Having drivers on the road is likely to be the greatest risk for any business that operates a fleet of vehicles. 
The following series of articles will focus on the risks associated with operating a vehicle fleet within your business and how to reduce that risk, therefore, reducing accidents and incidents. 
 
One - The Risk and The Law 
Two - Effective Management 
Three - The Driver 
Four - The Vehicle 
Five - The Journey 
 
One: The Risk and The Law 
 
Having drivers on the road is likely to be the greatest risk for any business that operates a fleet of vehicles. 
 
All of our fleet insurance policies are designed to give you peace-of-mind while your team is out on the road and, to provide you with the appropriate insurance cover, so that in the event of a claim against your business or another driver, we can progress the claim without delay, getting you back in the driving seat as quickly as possible. 
 
The Risk: 
One in three deaths on UK roads involve one or more vehicles that are being driven for work. Police collision data from 2016 shows that 5,936 people were killed or seriously injured in a road traffic collision involving someone driving for work (DfT, 2017). The risk is real and can affect any type of business, whether your employees are driving their own vehicles, company cars, vans, LGVs, or HGVs. 
 
Three key risk factors associated with all types of work-related driving have been identified as fatigue, time pressure and distraction. 
 
The Law: 
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSW Act) ensures that employers have both a moral and legal obligation to do all that is “reasonably practicable" to manage the risks to drivers who may be on the road as part of their job. This also ensures that others are not put at risk by work-related driving activities. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 introduced a further requirement for employers to assess the risks associated with driving at work activities. So not only does health and safety law apply to those activities, but the duty of care also covers employees who drive their own vehicle on company business – your ‘grey fleet’. 
 
Corporate Responsibility: 
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 allows a business to be found guilty in the event of a fatal accident. This does not fall under Health and Safety. However, it introduces legal liabilities if a business has not met its duty of care. Managers can be prosecuted under H&S legislation or, for gross negligence manslaughter. 
 
Courts will consider the following: 
Was the accident foreseeable? 
Has the employer set standards across the business? 
Is non-compliance widespread through the rest of the business? 
Was there risk of serious injury to others? 
Is there audit trail for motor fleet risk management? 
Is there a structured H&S policy? 
 
Fines are based on company turnover, profits before tax, directors’ salaries, loans, assets and pensions. 
 
Large business with turnover greater than £50 million: maximum £20 million fine. 
Medium-sized business with turnover up to £50 million: maximum £7.5 million fine. 
Small-sized business with turnover up to £10 million: maximum £2.8 million fine. 
Micro-sized business with turnover up to £2 million: maximum £800,000 fine. 
 
Risk Assessments: 
Risk management is about taking practical steps to protect people from real harm and suffering. 
 
Risk assessments are the key activity to health and safety management. If done correctly they help identify significant risks and can identify sensible controls on reducing and managing those risks. 
 
The Implications: 
Company individuals can be prosecuted for road accidents that cause fatalities. See the media for reports of corporate manslaughter charges, against bosses for death caused by weaknesses in vehicle checking systems, lack of safety measures, driver’s working conditions, etc. 
 
An example is a crane hire company which was fined £500,000 when a vehicle crashed into an earth bank after the brakes failed. See the story here
 
All of our fleet insurance policies are designed to give you peace-of-mind while your team is out on the road and, to provide you with the right cover so that in the event of a claim against your business or another driver, we can progress the claim without delay, getting you back in the driver’s seat as quickly as possible. 
 
Typically, we provide quotes for a fleet of three vehicles or more or any combination of vehicles. 
 
Part two of this series looks at effective management. 
 
For more information, please call us on 01482 247477 or email info@hicommercial.co.uk. 
 
At your service, at your side – commercial insurance with a personal touch. 
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