Drink-driving and speeding employees are putting employers in breach of safety rules, according to new research. Men are the worst offenders, with over half admitting to breaking the law while driving on business.
A survey by YouGov for UK health and safety experts Croner found that 55 per cent of male road users had knowingly broken the speed limit when driving for work purposes, compared to 38 per cent of women.
And 10 per cent of men said they had driven for business reasons when definitely or possibly over the legal drink drive limit. One per cent of women admitted doing so.
Nasar Farooq, safety technical manager at Croner, says: “Driving can be one of the most dangerous work activities and a worrying number of employees surveyed admit to taking risks. Of the 3,600 fatalities every year on British roads, between 800 and 1,000 involve people driving for work purposes, with the Christmas period notorious for accidents.
“Women or young people are often accused of being the worst drivers, but our survey shows that statistically it’s more likely to be a senior male manager who will break the law than a junior member of staff, with men in the over 50 age group clearly revealed as the most irresponsible drivers.”
Legally, employers are responsible for any vehicle used for work purposes and, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, for providing information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure safety while driving.
In the run up to the festive period, Croner has suggested a number of tips for occupational driving:
- Produce a policy which ensures drivers understand their duties to prevent the consequences of alcohol and drug use, the effects of speed and traffic levels and the effects of tiredness and stress
- The policy should state that the company has a zero tolerance attitude towards drink driving or driving while under the influence of illegal drugs (which can include certain prescription or over-the-counter medicines) and state that an employee found breaking the policy will be subject to immediate dismissal
- The employer should carry out a risk assessment of each company driver, including those who use their own car for work purposes. The assessment should cover attitudes of the driver towards speeding, alcohol and drug awareness, as well as driving experience and fitness to drive. It should also take into account the journey requirements and the state of the vehicle
- Education – once risks are identified employers can minimise them by increasing the awareness of the dangers of having a couple of drinks and driving, driving under the influence of drugs and speeding. Education can also show the dangers of trying to calculate alcohol limits and the consequences of being caught
- Employers also have a duty to reduce the risk from fatigue, lone working and the use of mobile phones while driving.
Employers seeking to implement an occupational road risk policy are advised to seek professional advice.