Speeding crackdown brings companies into the spotlight

Ever been caught speeding? Got a few points on your licence? Then take notice, this Government is continuing its commitment to improving road safety with a new set of speeding cameras likely to be rolled out across the UK.

The expected rise in speed camera numbers comes following an increase in the number of speeding tickets. The Government is interpreting this as an indication that speed cameras are not deterring drivers from reducing their speed.

Since Labour took office in 1999, the number of fixed penalty notices for speeding has almost trebled from 700,000 a year to 1.92 million in 2005 – the most recent year for which figures are available. And almost two million speeding tickets are being issued to motorists annually following the Government’s expansion of the speed camera network, according to Home Office figures.

Despite the increase in speed cameras in the last decade, however, road deaths have fallen only around 7% in the same time frame.

It’s safe to assume the Government will take these results seriously. In the last few weeks alone we have seen debate on speed limit reduction on rural and inner city roads, and an increase in the basic speeding fine from £40 – £60. These are indicative of the Government’s commitment to reducing road injury and death. Speed cameras will be one weapon in their armoury to further combat the problem.

While speed limit reduction and new cameras are designed to target all road drivers, businesses might find themselves under additional pressure to instigate safe driving.

It is estimated that between 25% and 33% of road traffic accidents involve somebody who was using the road for work purposes. This means that in Great Britain between 850 and 1100 people are killed, and 90,000 to 118,000 are seriously injured, in work-related road accidents each year. In other words, between one-quarter and one-third of all road accidents involve someone who was working. Employers have a responsibility to manage the risks faced by their employees when driving and also the risk those employees pose to other road users.

While we all have a role to keep the roads safe, making sure company drivers are law-abiding and safe on the roads will be an important part of businesses’ growing duty of care obligations. It shouldn’t have to take an increase in speed camera numbers to make business sit up and take notice, but let’s hope this time it does.