How good is your driving for work policy?

There are almost 40,000 injuries on Britain’s roads each year that involve someone who was driving for work.

Work-related road risk is the risk that an employee may be involved in a collision while driving for work, creating a risk to drivers and other road users. At its core, it’s about driver safety, but it can also put managers, directors and the organization itself at risk in the event of a serious crash, if they’re found to have not met their duty of care obligations.

If you want to ensure your employees are not part of the problem, or one of the casualties, it’s vital to set out the importance of driver safety – and the good practice standards you expect when your staff are driving for work.

Your organisation needs to do this for three reasons:

  1. It’s the right thing to do. We all want our staff and other road users to get home to their families safe and well at the end of each day.
  2. It makes good business sense. Poorly managed drivers will increase admin time, insurance costs, maintenance costs and fuel use. Good management brings improvements in all these areas and many more besides.
  3. The law says you must do it. All companies must have policies and procedures to minimise risk – and that includes the recognised risks around driving. In the event of a serious incident, you could be asked to prove what you do to promote driver safety.

To communicate your commitment, and the required standards to drivers, you need a comprehensive, legally compliant and up-to-date driving for work policy.

What should be in the policy?
Your policy needs to include specific information in a concise and easy-to-understand format.

Here’s a summary of what needs to be included.

A Policy Statement which explains to drivers why the policy exists and why it is important they follow it at all times. This should also include an authentic statement from a senior leader in the organisation explaining how important driver safety is and that absolutely everyone is included, from delivery drivers, right up to directors.

Your policy must cover things like mobile phone use whilst driving and specifically explain that handheld phone use is illegal

A Driver Management section
Before we even consider letting an employee drive for work, we need to check that they are eligible to do so, which means carrying out driver checks. We need to ensure that they have a valid driving licence and that the personal details they provided match those on file at DVLA. We need to know whether have any penalty points and whether they’re entitled to drive the class of vehicle we want them to.

Do they have an eyesight or medical condition that could affect their driving?

Do they have a history of collisions? And have they received appropriate training, for example, if they’re going to be driving a commercial vehicle, or towing?

Your driving for work policy needs to explain how these checks are going to be carried out, how often, and what happens when someone falls outside of acceptable parameters.

A Vehicle Management section
We need to ensure the vehicles are safe. All vehicles should be regularly checked, every day if they’re commercial vehicles such as vans or trucks, and a system put in place for fixing defects. Training should also be given on how to carry out these checks.

Safe vehicle loading is paramount. Many vans stopped at the roadside are found to be overweight. Most can only carry around 1 ton in payload which can leave a lot of space, and the temptation is to keep going til it looks full. Multidrop vans may need the loads adjusting throughout the shift to ensure the changing centre of gravity doesn’t lead to a vehicle rollover. The dashboard shouldn’t be covered in loose items, a common sight when watching vans on the road.

Car drivers also need to ensure that the passenger cabin doesn’t contain lots of loose items, with brief cases or work equipment stowed securely in the boot.

All of this needs to be spelled out in your policy.

A Journey Management section
Before your drivers head out on the road, are they fit to drive?

Drug driving is a growing problem, and is more common than you might think among those who drive for work. Driver tiredness or fatigue can also severely impact a driver’s concentration so you need to be managing all these areas through your policy.

We need to ensure that drivers aren’t being given so much to do that they can’t complete their workload without speeding or taking other risks due to unrealistic work schedules.

We might tell our drivers to follow the highway code but can you be certain, for instance, that your van drivers know that the speed limits for vans on many roads are lower than they are for cars?

Mobile phone use is a well-known issue that many employers struggle with offences currently on the rise. Many companies allow handsfree calls while driving – it might be legal, but it isn’t any safer than using a handheld phone. Your policy must clearly spell out your position on mobile phone use when driving, with many employers choosing to ban the practice outright.

A Grey Fleet Drivers section
For those employees who use their own car for business journeys. Aside from the ownership of the vehicle, employers have the same legal responsibilities for managing safety including driver checks and vehicle safety. All your grey fleet drivers should get a copy of your driving for work policy.

Improving driver engagement
Your Driving for Work policy will only be effective if your drivers buy in to it so it needs to be realistic. It also needs to be consistently applied across all levels of the business. Pulling van drivers up for using a mobile phone will not go down well if managers and directors aren’t. You also need to ensure that you don’t tell drivers ‘no phones’ and then allow the driver’s manager to keep calling them.

A good starting point is to bring your drivers in at an early stage. Invite your drivers to tell you what increases risk to their own journeys and how that might be avoided. You’ll get much greater buy-in if they’ve been part of the policy development process.

Keeping it up to date
To be legally compliant, your policy needs to be kept up to date and reviewed regularly. In the last two years there have been significant changes to the legislation on using mobiles phones as well the Highway Code which should have been reflected in your policy.

The policy must be owned by a director or similar senior manager. That person has overall responsibility for creating, communicating and reviewing the policy, as well as monitoring compliance, and this responsibility should be written into their job description.

Create or review your policy
The Driving for Better Business team has just finished developing a brand new online Driving for Work Policy Builder tool which gives you access to pre-written example policy templates and examples that ensure you meet the required legal and compliance standards.

Our Driving for Work Policy Builder is a new online tool which will help you ensure you have a ‘good practice’ Driving for Work policy.

Once you’ve created your profile, you’ll be able to:

  • Access a driving for work policy template and checklist to make sure you’ve got everything covered,
  • Create a policy document that meets legal and compliance standards;
  • Get email alerts for any changes in guidance or legislation that could affect your policy;
  • Receive an annual reminder to review your policy, along with any changes that may be required since the last review;

If you like to know more, scan the QR code or please visit: