Do you know your drivers?

If an employee is involved in an accident whilst driving for work the employer could be held responsible, says driver compliance company Hudson Kapel.

The ‘duty of care legislation’ already introduced by the Department of Transport means that employers can already be held responsible for the condition of an employees vehicle, or a fleet car, if an accident occurs during working hours, and it is found not to be roadworthy.

Moreover, it is likely that the Corporate Manslaughter Bill will be passed into legislation later in the year. If it does, the issue of managing the safety of a company’s drivers will be even more crucial. Company directors and managers could face a jail sentence and a fine, even if the company is not directly responsible for an offence.

You could be judged ‘vicariously liable’ for endangering or causing harm through the negligence of an employee driving on company business. Employers need to be confident that any staff driving on their behalf – even if they are driving their own vehicles – have full and valid driving licences and their vehicles are taxed, insured and roadworthy.

The official figures from the Department for Transport in 2006 showed the number of untaxed drivers jumped 76 per cent in two years. With 2.1 million drivers on the road that don’t pay road tax, the risks for employers are considerable.

Ensure that you check the basic facts about a driver’s licence and that the driver has the right licence for the vehicles they will be driving on the company’s behalf. With so many changes in the law and traffic regulations this is vital information that could help avoid later problems.

See also: Understanding motor fleet insurance

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Fleet Management