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Whether using a personal or company car, driving to and for work-related purposes is more commonplace today than ever. Both employers and the business rely on this transportation mode for numerous reasons, like conducting off-site meetings or inspections, partaking in training, transporting colleagues, or visiting clients. Since driving is a necessity in increasingly more companies, candidates with a valid driver’s license may have more job opportunities available and better job prospects than those lacking this aptitude. Operating motor vehicles as part of work duties brings about a host of traffic-related risks and hazards, especially if the employee is performing such tasks regularly. 

Driving can be tiring, consuming, and draining, requiring a higher level of focus and vigilance than other assignments. Despite all the attention that must be directed towards this activity and the collective responsibility of both the business and employee to implement and use preventative measures and behaviours, car accidents involving employees remain a recurring issue, bringing about a range of repercussions. For instance, 30% of all the road car accidents occurring in the U.K. involve an employee driving for work-related purposes, which could account for the weekly 250 injuries and 20 fatalities. The numbers are worrisome since the employer is legally responsible for training and ensuring the vehicles are in check and fitted with the necessary equipment. 

Anyone driving on behalf of the business must be protected at all costs, so let’s see what the employee’s legal duties are and what measures boost the protection of everyone involved in traffic. 

Employees must adequately train and protect their employees 

Both employers and self-employed individuals are required by the health and safety law to take steps to eliminate any risks to their employees’ well-being. For instance, they’re obliged to assess the potential hazards that employees and other people involved may be exposed to in the event of car rides on behalf of the company. Employees must ensure that assigned driving workers are not pushed to drive in the event of incapability or incompetence to conduct the task safely. Employees must be adequately trained, informed on anything critical to their well-being, and offered suitable equipment to maintain a proper driving posture. 

In case of nonadherence to safety rules and laws, employees can be held liable because of negligence, vicarious liability, or both. When their duty of care is neglected, the victim must be recompensated and helped have the damage reduced. Despite the legal right to claim against the employee who wronged them, many employees have a difficult time or avoid taking action against their employees for fear of suffering repercussions like losing their jobs. However, this shouldn’t be anyone’s case because the law protects the employees. As experts from point out, employers may only expose themselves to more potential consequences, such as sanctions and fines from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or reputational damage. 

Therefore, if your employer fails to protect you through various actions like providing improper car maintenance or training and you’re engaged in a traffic accident, don’t hesitate to contact specialists who can help you make justice for yourself. After all, you’re within your legal rights to use assistance to reduce the harm suffered and get back on track.  

Moving on, any company requiring workers to travel for business must implement the following three safety precautions.

Create clear policies 

Only by developing a clear policy that emphasises the rules and regulations employees need to follow can they be aware and encouraged to adhere to safe-driving behaviours. These policies must outline critical safety aspects such as seatbelt compliance, smartphone usage, distraction management, and so on. 

Establishing clear policies only for the sake of having rules in place is not enough whatsoever. Employees must be trained accordingly and regularly on following them, keeping them up-to-date with changing road safety regulations and practices. Extensive efforts are required to ensure they’re in the know about the expected behaviour from them, and the objectives can be accomplished by conducting debates on different related challenges, simulating scenarios and providing the setting to carry out driving exercises. 

Provide training on driver safety 

Preparedness is the buzzword for car driving and a skill that can make the difference between a safe and unpleasant car ride journey. It is even more critical when it comes to driving employees who are experiencing long hours of driving, tucked in their seats for extended periods and regularly conducting the same physically- and mentally taxing tasks. The exhaustion and stress driving employees are exposed to may leave them in vulnerable positions, putting their preparedness skills to the test. They may be less alert and attentive, lacking quick reactions to protect themselves in the face of imminent risks that require sharp braking or wheel steering. 

Employees must be trained on how to respond to different scenarios and taught how to use the provided equipment and tools to facilitate how they manage arising endangering situations. This practice is not required by law, but it’s an effective method to ensure your employees are exposed to fewer and less impactful risks when hitting the roads. 

Discuss the risks of driving fatigued 

Fatigue and exhaustion are some of the most common culprits behind accidents. Due to these factors, drivers operating the vehicle as part of their jobs are obviously subjected to mishaps. Every party involved must understand how lack of sleep and tiredness impact reaction time, concentration, alertness, and vigilance and take proactive steps to minimize the chances of such occurrences. 

Many employees drive for extended periods as part of their jobs. Employers must be aware of the risks created, create policies that reduce driving hours, and obligate employees to have regular breaks for rest and relaxation.

Wrapping it up 

Driving leaves employees exposed to traffic-associated risks all the time. But with the proper preventative and safety measures, such as those aforementioned, hazards are considerably reduced and consequences more unlikely. A holistic approach that strives for continuous improvement and consists of regular risk assessment, transparent employer-employee communication, and well-established policies improves the employee’s safety and the organisation’s reputation.