We have collated some of the most useful and important free resources here to help you understand why and how to manage your work-related road risk.
Management of Work-Related Road Risk
Your legal obligations and responsibilities extend to ALL those who drive for work, however frequently or infrequently, and whether they are in a company vehicle, their own car or a hired vehicle. Robust policies and procedures must not only be put in place but also communicated effectively and regularly. Current performance must be measured, relevant and practical improvements need to be implemented and the effects regularly monitored.
Effective management of work-related road risk must start at the top – Proactive engagement and leadership by directors and senior management who will champion the driver risk management programme is essential in building an improved safety culture where lower risk driving is the default rather than the exception.
It is also important to measure your fleet performance so you can identify where the opportunities are to improve your work-related road risk profile, improve efficiency and reduce costs.
These are all qualities exhibited by our Driving for Better Business champions, employers who have implemented road risk management programmes and seen significant reductions in collision rates and accident costs that far outweigh the cost of the programme.
- Take work-related road risk seriously - introduce a policy.
- Set an example - keep to your own rules.
- Be consistent - don't expect staff to break safe driving rules.
- Demonstrate clear priorities - insist on compliance of contractors with your occupational road risk standards.
- Recognise good driving - look out for examples.
- Keep work-related road risk on the agenda - it's saving you money.
- An employer is liable for journeys being carried out safely on behalf of his business. This includes journeys to be carried out by sub-contractors, freelancers and agency drivers.
- Appointing a road risk manager to take charge of managing work-related road risk does not mean that this person has the sole liability. Managing road risk takes teamwork and requires top-level commitment to occupational road safety.
- An overall management structure for the management of occupational road risk should be drawn up to clearly identify those who have responsibilities for managing occupational road risk; this document should be made widely available in the company.
- Responsibilities must be clearly defined and must be understood.
- The person appointed to manage the work-related road risk in a company needs sufficient authority to exert influence and to carry out the responsibilities of the job.
- The appointed road risk manager must have direct access to the Board or top management to report on these responsibilities.
In many companies the responsibilities for managing work-related road risk are often ill-defined and fragmented. Senior and line managers often assume wrongly that responsibility lies with the transport or fleet manager and are not aware of their responsibilities.
- Ensure that Board members' responsibilities are clearly defined and are understood.
- Ensure that line managers' responsibilities are clearly defined and are understood.
- Ensure that line managers have the required knowledge and competence to carry out the roles assigned, particularly with regard to managing occupational road risk.
Adopt a planned approach based on the results of suitable risk assessments to ensure continuous improvement in the management of occupational road risk. Planning should include:
- Defining and implementing occupational road risk standards
- Identifying and monitoring key performance indicators to quickly pick up performance changes within the company
- Setting specific targets for achievement within an allocated time period.
Road risk standards might include:
- Minimum vehicle safety specifications.
- Maintenance schedules.
- Driver fitness standards.
- Policies on drugs and alcohol.
- Accident/incident notification, recording and investigation requirements.
Road risk key performance indicators might include:
- Kilometres/miles per accident.
- Total accidents per mile driven (by vehicle type, e.g. artic., rigid, car).
- Shifts/months per accident.
- Accidents per vehicle or per driver.
- Average accident cost.
- Accidents per £100,000 of turnover.
Road risk targets might include:
- Reductions in fleet accident rates.
- Elimination of high-risk journeys.
- Reduction of penalty points on drivers' licences.
- Introduction of annual driver assessments.
Identify methods for implementing the plan and for the evaluation of the outcome.
- A risk assessment is, in principle, a careful examination of the harm that work activities can cause people.
- It helps you to weigh up whether you have done enough to ensure safe working practices.
- Your risk assessments should be appropriate to the circumstance of your organisation and do not have to be over complex or technical.
- As a road risk manager, you will need to risk assess the driver, the journeys and the vehicles.
As the manager responsible for overseeing work-related road risk you should:
- Provide effective briefings to senior management to win and maintain their commitment to road safety issues.
- Provide information and guidance to all staff who drive.
- Ensure adequate supervision of staff who drive by line managers.
- Ensure the competency of agency drivers is assessed prior to letting them drive for the company.
- Treat self-employed drivers as part of the company (health and safety rules and responsibilities apply).
- Ensure that a duty manager is present until all vehicles are back in the yard at the end of the shift.
- In your communication with staff from all levels of the company, you should particularly stress the risks of:
- Inappropriate use of speed.
- Driving whilst being unfit to drive (e.g. through fatigue, (over-the-counter) drugs, illness).
- Not wearing seatbelts.
- Use of mobile phones while driving.
- Monitor your company's road safety performance and feed the results back into the system to ensure continuous improvement.
- For pool vehicles, keep records of who uses each vehicle, the date and time of use, with signing in and out procedures for each trip made.
- Establish active and reactive monitoring:
- Active monitoring includes arrangements for periodic checking, e.g. through inspections to ensure that work-related road risk management standards are being complied with throughout the organisation.
- Reactive monitoring involves the investigation of causes of accidents and incidents to identify why substandard performance was not prevented.
