Is Driver Fatigue a Risk to Your Business?
New research Department for Transport research reveals that driver fatigue contributes to more road accidents in the UK than driving on drugs.
In this new study including data from 2015, drug-related accidents stood at 18%, while driving under fatigue accounted for 20% of accidents on the UK’s roads.
Of this latter figure, 40% of accidents involved commercial vehicles, suggesting a correlation between working hours and driver fatigue.
There are strict legal guidelines and penalties, including imprisonment, for driving while impaired by drugs – illegal or legal – but there are not such strict regulations to address sleep deprivation.
If there were more restrictions on tired drivers, how might it affect their employers, if they were drivers of non-managed company cars?
Managing Risk on Roads
For many working people, driving is, in fact, the most dangerous thing they’ll undertake during the normal working day. For fleet managers, driver safety is a pressing issue, and they address it with a combination of telematics and driver training.
There are a great deal of non-managed company cars on the roads, from businesses where driver training is not necessarily seen as a priority
Many managed fleets now take the driver as the focus for their safety processes and procedures, putting as much emphasis on driver behaviour as on vehicle checks.
Could this approach apply to individuals driving non-managed business vehicles such as company cars?
It’s true that addressing people’s personal driving habits can be potentially awkward, but were tighter regulations regarding fatigue to come in, employers might be left with no choice.
Employers have a duty of care towards the people who work for them, and this covers work activities that are on-road.
Where Should Responsibilities Lie?
Regulations in the Management of Health and Safety At Work (1999) are clear in stating that employers must assess the risks involved in their employees’ use of the road for work, and they must put in place reasonable measures to manage driver fatigue.
For non-managed company vehicles, the question is what these reasonable measures should be.
Employers should ensure staff are not exceeding recommended working limits or driver hours, which could contribute to sleep deprivation.
Drivers, themselves, have a duty to ensure they are in a fit state to drive their company cars, and that they are not putting others at risk
The companies they work for could bolster this sense of personal responsibility through staff engagement, advice and support around driver behaviour.