Although increasing numbers of people work remotely, there are still many employees who need to spend a great deal of time commuting to and from their jobs, or to different meetings and training courses. For many workers, this can mean clocking up thousands of miles every year for business purposes, whether in their own or a company-provided car.
In this article, we will take a look at how both employers and those doing the driving can ensure that nothing goes wrong on the road. With research showing that a high proportion of traffic accidents involve drivers travelling for work reasons, it is vital that both parties know what they need to do to keep risk to an absolute minimum.
Driving Down Risk.
Driving Down Risk is a company that offers a range of services to any business which employs people who drive on their behalf. As well as offering administrative services such as license checking, Driving Down Risk are experts at providing training courses on the behalf of employers who want to keep their workers safe on the road.
Below, Steve Tams, Managing Director of Driving Down Risk, summarises the main problems facing those who regularly drive as part of their jobs – whether they have a specific driving role or just travel for occasional business meetings – and details of how their courses seek to eliminate these dangers:
“Business drivers face many challenges but amongst the foremost of these are the distractions that come with the job such as the use of mobile devices, driving whilst fatigued and the pressure of making appointments with clients. Around one third of all crashes on the roads involve the use of vehicles being driven for business and employers have a duty of care to all their employees (including drivers) under Health and Safety legislation. They must, of necessity, provide a safe vehicle in the first instance or provide funds for drivers to compensate for the use of their own vehicles whilst on business use (often referred to as the ‘Grey Fleet’).
“Whatever the employee chooses, the employer still has a duty of care for their safety. One of the best ways to help in this vital initiative is to provide employees with a safe driving policy/handbook. This handbook, which we write and can tailor for any business, sets out a structure for drivers to follow but also provides them with a safety net so that drivers feel supported in their task if things go wrong on the road. Once this foundation is set out, every employee will know what to do to stay safe in theory. However, every safety initiative needs to be followed up with training. Training takes many forms but simply aims to modify the behaviour of a driver to reduce their risk due to driving higher mileages than normal.
“Our training courses, whether in-class or in-vehicle, ensures that business drivers are made aware of their responsibilities and gives them an understanding of how driver behaviour is the cause of the vast majority of crashes. We provide coping strategies to reduce their risk. Many of these strategies can be aided by the fantastic array of safety features found as standard on cars such as Mercedes Benz. Being intimate with the Mercedes range, having owned first a ‘C’ class and now an ‘E’ class, I can state without question that they are a great example of how manufacturers provide the technology to help prevent crashes. Our training covers the use of this safety technology so that drivers have a sound understanding of its use and when and where to use it.
“Owners/directors of businesses can therefore assist in the vital area of road safety by firstly supplying their employees with the best and most technologically advanced cars available and then providing the structure and means of road safety training. The return on this investment is that of legal compliance and ensuring the reputation of their brand and image, but most importantly, reduces the risk of employees being killed or seriously injured on our roads.”
Some further advice comes from NatWest Mentor, an employment law, HR and health and safety consultancy service provided by the well-known bank. Interestingly, their tips also place an emphasis on the importance of in-car safety technology and enrolling employees on driver training courses.
Kevin Duffy, Advice and Litigation Manager for NatWest Mentor, said: “All organisations have a duty of care to their staff and customers. This becomes particularly significant with high mileage drivers.
“According to road safety charity IAM Roadsmart, a third of all motoring accidents are caused by people driving for work. But there are simple steps employers can take to help keep their drivers safe.
“Implementing driver training may feel like an unnecessary chore – especially with experienced drivers. But it is well worth the investment when you weigh up the cost versus the risks.
“Where possible, employers can also use technology to help create a safer environment. Some cars, for example, can now detect when drivers are getting tired or when they stray across lanes.
“While it’s impossible to eliminate human error entirely, you should put in place all necessary measures to keep incidents to an absolute minimum.
“Ensuring your fleet is well maintained and up to standard is another simple step. And instigating incentive programmes using ‘black box’ technology can help promote safer driving standards.
“Employers should also strive to create a culture of openness so that employees know they can talk about personal issues, their health and medication, for example, which might affect their driving.”
Our showrooms offer a wide range of high quality new and used vehicles for sale. Whichever model you choose, and whether you will be driving for business or leisure, you can rest assured that each of our cars meets Mercedes’ rigorous standards and is designed to keep you as safe as you can be on the road.
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