Road safety and legal compliance must remain a top priority as businesses adapt to the ‘new norm’ of working from home, according to Licence Bureau.
With the mass adoption of working from home in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns drivers are becoming deconditioned to daily driving, Licence Bureau is urging businesses to remain tuned-in to the laws surrounding driving for work. More than a dozen laws affect ‘driving for work’ – covering the company, directors, staff, and drivers.
The current reduction in traffic volumes*, increased average speeds recorded by Greater Manchester and Metropolitan Police**, and general reduced driving activity for many employees combined with mounting economic business pressures is creating what Licence Bureau has termed a ‘perfect storm’ that all businesses need to pay special attention to.
‘There is so much at play right now, but businesses really must ensure they do not drop the ball when it comes to legal compliance,’ said Steve Pinchen, sales director, Licence Bureau. ‘Business driver road safety and duty of care, arguably more so now than ever, need to be at the top of the priority list for fleet operators.
‘With employees returning from furlough, some of whom may not have driven for months, organisations have got to take a pragmatic approach by providing support and creating responsible cultures right through from individual drivers to senior management level. It’s very much a two-way street.’
The laws surrounding ‘driving for work’ include, amongst others, Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007; Health and Safety at Work Act 1974; and Road Trafﬁc Act 1988 & 1991.
Overall the dozen or more laws cover a vast spectrum covering anything from the potential for a company and individual to be liable for manslaughter in the event of death; to the requirement for businesses to assess the risks to anyone who might be affected by their work activity; and through to individual drivers, as well as ‘director of fleet’, both facing points on licences and fines of up to £1,000 should they contravene road laws.
Steve said, “Legal compliance; health and safety; duty of care – they are all part of an organisation’s responsibilities. At any given moment, a business needs to be able to demonstrate that it has done everything reasonably possible to reduce risks. Even in the ‘new norm’ these laws remain unchanged and all organisations need to have a sharp focus on the task at hand as everyone starts to re-find their feet.”
* AA data has highlighted traffic volumes in June stood at around 75% of pre-lockdown levels
** Greater Manchester Police reported a 57% increase in vehicles travelling above the speed limit during lockdown, whilst the Metropolitan Police said that 30% of roads checked saw an average speed of at least 10% above the speed limit, with some seeing an average speed more than 50% above the speed limit.