- Analyse this data regularly for trends and patterns; collecting sufficient information allows you to make informed decisions about the effectiveness of existing policy and the need for changes.
- Publicise and explain trends to managers and staff. Develop and implement road risk initiatives that you think will tackle highlighted trends.
- Record information about all incidents, whether minor or serious, for journeys driven on behalf of your company.
- Put a similar reporting procedure in place for reporting significant "near misses" with emphasis in training on how to recognise, analyse and learn from such events.
- The reason for the "near miss reports" is to learn from situations where an accident almost happened so that real injuries can be prevented. A near miss is an unexpected, unplanned event, which does not result in injury or damage to property or equipment, but had the potential to cause significant harm or damage. Near misses point to problems and possibly to trends which, if not corrected, can result in serious accidents in the future.
- Encourage your employees to report all near misses and incidents which occur whilst driving for work without fear that punitive action will be taken against them.
- Regularly review your company's work-related road risk management performance against agreed standards and stated targets.
- Establish and maintain a system of planned and systematic audits of your company's work-related road risk management system to check your policy, organisation and arrangements are effective.
- The audit plan should identify specific areas to be audited, the frequency of those audits and the responsibilities for auditing specific activities/areas.
- Establish audit protocols to report audit findings and to track the implementation status of audit recommendations.
Health and Safety Executive
Driving at Work:
Managing Work-Related Road Safety
Health and Safety Executive
Workplace Transport Safety – A Brief Guide
Driving for Better Business
Managing Your Work-Related Road Risk
Reporting and Monitoring
Driving for Better Business
Measuring to Improve
Modern vehicles now have a huge range of on-board safety systems available which can protect your drivers and help stop them having crashes. Some of these features are fitted as standard while others need to be specifically requested as optional extras. Understanding what these systems do, and fitting them to your fleet vehicles can save your business huge amounts of money.
Autonomous Emergency Braking systems, available for cars and car-derived small vans, has been proven to reduce at-fault rear-end collisions by 38%. Further developments of these systems allow the cruise control to maintain a safe speed and distance to the car in front, even in heavy traffic, greatly reducing the chances of your driver running into the rear of another vehicle.
If you have staff who drive their own cars for work and claim business mileage, we call this your grey fleet. However infrequently they may drive on business, employers have the same obligations to manage them correctly as they do those in company vehicles.
- Specify and select vehicles that are suitable and safe for employees and the type of business trips they are expected to undertake; consider body style, ergonomics, equipment and visibility to ensure the selected vehicle is fit for purpose.
- In the selection of cars consider the star rating that the vehicle achieved in the European New Car Assessment Programme (EuroNCAP) crash tests (see EuroNCAP website in the "useful contact" section for more details).
- The following minimum secondary safety features (aimed at reducing the consequences of an accident if an accident occurs) should be installed and securely fixed in your vehicles:
- Head rests.
- Air bags (at least for the driver).
- Anti-lock brakes.
- Seat belts for all vehicle occupants.
- All vehicles must have breakdown cover.
- Any vehicle with a non-segregated storage area should be equipped with a cargo net or equivalent to separate the storage area from the passenger area.
- Employers have the same duty of care under health and safety law to staff who drive their own vehicles for work as they do to employees who drive company owned, leased or hired vehicles.
- Employees who opt out of a traditional company car and take the cash equivalent instead also need to be covered by the health and safety policy.
- The standard set for "cash for car" vehicles should be equivalent to those for company vehicles (see selection of appropriate vehicles for minimum standards).
- Privately owned vehicles must not be used for work purposes unless they are fit for purpose, insured for business use, have a valid MOT certificate, have a regular service record, and are roadworthy.
- Conduct periodic (annual) checks of MOT certificates, service records and motor insurance and vehicle excise duty.
- Carry out regular visual inspections of private vehicles used for work (e.g. when parked in the car park).
- Provide staff with check lists to conduct weekly checks of their vehicle, including tyre pressure, fluids, wipers, brakes, lights and indicators.
- Advise drivers to conduct pre-drive checks of tyres, fluids, wipers, lights and brakes.
- Require that staff involved in a work-related crash (including damage-only ones) report this to their line/transport managers even if the vehicle is privately owned.
- Communicate the requirements for privately owned vehicles to your staff and ensure they understand their responsibilities to ensure their vehicles are legal, safe and well-maintained.
- Have a planned approach to vehicle maintenance, including daily and weekly driver checks as well as planned maintenance programmes with clear standards and minimum periods between servicing (annually or every 10,000 miles).
- Ensure mechanics working on your vehicles are fully qualified and experienced in maintaining those vehicles and follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Maintenance work should be regularly assessed to ensure it is of high standard.
- Ensure quality replacement parts are used on your vehicles particularly for safety-critical elements such as brakes or tyres.
- Monitor the durability of parts and any vehicle defects that occur, so that you can identify problems and trends in order to upgrade your vehicle choice, component choice or maintenance regime accordingly.
