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Survey reveals driving for work safety failings of UK employers

Date: 12 July 2019   |   Author: Sean Keywood

A survey of UK executives and their employees has revealed that employees who drive for work are being put at risk by attitudes towards safety. 

That's according to the government-backed Driving for Better Business campaign, based on a survey of 1,006 employees and 255 executives. 

It says a discrepancy was found between what policies executives say they have in place for road safety, and what employees say actually happens.

For example, 75% of executives said they ensure employees are aware of their legal obligations in relation to driving for work, but 45% of employees surveyed who drive their personal car for work said they had not been given a copy of their employer's driving for work policy.

The survey also found that 60% of executives were unsure if or how many employees used their own car for business, yet 90% of drivers made work journeys in their own cars despite 33% not being insured to do so. 

Also, 44% of executives said their organisations did not check that workers who used their personal car for business journeys had a valid driving licence.

In addition, 49% of executives expected their employees to answer their phone at any time, with 17% of employees who drive for work saying they had been involved in an accident while doing so due to a phone call from a colleague. 

Despite it being illegal, one in 20 executives and one in eight employees thought the hard shoulder was a safe place to take a phone call. 

Driving for Better Business campaign manager Simon Turner said: "The report shows a disparity between what employers and employees are saying when driving for work.

Leaders are failing to communicate and implement a robust driving for work policy to keep those who drive for work safe, particularly for those who use their personal cars.

"Leaders are failing to carry out basic due diligence checks such as ensuring that all employees have a driving licence or vehicle insurance.

"At the same time, the study highlights employees [that] are putting themselves at risk while driving for work, not checking that vehicles are roadworthy and exhibit reckless behaviours when using their mobile phone." 

Turner said that to reduce occupational road risk and safeguard employee wellbeing, a dual responsibility approach by executives and employees was needed. 

He said: "Leaders must implement a driving for work policy that enforces legal and ethical obligations on all employees that drive on work-related journeys. 

"Regular checks need to be put in place to ensure that employees have read and understood the guidelines laid out in the driving for work policy. In doing so, the associated risk to road users and pedestrians is reduced. 

"A good practice driving for work policy ensures that at a minimum, organisations are compliant with all relevant legislation and guidelines. Once implemented, these policies complement more general employee safety and wellness programmes, as well as introduce efficiencies that reduce costs associated with employees that drive for work purposes."