring your records are both up to date and accurate. Your system must contain all the information you need – and for that information to be easy to find when you need it.

We call it having a robust audit trail. It means that you can quickly and clearly identify what upcoming actions need to be carried out and whether any urgent trends or issues need addressing. It also means you can clearly prove that all of those tasks were completed correctly and at the appropriate time.

Trying to do this using multiple spreadsheets or a paper filing system can be troublesome. It often means monitoring data on a regular basis takes up valuable extra time, the information may not be complete and there is a good chance you could miss something important.

A good system will allow you to report by exception rather than checking every item, so you’ll know immediately which vehicles need tax, an MOT or a service, especially important if you have a larger fleet. You’ll also be able to spot immediately if a driver hasn’t accepted the driving for work policy, has reached a concerning level of penalty points or if they’re due some refresher training.

A modern fleet management software solution will help you keep on top of:

  • Driver checks.
  • Policy acceptance.
  • Driver training.
  • Vehicle servicing.
  • MOT and road tax renewals.
  • Collision history.
  • Maintenance and repair costs.
  • Fuel use.

Reliable record keeping also means that, if there’s a serious incident, you can quickly lay your hands on all the relevant information regarding that particular driver and vehicle. This allows you to prove that you and the company had done what you were required to do in the way of policies, driver checks, training, vehicle maintenance, etc.

A key point here is who was actually driving – if you have multiple drivers accessing the same vehicle, either as part of a crew, or due to the same vehicle being used across different shifts, it is essential you can identify who was driving at any given time.

Not only does this give you confidence that you’ve done everything required in the event of an investigation, but it also allows you to be more effective at your job, spending time where it’s really needed.

Accurate record keeping means you can be confident that:

  • You’ve got consistent and accurate records with nothing missing.
  • You’re making the most efficient use of your time.
  • You can quickly see and deal with warnings and red flags.
  • You have a robust audit trail of all your legally required actions.

Reporting is essential because it shows what needs addressing in order to keep your drivers and vehicles safe. It keeps focus where it’s needed and prevents time being wasted on the wrong things.

Reporting is also essential for Directors because managing road risk is a shared responsibility. Directors have the ultimate legal responsibility because it is they who’ll be called to account if it all goes wrong. Risk management duties can be delegated to a safety manager but the ultimate duty of care can’t.

Directors have a moral responsibility for ensuring that nobody gets hurt in the normal operation of the business. And they have a financial duty to shareholders and staff to ensure that the business doesn’t waste money – and poor management of drivers and vehicles can waste an awful lot of money! Directors therefore need to be fully aware of what’s going on with their drivers and vehicles.

Reporting to directors should include:

  • Collision frequency, severity and cost.
  • Staff absence and vehicle downtime from incidents.
  • Likely impact on fleet insurance costs.
  • Uninsured damage repairs.
  • Maintenance and servicing costs.
  • Fuel use and efficiency.
  • There may well be other things to report too depending on the size and complexity of your fleet.

Reporting allows you to set baselines and metrics. It allows you to track trends in both collision rates and operational costs. It also provides the basis for developing, implementing and tracking plans to rectify adverse trends.

There’s no set frequency for reporting but it does need to be regular – monthly or quarterly is good practice. Get your insurers to agree to provide regular reports on claims activity to help with this. What you can’t do is just discuss road risk on the odd occasion that something goes wrong. Road risk needs to be managed properly to minimise the chance of something going wrong and maximise the operational benefits of running a well-managed fleet.

To summarise, road risk needs to be managed – and, if you aren’t measuring, monitoring and reporting, then you aren’t managing it – simple as that. Regular reporting holds everyone to account.

Regular reporting means:

  • You’ll know where your time needs to be spent to get the best results.
  • Ability to quickly analyse and act on fleet trends.
  • You’ll be better able to control both risk and cost.
  • Directors will be aware of the issues you’re dealing with.
  • You’ll be confident you’re making a positive difference.

This is the last article in this short series about driver safety essentials. Our goal was to help you understand the basics of what is needed to manage driver and vehicles safety but there are plenty of opportunities to go beyond this with industry accepted good practice to really improve safety and bring down collisions. We’ll be looking at these opportunities in greater detail in future feature articles.

Other Driver Safety Content

Cold as ice – Driving safe in freezing conditions

Freezing weather brings all kinds of hazards for the commercial driver. Simon Turner at Driving for Better Business looks at you how you can prepare your drivers so that they reach their destination safely.

Driving for Better Business: Incomplete data makes you blind to fleet risk

SHP hears from Simon Turner, campaign manager at Driving for Better Business on the importance of utilising data for driver safety.

Tackling the top five biggest driver behaviour issues

Dr Karen McDonnell, RoSPA’s Occupational Health and Safety Policy Adviser and Head of RoSPA Scotland, discusses the main risks relating to driver behaviour and how employers can help to tackle them.

Road Safety Foundation: ‘Now is the time to invest in safer mobility for all road users’

The Road Safety Foundation say it is time to re-focus to offer ‘safe, sustainable and inclusive’ mobility for all road users, following their recent report where economic policies for appraising investment in travel are ‘outdated’, ‘prioritising’ quick and convenient car travel and ‘do not reflect’ modern safe and sustainable values.