- Reference to the vehicle manufacturer's handbook is essential if servicing and maintenance is carried out "in-house".
- Train staff driving at work to carry out daily "walk round" or "circle" checks of their vehicles using a standard, written checklist. Checks should ensure tyres/wheels are in good condition and brakes, lights and wipers are working.
- Provide checklists in all vehicles for drivers to conduct weekly checks of their vehicle, including tyre pressure, wheels, fluids, wipers, brakes, lights and indicators.
- Safety-critical defects, e.g. brake failure, must be reported and corrected immediately.
- A copy of the vehicle handbook should be carried in all vehicles.
- Loose items should not be carried in the passenger compartment of any vehicle or must be firmly secured before starting a journey in such a way that they will not become a hazard in a crash (e.g. clamped behind the seat).
- Require mechanics and drivers to report vehicle defects.
- Reported safety-critical defects, e.g. brake failure or tyre damage, must be inspected by an expert, and the vehicle must not be driven until defects are rectified.
All vehicles must be equipped with:
- Fire extinguisher
- First-aid kit and flashlight/torch
- Suitable spare wheel and tyre or tyre foam kit
- Disabled vehicle marker (e.g. warning triangle)
- Ensure that all vehicles used at work, including private ones, are fitted with seat belts for all occupants.
- Ensure that if your employees travel by coach, they comply with legal requirements to wear a seat belt if it is provided.
- If you operate coaches in which seat belts are fitted, you must follow legal requirements to remind passengers to use them.
- Ensure that any children who travel in cars and vans when driving at work are in the right child seat and that the seat is properly fitted. Do not allow a rear-facing baby seat to be on a front seat protected by an active airbag.
- Drivers are required by law to use a seat belt if one is fitted; the only exemption being goods vehicle users undertaking deliveries or collections if they travel no more than 50 metres between stops.
- Make the failure to wear a seat belt as driver or the failure to request passengers to wear a seat belt a disciplinary offence.
- Advise drivers and front passengers to sit as far back as reasonably possible from the steering wheel or dashboard to reduce the possibility of serious head or chest injuries in the event of an accident.
- Explain your policy in the driver handbook and communicate the need to use seat belts throughout all hierarchy levels of the company.
- Operators must use analogue or digital tachographs when legally required to do so to record hours of driving, other work, breaks and rest periods (see the DfT website or the VOSA website in the "useful links" section for more information).
- For analogue tachographs, drivers must carry their record charts for the current week and the chart of the last day from the previous week.
- Employers must make sure drivers hand in their record analogue tachograph sheets within 21 days, keep all charts for at least one year after and be able to produce them for enforcement officers, make regular checks to see that drivers' hours and tachograph rules are being obeyed.
- From May 2006 onwards, all vehicles that require fitment of a tachograph first registered on and after 5th August 2004 will have to be fitted with digital tachographs.
- For digital tachographs, drivers and operators will have to apply for a driver's card/ company card at the DVLA at a cost of £38 for the initial card application and £19 for card renewal.
- Digital tachograph information will be stored for at least 28 days on the driver card; and for at least a year in the vehicle unit. Copies of both need to be taken regularly and stored safely for at least a year.
- All tachographs must be inspected at a Department for Transport approved tachograph calibration centre every two years to check the system is working properly.
- Ensure the licensing for vehicle and driver is correct.
- Advise the driver to oversee the passengers' compliance with seat belt law.
- Ensure that drivers are trained to use specialist equipment such as tail lifts, wheelchair access equipment, or fire extinguishers correctly.
- Provide training for drivers to ensure correct loading and securing of luggage.
- Advise drivers to keep valuable items out of sight and secure.
- Transport of dangerous goods must comply with the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2004. These regulations aim to protect everyone either directly involved (such as carriers) or who might become involved (such as Emergency Services or members of the public).
- If your company deals with the transport of hazardous substances COSHH (Control of Substances that are Hazardous to Health) regulations should be covered in your policy statements.
- A dangerous goods safety advisor should be consulted or employed.
- You and your drivers must be fully conversant with the relevant regulations and need the appropriate vocational training certificate.
- Ensure transport/line managers are familiar with all necessary regulations to ensure supervision, monitoring and auditing are carried out correctly. This includes licensing requirements, e.g. for towing trailers.
- Advise drivers of cars, vans and trucks to ensure that all loose items have to be secured before starting a journey.
- Advise your staff not to load or unload in places where they could cause a hazard and could put themselves or other road users at risk.
- Ensure that drivers are fully trained in procedures to ensure load security and towing, including:
- Regular inspections of couplings to identify damage or wear.
- Regular inspections of load-bearing components and cross beams to identify wear-and-tear and corrosion.
- Securing loads with equipment such as heavy duty strapping, lashing rings on the trailer floor and cargo nets running on inboard tracks.
- Checking that vehicles are not overloaded either by their gross weight or by individual axle loads.
- Training for tanker drivers should furthermore include:
- The danger of roll-overs and wave effects.
- Venting procedures and the need to follow the correct practice for the product and tanker.
