Below you will find a few pointers on the law that covers drivers who use their vehicles to carry out their work activities. If you are a fleet manager or business owner, you need to know your rights and obligations.
1.What Is Driving for Work?
This is any activity where you are driving on the road for work purposes. This includes all vehicles, cars, vans, motorcycles, busses and trucks. There are loads of risks posed to workers themselves and also to those not at work who may be affected by the work activity, such as pedestrians and other road users and property.
2. Is Commuting to Work Classed as Driving for Work?
No, driving for work excludes commuting to one place of work and back home. However, if employees were to drive to a location not their normal work place then this would be driving for work.
3. What Types of Injuries are Associated with Driving for Work?
Employees may be at risk of suffering a serious injury or being killed if they are involved in a road traffic collision (RTC). Employees can also suffer bodily injuries through poor posture whilst driving or driving for long periods of time. Slips, trips and falls resulting in sprains and strains are also common occurrences and normally occur whilst the person is mounting or dismounting the vehicle.
4. But My staff Doesn’t Drive for Work?
Are you sure? Many workers drive for work, for some workers this is their main job, such as a delivery driver in vans or trucks, bus drivers, taxi drivers, these are the more known driving jobs, whilst for others driving may only form a minor part of their job and be carried out occasionally, such as a store assistant going from their store to another to collect an item, a sales rep going to a meeting, a quality assurance manager going to a customer to inspect materials rejected or to audit, an office clerk going home for lunch and on the way stopping to post the mail.
5. As an Employer How Can I Have any Influence over Employees When They Are Driving for Work?
A good question. You are not actually driving there with them, so ultimately it is the driver who is responsible for how the vehicle is driven on the road. As an employer, you can have a significant influence on the driver and vehicle, and you do, under health and safety and duty of care. You do not have the same control over driving as you do within your workplace. You can still be the influencer and take action to ensure that you are reducing the risks associated with driving for work.
Such actions will include:
- Driver selection, vetting, eyesight and licence checks, for example, ensuring that drivers have the correct licence for the vehicle being driven.
- Selecting the safest company vehicles possible and ensuring that they are fit for purpose.
- Maintaining company vehicles.
- Risk assessing all driving for work activities.
- Provide instruction on what you expect from your drivers via driver handbook and training, which will also provide you with a report of the session and the risk level of the driver, this should also be revisited every 12 months if a low risk drive demonstrated, 6 months for low risk and high risk should result in more development training before the employee drives for your business.
- Providing safety equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as, high visibility jackets, safety footwear, waterproof clothing, gloves, warning triangle, tyre pressure and tread depth gauges
- Promoting good driver behaviour amongst staff, maybe even do a chart or driver of the year competition.
- Safety planning of all journeys so that drivers have enough time to carry out the journey safely, fit and fresh enough to carry out their duties when they arrive. Inadequate planning can result in poor saver behaviour, speeding, driver fatigue, and poor job performance.
6. As an Employee What Should I Do When Driving for Work?
Always follow the rules and regulations of the roads and follow safety tips.
7. So Who Is Ultimately Responsible for Safe Driving for Work?
Safe driving for work is everyone’s responsibility, so the employer and employees should and must share the responsibility. If a driver does something wrong on the roads. The company director can be held as liable as the driver, meaning the director could be sentenced to a time in jail and also receive fines and points.
8. Are There Any Benefits of Managing Driving for Work?
There are many benefits to Managing driving for work.
- It can reduce accidents
- lost staff time
- insurance premiums
- damage to vehicles
- operating costs and environmental impact
Other benefits include improved efficiency, morale and company image. Safe driving for work is good business; it protects your staff and the bottom line.
9. What Laws Govern Fleet Drivers?
There are three main types of law that apply to driving for work:
- Road Traffic law
- Health and Safety law
- EU rules on driving time. (Whilst we are still within the EU) I am sure that once the exit has done driver rules regarding drive time will remain or alter slightly
10. Who investigates Work-Related Road Traffic Collisions?
The police will investigate and enforce any road traffic law any road incident and if required a joint investigation with the health and safety executive to ensure all compliance and duty of care has been covered, where it has not prosecutions can then come under the health and safety corporate manslaughter and homicide act 2007, if a incident results in a death on the roads.
11. What causes Work-Related Road Traffic Collisions?
There are many underlying causes. The police have what they call the fatal 4, these are the four reasons people are killed on the roads, these are speeding, no seat belts, distractions and drink and drugs.
Some of the main causes of work related road traffic collisions are:
- unsafe and poorly maintained vehicles
- unsafe, long or unplanned routes
- stressed, tired, distracted drivers
- untrained drivers
- poor driving techniques
- poor road and weather conditions
12. Are there Certain Categories of Vehicles that are Involved in Work-Related Road Traffic Accidents?
Trucks and lorries tend to be the main type of vehicles involved in work related road traffic deaths, but this is because they are on the roads for longer, but cars, vans, construction vehicles along with farm vehicles also feature.
13. Do Work-Related Road Traffic Collisions have to be reported to the Health and Safety Authority?
Yes, if as a result of a road traffic collision whilst driving for work, the person dies or sustains an injury which prevents them from performing their normal work duties for more than three calendar days (excluding the day of the accident), this must be reported to the Authority using the Incident Report System. Incidents that occur while a person is commuting either to or from work do not need to be reported. Drivers should also report any incidents if they have their own personal insurance on their private vehicle too. Failure to do so can invalidate their personal insurance.
14. How Do I Manage Fleet Driver Behaviour?
You should refer to the Health and Safety Laws regarding driving for work. Implement training and the drivers’ handbook, monitor via telematics. You can also possibly have an accident management company for additional support.
15. Can I Use a Hands Free Kit with my Mobile Phone?
Using a hands free kit is not against the law but it will affect your concentration and this puts other road users at risk. You should not actively ask your fleet managers to call drivers when they are driving, get drivers to check in when they arrive, or contact your fleet manager if they require help such as an accident or breakdown.
You could be prosecuted for dangerous driving, careless driving or driving without due care and attention.
When driving it is recommended that your mobile phone is switched off or put on silent option before starting your journey.
16. If I am Driving and Feel Sleepy, What Should I Do?
As a temporary measure, stop your vehicle somewhere safe and have a strong caffeine drink. Then take a 15-minute nap which will allow the caffeine to take effect. But remember the only real cure for sleepiness is to get enough sleep. Turning up the radio and opening windows will not help you.
17. As an Employer Do I have to Provide Welfare Facilities for Visiting Drivers?
It is a basic human right to have access to clean facilities and a place to wash. For haulage drivers who spend hours traipsing the motorways, this ‘right’ is particularly essential. Not only is denying a lorry driver or staff visiting access to restroom facilities a lack of gratitude and respect, it is also illegal according to Public Health England legislation. These drivers may well have been on the road for several hours. In light of the current vivid-19 outbreak then providing a place for a driver to wash their hands is ever more so important.
This could all be arranged in advance so the driver knows they have access to the facilities.
Some drivers may need to observe the vehicle being loaded and as a result are often at risk of a workplace incident. Providing a designated safe area for visiting drivers to observe the loading process, which has easy, safe access to toilet and refreshment facilities can significantly reduce the risk of an incident occurring. This may now also be so much different due to social distancing rules. Drivers with loads being asked to wait in their cabs. But they should still be allowed access to the facilities.
If you need any other assistance feel free to contact us for a free consultation and overview of our fleet training services.