Fleet Services

Why do we need to be proactive in Managing Occupational Road Risk?

The main cause of crashes involves some form of driver error, yet many drivers will still not have received any training since they passed their driving test. We complete a basic course of instruction; take the driving test when we are 17 or 18 years old and normally go on to “teach ourselves” bad habits that form the basics of our driving for many years. As an employer of mobile workers you need to be aware of all relevant legislation to ensure that your procedures are up to date and that your vehicles/drivers are operating within the law.

The first piece of legislation is the Road Traffic Act; by ensuring vehicles are taxed, tested insured and being driven by persons holding the appropriate driving license. You have of course checked on a regular basis that your drivers hold a license and so you have discharged your liability. Unfortunately this is not the case, Health and Safety legislation now also applies to on the road work activities including fleet drivers. 

An example of this is the “Health and Safety at Work Act 1974” that  requires you to ensure as far as reasonably possible the health and safety of your employees as well as to ensure that others are not put at risk by your companies driving activities. The “Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999” also sets out your duty to effectively manage by  assessing risks and introducing any measures that are needed to reduce them. More recent legislation that has been introduced is the “Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2008” This Act sets out a new offence which can result in conviction where an organisation is judged to have grossly failed in the way it managed its activities resulting in a person’s death. 

The main difference is that this new act is concerned about encouraging the effective management of risk, those who disregard the safety of others at work with fatal consequences are now more vulnerable to serious criminal charges. The final legislation came into force on 16th January 2009 and is known as “The Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008”. The act is aimed at those who breach health and safety rules but unlike the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act, the breach does not have to result in death.

Under all of the above you as an employer have a duty of care to protect your drivers and other road users. It is your responsibility to ensure that the drivers of your vehicles posses adequate knowledge and training to be able to drive professionally on the roads without causing danger to other road users.

The statistics setting out death and serious injury on the UK roads are not fiction and speak for themselves. It is easy to forget that each statistic represents a real person injured or killed and the effect it has on their families.

The Department for Transport published their 2016 Transport Statistics with the following findings:

  1. There were 181,384 reported casualties of all severities on the roads in Great Britain
  2. 1792 people were killed. 
  3. 24101 people were seriously injured.
  4. 155491 people were slightly injured.

There are lots of statistics available on road casualties in the UK. The Dept of Transport web site at the link below explains these in more detail:


Whilst road deaths and serious injuries are on a downward trend there are still many incidents everyday on our roads which involve loss of life and serious injury. You have a duty of care to reduce the risk of your employees being involved in these incidents. Failing to do nothing and taking the “it won’t happen to one of our drivers” is a risky option. If you do nothing and one of your drivers is involved in a serious incident you may be liable to prosecution.

Apart from the risk in court you have to consider the loss of your reputation, the financial cost of defending legal action and the inevitable higher insurance costs you will have to stand. You do not need to risk any prosecution or bad publicity, you can be proactive and manage this risk by providing your staff with CPD, (continued professional development) by introducing fleet driver training as a part of your normal training programme.  

DIA Driving Standards Agency, Apporoved Driving Instructor (Car) AiRSO, Working for Safety on the Road RoSPA Advanced Drivers AND RIDERS Think Road Saftey