Protecting Drivers From Criminal Offences
May 26, 2016
Your business’ drivers must navigate through a slew of hazards on congested roadways every day for work. They are responsible for driving safely, not endangering other drivers and completing their demanding work duties. The unavoidable danger of driving on UK roadways makes juggling these driver responsibilities even more difficult.
Your drivers’ failure to fulfil responsibilities like safe driving on the road can lead to criminal offences for any collisions, injuries or deaths they cause. Further, your drivers risk sullying your business’ reputation, eliciting an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and generating a corporate manslaughter charge which can hold your business partly responsible for any fatalities. Neglecting to anticipate and manage these risks leaves your business and its drivers exposed to serious risk with criminal consequences.
Road traffic offences in England, Wales and Scotland are managed under the Road Traffic Act 1998, while road traffic offences in Northern Ireland are managed under The Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.
If your drivers are found driving dangerously or carelessly, they will likely be criminally charged under one of the two road traffic acts, depending on where the offence took place. Drivers’ criminal offences under a road traffic act can lead to custodial sentences, fines, suspended licences and a host of other problems. The following are some of the most serious criminal offences for bad driving:
Barring extenuating circumstances, causing death by dangerous driving typically yields a custodial sentence between two and 14 years.
Driving at Work Policies
When an employee commits a serious traffic offence while driving for work, the HSE may conduct an investigation to determine whether the employee’s workplace somehow contributed to the collision. One of the first things the HSE will evaluate is the business’ driving at work or fleet safety policy, which lists company rules related to employees driving for work. Neglecting to establish a driving at work or fleet safety policy amounts to letting your employees drive for work with no rules.
To protect your driving employees and curtail your risk of a prosecution, include these topics in your driving policies:
Train your employees on your driving policies to ensure they know the proper procedures for avoiding roadway hazards. That way, if your employee does commit a serious traffic offence while driving on the job, your business can show that the employee was trained to obey all applicable laws.
Bolstering Your Business
Even one small collision can have a huge impact on your business—injured employees, broken vehicles, business interruption, ruined reputations and more are all potential outcomes of just one employee accident on the road.