• International Workplace
  • 9 January 2018

Winter driving: the importance of road safety policies

Fleet managers and business owners are being called upon to ensure they have a robust road safety policy for winter driving.

The call comes after the recent poor weather conditions in the UK, which left many employees stranded at home, unable to travel, or broken down in an attempt to get to work in the hazardous conditions.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises business owners and employers that health and safety law applies to on-the-road work activities and the risks should be effectively managed within a health and safety system.

Stuart Thomas, Director of Fleet and SME services at the AA, said:

“Following the terrible weather conditions that have hit the UK, there is a clear need for businesses to ensure their health and safety policy contains guidance on road safety.

“In particular, this applies to so-called grey fleets, the term used to describe any vehicles which are used for business travel but are not owned by the company. This should include guidance on what to do in the event of poor weather conditions. Many company car drivers have been left unsure of their company’s policy, with some still attempting to travel in the snow.

"Company car drivers are 49% more likely to be involved in an accident than ordinary drivers, even when higher mileages are considered. Businesses need to ensure all risks to their employees are minimised and that they are not putting themselves, or other road users, in jeopardy.

"Ensure your road safety policy covers every issue your drivers could face, from prohibiting alcohol and drug use while driving, to driver behaviour and self-care behind the wheel. By including these measures, fleets and businesses can easily improve their employees' safety and efficiency in 2018, and beyond.

"Additionally, any policy should include information on electric vehicles usage, with two-thirds of fleets expected to run their vehicles on alternative fuels in just five years' time."

Further guidance on work-related road safety, including what the law says and practical measures employers should take, is available on the HSE website.