According to the HSE more than a quarter of all road traffic incidents may involve somebody who is driving as part of their work and may be driving a company car or other vehicle and there’s a high risk that they are using their mobile phone.
Whilst your employees are ‘clocked on’ no matter where they are, your Health & Safety responsibilities remain the same and you need to manage the risk to your company car drivers in the same way you would with any of your Health & Safety policies & procedures.
And for the record Health & Safety Law does not apply when your employees and company car drivers are commuting (ie travelling between home and their usual place of work), unless they are travelling from their home to somewhere which is not their normal place of work.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) states you must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at work. You must also ensure that others are not put at risk by your work-related driving activities.
The Cold Hard Facts
In 2014 a survey carried out by Gov.UK, 1.6% of all drivers in England and Scotland were observed using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving. And to add to this drivers were more likely to be seen with a mobile phone in their hand rather than holding it to their ear. Which makes no difference from a legal point of view but drivers seem to think they are less likely to be caught. The same survey showed that in 2014, 1.1% of drivers in England and Scotland were observed holding a phone in their hand compared with 0.5% observed holding the phone to their ear.
In another study, Brake, the road safety charity, state that a study of in-vehicle video footage estimated that 22% of crashes could be partly caused by driver distraction. It also showed that drivers who perform other tasks at the wheel are two to three times more likely to crash. Other studies have found that more complex secondary tasks, like talking on a mobile phone or texting, increase crash risk even more.
So what can you do to make sure that you meet your duty of care to your company car drivers?
- Ensure that employees understand the dangers of driving whilst on the phone and the legal impact
- Clearly outline your company’s policies around driving while using a mobile phone
- Compose a checklist for you to talk through with all company car drivers and give them chance to ask questions or make suggestions
- Provide relevant legal in car equipment but be aware that if the Police think your employees aren’t in control of their vehicle or appear to be distracted they can still be penalised
- Try to minimise the amount of calling/receiving of calls whilst an employee is driving by having a ‘is it necessary to talk now’ approach within your organisation when staff are calling company car drivers or vice versa
We hope you found this article interesting. Similar articles around company car safety can be found on our website.
Company Car Rentals…Going That Extra Mile To Keep Your Business On The Move!