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Driver safety warning for fleets

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

Fleetworld reports that new research from Alphabet (GB) has revealed 33% of fleet managers have little to no knowledge of corporate duty of care to employees that drive company-owned or leased vehicles.

All businesses have a legal duty to actively manage health and safety in the workplace and ensure they have policies and procedures in place to reduce work-related risk to both employees and members of the public. When travelling for business, vehicles are considered a place of work and must be well-maintained, taxed, insured, hold a current MOT, and be ‘fit for purpose’. Businesses should also conduct regular driving licence checks, risk assessments, and training to help manage and reduce driver risk. Overlooking aspects of duty of care or not keeping adequate records can have significant legal, financial, and reputational consequences

When asked about driving training and accident management, encouragingly the vast majority of fleet managers said they have a driver training programme in place (88%). However, 12% of businesses with fleets larger than six vehicles said they did not conduct any form of driver training and a further 10% offered training less than annually, meaning new starters are likely to miss out on vital knowledge. Similarly, while most fleet managers said they keep records of accidents that take place in all vehicles on business travel, rather concerningly, 8% of respondents said they do not record details of accidents involving company vehicles and the figure doubled to 16% for private vehicles.

Alphabet’s latest research also found that while 43% of businesses have seen an uplift in the number of employees using private vehicles for business travel post-pandemic, 51% of UK fleet managers still don’t consider themselves as having a good understanding of duty of care responsibilities for their ‘grey fleet’ population. This knowledge gap is further reflected by the fact that nearly a third of fleet managers said their business doesn’t have a risk management policy in place that covers all employees, regardless of whether they are driving company or private vehicles.

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