The day the letter comes or you get that email from your lease company! Your heart sinks. Oh dear. Someone got caught speeding, in one of your company vehicles. We don’t know why a driver would risk speeding in a company vehicle but it happens all too often. 90% of company car drivers admit to speeding on motorways, nearly half have said they break the speed limit on most of their journeys. What do you do as the business owner? What happens next? Who is at fault? Is it the driver, or have you not done your driver risk assessment for driving company vehicles?
What will happen will all depend on circumstances. For a familiarisation with UK rules, if the driver was pulled over, they would need to provide their details at the scene. It is then the duty of the driver to report it to their employer. But, if it was a speed camera that caught them, a letter will be sent to the vehicles registered keeper. This is could be your business or a lease company if the vehicles are not owned by the business.
The lease company will contact the business owner and then the organisation must then name the driver. If you do not do so, it is an offence. In the instance that you can not name the driver, you must demonstrate that you have gone to reasonable lengths to try and find the identity of the driver. If no records are kept of who is driving a company vehicle and when, you would need to explain why there are no records kept.
Only if the company can satisfactorily show that they cannot identify or name the driver, no one can be prosecuted. Failure to provide adequate information carries a fine of £1000. You must be sure you have done all you can to prove you cannot find the driver to not get this fine.
Where Does the Responsibility Lie?
The responsibility rests with the driver. However, when a vehicle is being used for work purposes, this is when legal issues tend to become murky. You, as a director, do not want fines for not identifying the driver, or not showing that you do not keep records.
When a vehicle is being used for work, the employer shares the responsibility for not conducting driver risk assessment for driving company vehicles. This is because it is being used for work and employers have a duty and responsibility of keeping their employees safe while at work. Employers can be prosecuted if a serious incident occurs for corporate manslaughter or for aiding and abetting. So, while it was your employee that is responsible for speeding, employers must still ensure they have taken every and all reasonable steps to ensure drivers use the roads safely when at work.
Minimising Driver Risk
This can easily be done by conducting annual training with all staff and completing a risk assessment for those driving company vehicles. Any business who is proactive in this area will see the benefits. It will help to prevent the possibility of getting fines or directors getting speeding points and fines for drivers. This can go along with annual licence checks to ensure that your drivers are able to drive the category of vehicle required of them through a regular driver risk assessment.
You must also ensure you are checking licences correctly. Asking each driver to get the code from the DVLA and using their national Insurance number is only for personal checks. It is illegal for businesses to check this way.
What Can Fines Be and Will I Get Points?
For a familiarisation with UK rules, the following show the importance of identifying driver risk. If a driver is caught speeding, it may come back to haunt your business. Carrying out a risk assessment for those driving company vehicles is therefore essential.
Failing to provide driver information. Driver Identity Section 172 (S172) of the road traffic act 1988: The registered keeper of a vehicle has a legal obligation to provide details of who was driving at the time of an alleged motoring offence. Failing to provide the drivers identity carries 6 penalty points on your licence and up to £1000 fines.
Speeding (Revised 2017) Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, S.89(1)
|Speed limit (mph)||Recorded speed (mph)|
|20||41 and above||31 – 40||21 – 30|
|30||51 and above||41 – 50||31 – 40|
|40||66 and above||56 – 65||41 – 55|
|50||76 and above||66 – 75||51 – 65|
|60||91 and above||81 – 90||61 – 80|
|70||101 and above||91 – 100||71 – 90|
|Sentencing range||Band C fine||Band B fine||Band A fine|
|Points/disqualification||Disqualify 7 – 56 days OR 6 points||Disqualify 7 – 28 days OR 4 – 6 points||3 point|
|Fine Band A||50% of relevant weekly income||25 – 75% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band B||100% of relevant weekly income||75 – 125% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band C||150% of relevant weekly income||125 – 175% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band D||250% of relevant weekly income||200 – 300% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band E||400% of relevant weekly income||300 – 500% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band F||600% of relevant weekly income||500 – 700% of relevant weekly income|
What Is the Cost of a Speeding Offence?
As you can see from the above charts, a speeding offence is not a small £100 fine as they used to be. A quick familiarisation with UK laws shows it can now be a large percentage of your weekly income, depending on how far over the limit you are. However, if the driver is over the limit by a relatively small amount, they will generally have to accept £100 fine and three penalty points. This is payable by the employee. These points can have a knock-on effect to the business so it is vital your drivers comply with road safety and you complete a risk assessment for those driving company vehicles. This is what a driver will risk on your behalf if you are not able to produce records.
You must inform your insurance company that you have points on your licence, whether it be your business fleet insurance and the driver’s personal car insurance. Any person who has 6 points on their licence can see insurance premiums go up by 76%. This will have an impact on business fleet insurance costs so weighing up driver risk and carrying out a risk assessment for those driving company vehicles is important.
You may then have additional costs to consider such as:
- Increased fuel consumption from driving at higher speeds
- Wear and tear on the vehicle
- Poor company image
- The employee may need replacing, if they quit their job due to the loss of their licence as a result of a ban. You may even have had to dismiss them and then re-advertise the job role. The cost of this would be more training, uniform costs etc.
The end point of what comes from speeding is the driver is responsible for speeding or any other driving offence. A wise employer would have ensured they have covered themselves to reduce the risk of this happening through:
- Pre employments risk assessments
- Driver training done yearly
- Licence checks done often depending on the driver risk rating:
A low driver risk: check licences every year or six months.
A medium driver risk: driver check licences three months.
High driver risk: after training and monthly until the risk level improves.
If you would like more advice on how to reduce the driver risk of speeding within your team, get in touch. We are more than happy to help you with the familiarisation of UK laws and how best to carry out a driver risk assessment for those driving company vehicles.