With mixed data sets downplaying the risks of driving for work and confusion surrounding grey fleets, Licence Bureau is calling on light commercial vehicle (LCV) operators to ensure they are fully aware of the challenges faced.

The move comes as Licence Bureau experiences a marked rise in engagement with light commercial operators keen to understand more around their compliance journey, associated road risks and the challenge of grey fleet management.

With some 4.3 million vans on the road in the UK, each covering in the region of 13,000 miles per annum – nearly 60% more than the average car (circa 8,000 miles) – the UK’s leading supplier of driver licence validation services is highlighting the real risks associated with driving for work amongst van drivers and operators.

Figures show that there are more than 1,700 reported road fatalities each year. According to the Department for Transport (DfT), in 2017, 499 of those deaths involved a driver/rider driving for work. However, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics – data which many companies rely on for their duty of care policies – highlighted only 144 workers were killed in 2017/18.

‘During 2017/2018, more than three times as many people were killed in incidents involving a driver/rider driving for work than those killed in traditional ‘workplace’ industry groups,’ explained Malcolm Maycock, MD of Licence Bureau. ‘The data sets simply do not align which is a very real issue as it seemingly masks the dangers associated with driving for work – something LCV operators do daily.’

With the ever-increasing popularity of ‘home delivery’ and drivers required to fulfil this demand, Licence Bureau believes the risks are only becoming more complex as challenges around grey fleet and operational responsibilities also arise.

Malcolm said, ‘As a starting point and in a bid to unravel some of the current confusion across the industry, we very much believe road traffic incidents should be incorporated within data sets across the board because any vehicle driven for work is a ‘workplace’ – and this is especially true in the case of light commercial vehicles.’

Along with highlighting the risks to van drivers and operators, Licence Bureau is pushing for the HSE and DfT look at how the data sets can be aligned to provide individuals and businesses throughout the UK a clearer picture on risk profiles and support their duty of care obligations.

The discrepancy in the data is a result of the fact that HSE data includes figures relating to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) which do not require the reporting of general workplace deaths on the road. The numbers do not include road traffic incidents, as managed by the Police and reported by the DfT.

Malcolm said, ‘As the data proves, driving for work is a major business risk which needs to be managed correctly. We believe the skewed reporting mechanisms are not helping anyone, especially those van drivers and operators going about their day-to-day business. Reported and unreported road incidents in the UK are estimated to cost a total of around £35bn per year, and businesses of any scale should be fully aware of that type of risk profile.’

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