- The requirement to check for leaks from the tank, valves and pipe work before starting a journey.
- Dangerous goods regulations.
- Fit load restraint systems in your trucks, which are strong enough to prevent the load moving forward under severe braking or when steering on any journey.
- Use truck bodies only if they are suitably reinforced to securely contain the required load.
- If you operate vehicles that have an overall travelling height of more than 3 metres (10 feet) ensure that the overall travelling height of the vehicles is displayed inside the cabin.
Driving for Better Business
Vehicle Safety Technology
in association with Volvo
Successfully reducing accidents still further requires a sustained change in driver behaviour. Your drivers probably know how to drive safely but some may choose not to or occasionally become distracted suffering lapses of concentration. Maybe they aren’t fully aware of the possible consequences of their behaviour on the road, or maybe they occasionally feel that the pressure of being a productive employee outweighs the need to remain vigilant and safe while driving.
Often, risk taking isn’t intentional – it can happen because your driver believes that he or she is behaving safely but has a lack of understanding about vehicle capabilities, reaction times, speed and braking, alcohol awareness, etc. Ensuring your drivers are legally to drive for work, correctly licenced, insured and medically fit will minimise the risk to the company, while improving awareness and knowledge of key issues will allow your drivers to make better informed choices.
- Before you require any employees to undertake driving tasks as part of their job, make sure that they are suited to the driving tasks you want them to complete.
- A driver must be fit to drive.
- Checks of driving entitlement/licences must be carried out regularly (6 monthly).
- Fully train your drivers in all relevant aspects of their jobs. Consider refresher training to ensure that drivers will maintain a high level of performance over a prolonged period of time.
- Adequate training must be provided if the driver is required to drive a new type of vehicle.
- Supplement your policy document with written instructions, training sessions or group meetings to ensure your drivers are aware of the company policy on driving for work and what is expected from them.
- Ensure that your drivers are mentally and physically fit to drive using a process of self-declaration. Set minimum "fitness to drive" standards and have procedures in place to ensure that these are met.
- Minimum standards for fitness to drive can be drawn up using the DVLA practitioners' guide to the current medical standards of fitness to drive (downloadable free of charge on the DVLA's website).
- Advise drivers that they must notify management if they have disabilities or conditions that could prevent them from driving safely.
- Although regular health checks are only a legal requirement for LGV (Large Goods Vehicles) or PCV (Passenger Carrying Vehicles) drivers, all employees should have pre-employment medicals to check eyesight and relevant aspects of physical and mental health.
- Appropriate health surveillance should continue beyond recruitment (minimum follow-up every five years unless age or condition dictates otherwise).
- Staff who drive should take an eyesight test every two years or when they suspect they have a problem (whichever is sooner).
- Eye tests should be carried out by qualified optometrists, and should include a test of the driver's horizontal and vertical range of vision.
- All staff who will drive should have an eyesight test prior to recruitment.
- Medical conditions that can affect vision include glaucoma, diabetes, a stroke, heart disease and diplopia.
- If you recruit staff to undertake work which involves driving, you need a clear strategy to integrate necessary safe driving criteria into the overall "person specification" for the job.
- Check the applicant's references are sound.
- Check the potential driver's licence is valid to drive the company or privately owned vehicle. Ensure that the applicant holds the appropriate class of licence for the vehicles (plus trailers) you want him to drive (visit the DVLA website for detailed information). You can obtain information from the DVLA on driver entitlement and endorsements of employees and potential employees. However, this information can only be released with the driver's consent.
- Explore the past accident or prosecution history and attitudes towards road safety in the interview.
- Assess driving competence and attitudes at recruitment stage. There are web-based driver risk assessments available that you can use for this purpose, e.g. RoSPA's Driver Profile (detailed information on the RoSPA website).
- Carry out an on-road assessment to ensure that the potential employee is competent to carry out the driving tasks required in his job.
- Test the candidate's knowledge of the Highway Code.
Produce a drivers' handbook. It can help explain to drivers the importance of driving safely and how to drive safely. Drivers should be given a copy each and required to read and learn the information in it and keep it with them in their vehicle. The drivers' hand book should include:
- The risk of death and injury on the road.
- Your road risk policy.
- Company rules on driving (e.g. a ban on using mobile phones while driving).
- Company rules on associated activities (e.g. how to safely secure heavy luggage in a boot, how to strap down loads on a flat bed trailer and how to check on vehicle safety).
- General advice leaflets on driving safely (e.g. on topics such as driver tiredness).
- Advice on what to do in the event of an incident and blank "bump" cards.
- Contact details for the road risk manager and any additional emergency contacts.
Make sure that appropriate language is used, that will be understood by your workforce, and try to test their comprehension of the handbook.
- Ensure that drivers are aware of seat belt wearing requirements and that they know how to adjust head restraints and seats appropriately.
- Encourage drivers to adjust the vehicle features (e.g. seat, mirrors, head restraints) to suit and to familiarise themselves with the vehicle before setting off.
