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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
March 14, 2012

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Pressures of work are leading to dangerous driving

Commercial insurer RSA surveyed 1000 business drivers from across England, Scotland and Wales, and its findings, released on 13 March, show that a fifth of respondents exceed the speed limit regularly, one in ten drives through red lights to get to appointments on time, or meet other targets, and one in seven answers work calls while driving without using hands-free equipment.

Sales reps are the most dangerous business drivers, but van drivers are more likely to ignore vehicle faults, while haulage drivers are not given enough time to sleep between shifts. The survey also found that business drivers in Scotland are more likely to drive dangerously for work purposes than those from any other region, while men driving for work purposes are significantly more likely than women to drive dangerously.

RSA says its survey examines the extent to which businesses and their employees are turning a blind eye to road safety as they try to cope with increased pressure to perform, post-recession. It also questions the roadworthiness of some business vehicles; almost a third of respondents said they have driven with a blown light or faulty windscreen wipers, around a fifth have ignored a cracked windscreen, and more than one in ten have driven with a slow puncture.

The insurer points out that with as many as a third of road-traffic accidents involving someone driving for work, amounting to a £10 billion cost to the UK economy every year (according to Department for Transport figures published in 2011), dangerous driving while working is not just a serious safety issue but also a significant business, social and economic issue.

Added Jon Hancock, managing director – commercial, at RSA: “This research demonstrates the frightening disregard for road safety that exists within some businesses and among employees as the pressure to perform becomes more pronounced, post-recession. Employers have a duty of care to ensure the legality of their vehicles as well as the safety of their drivers and, by extension, other road users, yet these findings suggest that due diligence is not being adhered to in all parts of the country, or by all types of business drivers.

He continued: “Employers have a legal and a moral obligation to ensure that business vehicles are fit for purpose and that employees are fit to drive. Closer attention to road, vehicle and driver safety will not only reduce potentially fatal accidents but also save businesses money on repairs and increased insurance premiums. The importance of implementing the right procedures and levels of protection should not be underestimated.”

Driving for Better Safety - Free eBook download

This 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.

Download this eBook from Driving for Better Business and SHP to cover:

  • Why do we need to manage driver safety?
  • Duty of care – a shared responsibility;
  • Setting the rules with a driving for work policy;
  • Managing driver safety;
  • Ensuring safe vehicles;
  • Safe journeys and fitness to drive;
  • Record keeping;
  • Reporting;
  • The business benefits of good practice;
  • Additional resources

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