A recent study from TomTom Telematics found that over a fifth of UK companies do not have a road safety policy in place. This means that 20% of businesses in the UK are putting both their employees, and their business itself, at greater risk of health and safety breaches from drivers crashing on the job.
A road safety policy is a safeguard against this, helping to ensure that employees that drive for a living are safe and protecting them (and the company) from insurance and legal claims in the event of an accident. This should be of paramount importance for businesses as, just by enforcing measures like regular driver training and frequent vehicle checks, you could better keep your drivers safe.
What are the consequences of not having an adequate road safety policy?
There are a variety of reasons why, without a road safety policy, your employees will be more at risk of being involved in an accident. They may not be motivated to drive safely, might not be aware of how to keep themselves safe on the road, and it is less likely that their vehicles will be secure. Employment-related driving accidents are a regular occurrence, with more than 100 people a week who drive as part of their job killed or seriously injured in accidents.
Not only does this put your employees and others on the road at risk of being harmed, but crashes involving your fleet can also lead to legal claims against your company. You could be liable for fines under the Safety at Work Act, and senior individuals could even face prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter Act if an employee is seriously injured or killed on the road.
As well as the possibility of legal action, accidents could drastically eat into your business’s funds, resulting in unnecessary payments on insurance, not to mention the cost of repairs to the vehicles in your own fleet. Accidents involving employees can also damage your business’ efficiency; 78% of those surveyed by TomTom Telematics stated that accidents reduced productivity due to injuries to staff, and the resulting time they needed to take off work.
How can your business ensure maximum road safety?
There are a number of overarching fleet safety measures that your business can take as part of your road safety policy. One way you can help to do this is through investing in fleet tracking technology, as this will allow you to remotely monitor your employees while they drive. Fleet tracking technology can flag up inappropriate driving behaviours like speeding, harshly braking and travelling for too long without a break. A safety driving score is collated from all these behaviours and relayed to you either through text or email. As Movolytics state, this software can improve fleet safety by challenging your drivers to improve their safety score and outperform one another.
You should make sure to invest in high quality, safe vehicles. With a number of modern vehicles featuring cutting edge technology designed to prevent accidents, such as autonomous emergency braking and lane-departure warning systems, it is easier than ever to keep employees safe.There are a number of especially safe models currently on the market, such as the Toyota C-HR, which features a lane-departure warning system, automatic high-beam assistance and road-sign recognition.
Carrying out regular vehicle checks means that your fleet will be less likely to malfunction whilst on the road. This is even more important for larger vehicles, considering that they are more likely to cause serious crashes. Conducting safety tests on your business’s fleet is easier than ever, with a number of authorised testing facilities throughout the country that test HGVs.
Your business should also provide regular driving training to employees to refresh their knowledge of road safety. According to the TomTom Telematics study, only 57% of companies provide driver training and of those that do, 38% provide it once every six months or less. Offering this training on too infrequent a basis can leave your drivers rusty on the job, and unaware of some of the ways that they could be driving more safely. To combat this, there are fleet driver training courses you can enroll your employees on, with workshops to help drivers work on areas like speed awareness and road risk management.
What policies should businesses outline for employees?
As well as wholesale changes to how you manage your fleet, another crucial part of a road safety policy is engaging with your employees to ensure that they are driving safely. It is therefore imperative that you implement rules that stipulate exactly how your drivers need to go about their jobs. This should include:
- Prohibiting alcohol and drug use whilst driving
- Banning the use of phones whilst behind the wheel
- Outlining correct driver behaviour
- Highlighting importance of self-care whilst driving
- Guidance on how to maintain vehicles
Road safety should be a critical concern to businesses yet, as research shows, the majority of UK businesses don’t take it seriously enough. This can have disastrous consequences in terms of risk to employees and others on the road, as well as legal and financial repercussions. For these reasons, it is very much in the best interests of a business to do everything they can to ensure their employees are safe behind the wheel.