- Ensure that drivers check the condition of their vehicle and of any attachments before setting off. Get employees to fill in and sign a vehicle check list.
- Give out clear guidance and operating procedures to deal with emergencies such as breakdowns or accidents. These will reduce the risk of an assault or of harassment under such circumstances
- Encourage drivers to park in well lit areas at night and where there are people about. Valuables should be stored out of sight and vehicles should be locked every time the driver leaves the vehicle.
- Carry out driving-related staff induction training. This could include a classroom training session on the contents of the driver handbook and a familiarisation session with the drivers' future vehicle, covering vehicle controls, safety features and vehicle handling.
- Training should not be the only control measure used. Competent drivers cannot drive safely in, for example, a poorly maintained vehicle.
- The provision of driver training should be guided by the results of driver assessments. Driver assessments should be carried out at regular intervals (annually). To assess the training needs of an employee you should use a qualified and competent assessor or use a web-based solution such as RoSPA's Driver Profile (details available on the RoSPA website) or similar schemes.
- All drivers should undergo self-awareness training thus enabling drivers to identify personal factors which may degrade their ability to drive safely e.g. poor health, use of alcohol or (prescribed) drugs, domestic and occupational stress, fatigue, poor preparation for work etc.
- Do not let your drivers drive vehicles they have not had appropriate training for.
If driving does not improve through training, drivers should be taken off their driving duties. Additionally...
- Use a training provider accredited by a nationally recognised body.
- Have input into the content of the training so that it meets your needs.
- Provide the trainer with any relevant information about drivers prior to training including their incident rate and number of endorsements.
- Regularly check the standard of the training.
- Ensure that your employees driving for work have had appropriate first aid training. Organisations such as the Red Cross can provide training courses on your company premises (refer to the Red Cross's website for more information).
- Ensure that each vehicle used for work-purposes is equipped with a first aid box.
- Supply a stocklist for the first aid box.
- Put a system in place to ensure that the contents of the first aid box match the stocklist.
- Care has to be taken that safer driver reward schemes do not lead to under-reporting of incidents or accidents, e.g. if drivers are awarded for incident-free driving.
- Only introduce an award scheme for accident-free driving if you can be sure that all accidents are reported in your company.
- As an alternative, present an award to drivers who achieve the highest standards in their annual driver assessment or consider rewarding employees coming up with ideas about how to improve the company safety procedures or how to make work-related road driving safer.
- Introduce a policy that addresses illness as an area of risk management.
- Some employees will attempt to "struggle on" when partially incapacitated by illness. Driving whilst ill and /or under the influence of prescribed or self-administered medicinal drugs can be a dangerous driver impairment which must be recognised by managers in order to avoid possible injury / fatality incidents. It may be necessary to send an employee home.
- Illness combined with stress, fatigue or drug use can compound the problem.
- A total of 12.8 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2003/04.
- 78% of drivers say they often feel stressed, angry or excited when behind the wheel, but 97% agree it is important to stay calm3.
- Potential sources of stress are:
- Demands of the job and organisational culture.
- Lack of control or involvement.
- Work-life balance.
- Domestic issues.
- Tiredness or hours spent driving.
- External factors, such as congestion or driving of others.
- To identify and tackle driver stress:
- Make achievable demands on employees; allow for unexpected hold-ups in scheduling and journey planning.
- Put systems in place to respond to any concerns expressed by employees, e.g. have regular confidential meetings between staff and their line managers to identify any work or home problems that might affect their driving.
- Put systems in place to encourage managers to support their staff.
- Inform employees about available support, e.g. counselling and how to access it.
- Encourage positive behaviour to avoid conflict and ensure fairness.
- Consult employees on any change and communicate change clearly.
- Distraction that affects driving might result from:
- Mobile phone use.
- In-vehicle technology.
- Reading maps/directions whilst driving.
- Eating and drinking whilst driving.
- Chatting with passengers.
- Other drivers and road rage.
- Thoughts of work or personal life.
- 83% of drivers think about something other than their driving when behind the wheel, such as home life or work. (Survey carried out by the road safety organisation BRAKE)
- 45% of drivers have lost concentration while performing tasks such as adjusting the stereo, heating or satellite navigation system; 20% admit being so distracted by in-car gadgets that they have veered out of their lane. (Survey carried out by Privilege Insurance)
Factors that can increase the risk of a driver being involved in a tiredness-related crash should be taken into account when developing policies to prevent driver tiredness. These factors include:
- Time of day: the most likely times to fall asleep are midnight to 6am and 2pm to 4pm.
- Shifts: drivers who work long shifts are more likely to suffer fatigue.
- Rest breaks: drivers should take a break of 15 minutes every 2 hours or sooner if feeling tired.
- Stress: tiredness is a typical symptom of stress resulting from work or home life pressures.
- Lack of sleep - drivers may suffer lack of sleep due to:
- Disturbed sleep: new baby, stress, domestic problems, sleep disorders.
- Irregular sleep patterns: this is a particular problem for drivers who switch regularly from day to night shifts without sufficient time for their body clock to adjust.
