The current campaign by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), Health & Safety Authority (HSA) and An Garda Síochána have launched a joint TV led campaign to underline the importance of putting proper measures in place to ensure the safety of all employees who drive for work. This includes both professional drivers and those who drive as part of their job.
It is estimated that 1 in 3 road collisions every year involve people who were driving for work at the time of the collision. This means that up to 63 lives could have been lost in work related road collisions in Ireland in 2016.
If an employee is driving for work it is the responsibility of their employer to ensure they have a driving for work policy in place to minimise the risks faced by their employees while on the road.
“People who drive for work are 40% more likely than other drivers to be involved in a collision. Employers need to understand that they have a legal and moral responsibility towards employees who drive as part of their job. It is the employer’s responsibility to minimize all safety risks which could affect their employees while they drive for work. I would like to acknowledge all of those employers who have been in contact and have developed and implemented a driving for work policy. They are now seeing the benefits of having a preventative strategy in place to ensure the safety of their staff on the road and the continued success of their business.
RSA Chief Executive Moyagh Murdock
The benefits of implementing a driving for work programme greatly outweigh the costs. Benefits to the business include increased employee loyalty and enhanced public image, reduced likelihood of employee injury or death and subsequent sickness and dependency costs and increased productivity. For every €1 claimed on insurance, arising from work related road incidents, companies may have to pay a further €8 to €36 for uninsured losses.
While drivers are responsible for how they drive, the employer has a duty to the employee to make driving for work as safe as possible. Ultimately, employers have a duty of care to ensure that all work-related journeys are safe, members of staff are able to drive safely, and all vehicles and associated equipment are fit for use. All employees who drive for work should be provided with information, instruction, and proper training to ensure they are aware of the risk in driving for work to encourage them to actively mitigate all risk.
Unfortunately many businesses are leaving themselves wide open to crippling fines and pay-outs because they're inadequately managing or simply ignoring the risks associated with their grey fleet.
“An Garda Síochána’s message to any employer who does not have a driving for work safety system in place is to “Put one in place as soon as possible”, there is an obligation to do so and the consequences of not having one are too grave for this to be dismissed. At best in the event of a collision, you are risking your reputation as a fair and compliant employer – at worst you could have to live with the guilt of being responsible for someone’s serious injury or even death.”
Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, Roads Policing
The problem is bigger than you might think, and it’s not just about the cars, it's about their drivers as well. "A lot of businesses assume their H&S responsibilities only go so far as tools of trade vehicles, but they're wrong," said Michael Hegarty President Vehicle Leasing Association of Ireland.
"In fact employers are legally required to make sure both their cars and their drivers are safe and fit for purpose," he said.
"That means managing the drivers as well and answering questions like; do they have a valid licence? Do they have a history of accidents? Is their eyesight OK? How many penalty points have they accumulated? The company’s responsibility stretches beyond just the vehicle.”