Driving a company car while at work nearly tops the league of the most dangerous jobs in Britain claims a leading independent road safety organisation, The Guild of Experienced Motorists (GEM).
People who have to drive as part of their employment, covering more than 25,000 miles per year, have as dangerous a working environment as coal miners or those in the construction industry where rigorous health and safety regulations apply. Research shows that high mileage drivers run a one in 8000 risk of being killed or seriously injured, coal miners a one in 7100 chance while construction workers fair better with a one in 10,000 risk, according to figures from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents figures.
Almost a third of all road fatalities involve vehicles driven for work purposes, while the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions admits that a company car driver is 30-50 per cent more likely to be involved in a crash than other drivers. These stark figures are revealed in a paper prepared for GEM by Ian Powell, a senior county road safety officer, who estimates that a third of an organisation’s vehicle fleet could be involved in a crash each year.
A Government task group claims that many employers fail to examine their health and safety management systems, which might have contributed to an incident. It concludes that a vehicle is a place of work and that employers should manage at-work-road-risk. No new legislation is necessary. Every employer must have a safety policy and this should provide for relevant information, training and supervision to carry out the driving task safely.
GEM is supporting Mr Powell and the Health and Safety Executive’s view that employees’ driving licences should be regularly checked, that a driver assessment or training programme should be considered and work should be scheduled to restrict long periods of driving without a break. Mr Powell argues that any extra costs could be offset by lower insurance premiums, an improved staff and public safety record, a more reliable service to customers and clients and reduced vehicle down time.