- Insufficient rest periods: long jobs, long commutes or drivers moonlighting in another job or hobby.
- Sleep disorders such as Sleep Apnoea.
- Medication: Some prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs can cause drowsiness and impaired alertness. Check for side-effects on the package.
- Vehicle engineering: modern vehicles are quiet and comfortable, inviting drivers to relax when driving. Driving can have a lulling effect particularly in vehicles fitted with comfort enhancing features such as cruise control.
To tackle driver fatigue:
- Ensure drivers do not work shifts that are too long.
- Set in-house limits on maximum driving distances per day, per week, per month, per year.
- Plan realistic schedules with suitable routes and allowing sufficient time between drop offs/ meetings or appointments.
- Consider fitting warning systems in vehicles to remind drivers to take a break after a fixed time.
- Do not put pressure on a driver to continue driving when they have notified employers they are too tired.
- Arrange overnight stays or encourage use of alternative modes of transport if an employee has to drive two hours or more each way on top of a four hour or more work period.
- Check that drivers are not affected by any circumstances or conditions which increase the risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
Educate your employees who drive for work about the dangers of fatigue and advise them to:
- Consider the possibility of fatigue when selecting a mode of transport.
- Consider overnight stays.
- Get enough sleep before a long drive.
- Include plenty of time for sufficient rest breaks in their schedules.
- Stop driving if they feel sleepy during a journey.
- Drink a caffeine drink and take a 15 minute nap in their vehicle as this can help to reduce fatigue. Advise them to only drive on when feeling alert and explain that music or fresh air will only reduce fatigue for a short time.
- That complying with Regulations on daily and weekly driving is a legal requirement.
All vehicle-using organisations should have clear policies to avoid impairment of driver fitness due to substances taken for recreational or therapeutic reasons.
- Educate your drivers about the dangers of drink and drugs in the drivers handbook.
- Explain in employees' contracts that it is a disciplinary offence to be over the legal alcohol limit or to be impaired through drug use while at work, either on the road or off it. Include prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines (e.g. some hay fever medication) that affect driving as well as illegal drugs.
- Ban lunchtime drinking for all staff who may be required to undertake any safety critical function, including driving.
- Take particular care to explain to drivers the amount of time it takes alcohol to leave the blood stream as well as the dangers of driving the morning after.
- Apply a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol in your company; alcohol can even impair a driver, who is under the legal limit; the easiest way to test for alcohol is using a breath test.
- Advise employees who drive to notify their immediate line manager if they are taking any prescribed drugs or over-the-counter medicine that affects driving, e.g. by causing drowsiness.
- Physical drug testing can be carried out using urine, saliva, sweat or blood. Before testing, a consent form must be signed by the person being tested. However, it is also possible to be trained to recognise symptoms of drug use and drug impairment as a form of screening.
- Some companies are now testing their drivers pre-employment, randomly throughout their employment or after crashes.
- speed is the single biggest cause of deaths on roads. Drivers who speed crash more often than those who do not.
- Ensure all staff (including all managers) understand that the organisation expects everyone who drives for work to drive safely.
- Ensure employees' schedules can be achieved without speeding; avoid strict arrival times if possible. Ask drivers to stop somewhere safe and ring ahead rather than speed to meet an appointment time.
- Ensure that speed limiters are set to the required maximum (56mph for trucks and 62.5mph for buses and coaches) for commercial vehicles and consider fitting variable speed limiters that your staff can set to the appropriate maximum as they enter a particular speed limit.
- Educate your employees who drive for work about the dangers of speed and make them aware that your company does not tolerate speeding. Ensure they know:
- It is the company's policy for all drivers to always comply with all speed limits.
- Exceeding posted speed limits, and gaining speeding points on your licence is a disciplinary offence.
- The risks of driving too fast on different types of road including, in particular, in towns and on rural roads.
- The importance of keeping a safe distance from other vehicles.
- The benefits of slowing down (less dangerous, less stressful and smoother journey without a significantly later arrival time).
Mobile phones and driving don't mix
Mobile phones have many benefits. They provide security and can be a great help in an emergency. But tests have shown a driver cannot help being distracted by a phone call or text message. If you are distracted, you will not register hazards or react quickly. A conversation on a hands-free phone is no less distracting than using a hand-held one.
While driving, you will be breaking the law if you pick up or use any type of phone that is, or must be, held to operate it. For example, this means you may not use your mobile phone:
- when you are stopped at traffic lights;
- when you are queuing in traffic;
- to receive calls, pictures, text messages or to access the Internet.
Points on your licence
- It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone when driving and the penalties have recently gone up. From March 2017 you will receive a £200 fine and six penalty points on your licence. Points can mean higher insurance costs.
- You don't have to be caught many times to be disqualified. If you get just six points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence under the New Drivers Act.
- You can also be prosecuted for using a hands-free mobile phone if you are not in proper control of your vehicle. The penalties will be the same as for using a hand-held phone. And the penalties for driving carelessly or dangerously when using any phone can include disqualification, a large fine and up to two years imprisonment.
- Employers can also be prosecuted if they cause or permit employees to take or make calls or send texts while driving.
Are there any exceptions?
- Yes - a driver may call 999 or 112 in response to a genuine emergency when it is unsafe or impractical to stop to make the call.
- Two-way radios are not covered by this offence but other devices for sending or receiving data are included if they are held while driving. (eg. MP3 players).
The best advice is to switch off before you drive off.
- When driving you should use voicemail, a message service or call diversion so you can pick up messages later.
- Only use your phone after you have stopped in a safe place. But never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency.
- Avoid taking calls even on a hands-free phone while driving. They can be just as distracting. If you must answer, say you are driving and end the conversation. Otherwise you will put yourself and other road users at risk. We are all responsible for safety on the roads. If you make a call to someone and realise they are driving, stop the call and arrange to speak to them later. You cannot see the hazards or judge the road conditions while you're talking to a driver. And you wouldn't want to distract the driver if you were in the car.
If you are driving a vehicle, there is no such thing as a safe mobile phone call. Our advice is therefore simple: 'Switch off before you drive off'.
- Require drivers to inform you of any endorsements or impending prosecutions for driving offences.
- Check drivers' licences at regular intervals (6 months is usually sufficient) and specifically check the validity of any LGV/PSV driving entitlements as part of your recruitment procedures and periodically thereafter; such entitlements might not have been restored after a period of disqualification.
- Some companies use a certain number of penalty points as an exclusion criterion in their recruitment process.
The Highway Code
Order copies of the Code
for your drivers here
Department for Transport
Driving Eyesight Rules
Department for Transport
Drug Driving Limits
Focus on the specific characteristics of your drivers’ journeys. Most collisions happen in built up or urban environments while most fatalities occur on rural roads. Relatively few collisions happen on motorways, however the consequences are often far greater due the higher speeds.
Employers should also look at whether journeys often pass schools, involve negotiating hazardous junctions or frequently take drivers past accident black spots. Time of day and weather patterns are also important factors. Effective scheduling of work or meetings and journey planning is essential to minimise the temptation to speed due to time pressure.
Of course, with advances in modern technology such as video conferencing, drivers are able to avoid many journeys completely, which also reduces one of the biggest causes of driver distraction and collisions, the perceived need to use a mobile phone whilst driving.
- Every journey should be a managed journey.
- Require those responsible for journey planning, such as line managers, transport managers and drivers, to take account of:
- Road type: accident rates are lowest on motorways and dual carriageways.
- Hazards: road works, accident "black spots".
- Traffic densities: time journeys to avoid peak traffic hours.
- High-risk features such as schools or busy shopping centres.
- Planning journeys prior to departure will help to select the safest and most efficient route. The length, width, weight and height of the vehicle will sometimes dictate the route.
- Always plan an alternative route to allow for accidents or bad weather conditions.
- When possible, plan well in advance and allow time before the start for safety checks.
- Where possible eliminate or reduce journeys and mileage.
- If you have staff driving to and from meetings by car consider if the meeting's goal can be achieved by using remote communications such as telephone, email or video-conferencing. Substitute road journeys for these where appropriate.
- If your business is haulage, journeys on the road are inevitable. However, some transport companies are now increasingly using rail freight for some long-distance hauls. This might depend on load and destination.
- Looking at lives lost per kilometre travelled, roads are a far more dangerous mode of transport than rail or plane.
- Choose alternative transport modes or combine modes, e.g. drive/fly, drive/train where possible. This might also allow time for working on a laptop or making mobile phone calls.
- If you are hosting a meeting for people who are travelling from other locations, make sure you provide them with a range of appropriate travel options.
- Attempting to cover excessive distances in single unbroken journeys by road is a significant cause of driver fatigue leading to accidents. There should be clear limits on maximum driving per day, per week, per month and per year.
- Support maximum mileages with clear policies that encourage staff to take overnight stops, or ensure that the driving can be shared.
- If your drivers operate under the European Union drivers' hours and tachograph rules, they are subject to working time provisions within the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations (self-employed drivers are exempt until 2009). Drivers of vehicles which are exempt from the EU drivers' hours normally fall within the scope of separate UK domestic legislation on drivers' hours and are subject to certain aspects of the main working time regulations (see DTI website for more details).
- You need to establish what rules and regulations apply to the work your drivers are undertaking and ensure that they maintain proper tachograph records.
- Further information on drivers' hours can be obtained from the VOSA website.
- Devise safe schedules and routes. Journey scheduling and routing should take account of factors such as:
- Road type, hazards (e.g. low bridges)
- Traffic densities (e.g. congestion) and hold-ups (e.g. road works)
- Anticipated delays at destination
- Adverse weather
- Accident black spots and high risk areas such as towns and winding rural roads
- Speed limits.
- Night time driving should be reduced or prohibited if possible; ideally driving should be avoided in the high risk hours when a driver is most likely to fall asleep (early morning, between midnight and 6am and early afternoon between 2pm and 4 pm).
