An estimated one-third of all road accidents are believed to be work related, which would suggest that in Great Britain, 565 people were killed and 7,150 seriously injured in work related collisions in 2013.We believe that there are some clear actions that the Government could take to reduce the risks associated with business-related road transport.
Re-introduce government road safety targets
Since road safety targets were introduced in 1987, they have proven to be a success story in reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on UK roads each year and a useful yardstick for judging progress. Despite the abolition of these annual targets in 2010, there remains a strong consensus within the road safety community that targets can continue to play a key role in reducing deaths and serious injuries on the road.
Modernise the current MOT
While the MOT test is intended to ensure that a vehicle meets required road safety and environmental standards, this requires regular review and amendment. The current MOT does not test areas which will impact on accidents or road deaths.Testing should focus on areas which are likely to reduce road accidents and casualties, and should be modernised to incorporate new and emerging vehicle safety technology.
Develop the role of the DVSA
There is a role for government agencies to play in addressing road safety through vehicle maintenance. For example, while the DVLA currently sends a written reminder to drivers in the month of car tax becoming due, no reminder is sent regarding the upcoming renewal date of an MOT.
Re-design the HSE’s ‘Driving at Work’ Guide
The current HSE ‘Driving at Work’ publication is long and unwieldy. For purposes of accessibility, we propose that this is converted to a shorter, more direct version, and this is made more readily available in both print and online.
Report at-work vehicle crashes within RIDDOR
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013 places a duty on all employers and people in charge of work premises (the “Responsible Person”) to report certain serious workplace accidents and dangerous occurrences (near misses) to the Health and Safety Executive. At present, injuries such as burns, fractures or head-related injuries must be reported.However, injuries caused to employees who are driving on work-related business but outside of work premises are not currently reportable under RIDDOR. While injuries sustained in car accidents must be reported to the police (who have primary responsibility for enforcing road traffic legislation), most injuries resulting from vehicle movement on public roads are not reportable to the HSE under RIDDOR. At present, at-work drivers are 40% more likely to be involved in a crash, and 75% of work related deaths occur on the roads. We believe that injuries sustained in work-related traffic accidents should be included as part of RIDDOR reports – both listed under types of reportable injuries (regulation 4), and dangerous occurrences (schedule 2).
Improve guidance on the use of private vehicles for work purposes
Given corporate responsibility for accidents and injuries to third parties involving employees’ driving on work-related business, we believe that employers should be reminded of their rights in minimising the risk of such accidents. For example, when employees choose to use their own vehicles (as opposed to a company vehicle, or one rented or leased from a third party) while driving on work-related business, employers have the right to inspect this vehicle to check that it can be safely used for the particular task. Employers also have the right to review MOT and insurance certificates for such private vehicles, if business mileage is to be undertaken.This should be issued in the form of guidance to employers, also highlighting legal rights and responsibilities concerning the use of private vehicles for business mileage.
Budgets for road safety campaigns should be restored and ring-fenced
Public advertising campaigns have been an important part of increasing road safety and reducing deaths and serious injuries. We believe that funding for these campaigns should be maintained and protected from future cuts.