- Try to avoid busy routes at the beginning of the shift.
- Schedules should allow time for unexpected delays; move away from strict time routing.
- Monitor and plan for annual leave to reduce driver shortages.
- Organisations should set "in-house" maximums for unbroken driving hours.
- Breaks and break locations should be planned prior to starting journeys.
- No driver should be required to drive continuously for more than 2 hours without at least a 15 minute break.
- The drivers' hours for professional drivers are the statutory maximum.
- Discourage driving at night and in adverse weather conditions whenever possible, particularly where there is reduced visibility, high winds or where road surfaces become hazardous due to ice, snow, flooding or where there is a danger of drivers becoming stranded in remote locations.
- If journeys cannot be avoided, e.g. for the delivery of goods or services, they must be thoroughly prepared. Weather reports and warnings should be considered when planning the routes and throughout the journey. E.g. avoid locations such as high level bridges on the route after a gale warning.
- Advise drivers to carry out safety checks of the vehicle, including light, reflectors, windscreen wipers and water.
Incidents during reversing manoeuvres are frequent.
- To reduce the likelihood of reversing incidents in your company:
- Fit additional mirrors, cameras or reversing sensors on large vehicles to improve visibility.
- Make sure that vehicle reversing sites are clearly marked with warning signs and cordoned off with barriers if necessary.
- Ensure that banksmen you may use are properly trained, wear reflective clothing and know where to stand in safety.
- Carry out regular assessments of the reversing risks and implement any necessary measures.
- Advise and train your drivers to:
- Avoid reversing where possible.
- Reduce the distance they need to reverse if reversing can't be avoided.
- Avoid three point turns in side roads. It is usually safer to drive to the next roundabout.
- Keep their mirrors clean and use them.
- Avoid reversing where there are pedestrians.
- Be aware of blind spots and small objects that may be out of sight.
- Get out of the vehicle and check if they are uncertain.
- Agree a signal for "stop" if they ask somebody to help them reverse.
- Stop immediately if a banksman disappears from view.
- Never rely on an alarm to clear an area of pedestrians or other road users.
- Advise car and van drivers to reverse into parking spaces, not out of them.
- Advise truck and bus drivers to follow on-site manoeuvring procedures.
- Introduce clear rules and operating procedures to deal with emergencies such as accidents or breakdowns and include them in the driver handbook.
- Ensure that all vehicles are fitted with a basic first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, an emergency triangle, a correctly-inflated spare tyre, a disposable camera and blank accident report forms.
- Ensure that all vehicles driven on behalf of your company (including private vehicles used for business purposes) have breakdown cover.
- Require drivers to follow company procedures for reporting crashes.
- Advise drivers:
- To avoid stopping in a dangerous place, e.g. at a roundabout, if at all possible.
- Not to remain in the vehicle if it breaks down on a motorway; advise drivers to park the vehicle well to the left on the hard shoulder, to summon assistance and to wait off the road, ideally behind the crash barrier.
- To put a warning triangle on the road at least 45 metres(147 feet) behind their broken-down vehicle on the same side of the road, or use other permitted warning devices if they have them. Always take great care when placing or retrieving warning devices and never use them on motorways.
- To warn other traffic by using hazard warning lights if the vehicle is causing an obstruction.
- To call the breakdown services and never attempt to fix the vehicle themselves.
- To call the emergency services if they are involved in an accident that obstructs the highway, is serious or involves injury.
- To ensure they have followed the company's procedure for recording information about the crash.
- Require and encourage drivers to report all incidents, no matter how small.
- Introduce an incident reporting procedure that all drivers use, e.g. ask drivers to fill in "bump cards" for all incidents including a sketch of the incident location as well as the details of all parties involved.
- Ensure that blank bump cards are kept in all vehicles (including private vehicles used for business purposes) at all times along with a disposable camera to take photos of the scene and vehicles involved.
- Require the road risk/transport manager to interview drivers within 24 hours after an incident and to jointly complete a detailed "incident report form" about the incident, including its cause(s).
- Record all incident information on a computer, using a database programme with "coded" columns for different types of crash information (e.g. time of day, type of vehicles, name of driver, location of incident, causes of incident). This will enable the analysis of incidents over a period of time and to identify trends (e.g. identify risky manoeuvres or high risk drivers).
- Identify a set of standard key performance indicators (KPIs) that relate accidents to workload and that you can use to quickly pick up on performance changes (over weeks, months or years) within your company or to benchmark your company to similar companies. These could include:
- Accidents per 100,000 miles/kms.
- Kilometres/miles per accident.
- Total accidents per mile driven (by vehicle type, e.g. artic, rigid, car).
- Shifts/months per accident.
- Accidents per vehicle or per driver.
- Average accident cost.
- Accidents per £100,000 of turnover.
- Publicise and explain trends to managers and staff. Identify and put into action road risk initiatives that you think will tackle highlighted trends.
- Regularly review your incident reporting and recording procedures. You may find, through experience that you need to obtain more information to analyse your incidents sufficiently.
Conference call service
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Web conferencing software
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