It is estimated that one in every five fleet vehicles will be involved in a road accident a year. The average direct cost of an on-the-job fatal crash is a staggering £504,408.
As an employer, it is your legal duty to ensure that anyone driving a company or personal vehicle for work purposes is fit and able to drive. An employee needs to be physically and mentally fit in order to be deemed safe behind the wheel.
Employers have a duty of care obligation with regards to drivers’ health. Individuals should be neither stressed, tired nor overworked, especially if they are required to drive.
How to monitor drivers’ health
25% of all crashes on Britain’s main roads which cause death or serious injury are tiredness-related
The main cause of this is motorway driving as it’s particularly monotonous; mile after mile of motorway can become somewhat hypnotic as there is little in the way to break up the distance.
A driver can still have an accident even if they don’t fall asleep at the wheel, simply being tired will dramatically affect your judgement and thinking time. Four in ten tiredness-related crashes involve someone driving a commercial vehicle. Furthermore, 80% of tiredness related incidents are caused by male drivers
Tiredness can come from a lack of sleep, stress/overworking, night-time driving or in some cases from a disorder called Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea can cause sufferers to briefly stop breathing while they are sleeping which interrupts their sleep causing them to be drowsy the next day. Many people do not realise that they suffer from this condition so it is down to the employer to make their employees aware of the condition and encourage to get themselves checked regularly.
It is estimated that stress accounts for 40% of work related illnesses
Tiredness can be a result of stress. Constant worrying can have a draining effect on an individual both mentally and physically. However, stress can also become a hazard to drivers for other reasons.
Driving is a demanding task which requires driver’s to give their full attention at all times. If a person is stressed it is likely some of their attention will be drawn away from the task at hand. Stress at work can easily bubble over into the car so before driving, make sure your head is clear and you’re not upset or angry as this can affect your capability behind the wheel.
67% of drivers fail to recognise the effects of dehydration
Dehydration, although easily avoided, can still hinder a driver’s ability to control a car safely.
Failure to stay properly hydrated can lead to lower concentration levels, slower reaction times and muscle cramps. Overall, 84% of drivers think drink-driving is more dangerous than dehydrated driving, even though a recent study conducted by Loughborough University revealed that mild dehydration is equivalent to being over the drink-drive limit in terms of driver errors.
It is recommended that drivers regularly drink water throughout the day and consume a minimum of two litres in order to stay hydrated.
Road accidents related to poor vision claim an estimated 2,900 casualties every year
It seems clear that a driver with impaired vision has a far higher chance of being involved in an accident. Worryingly one in eight drivers who need glasses or contacts say they regularly drive without them.
The maximum penalty that can be issued is a £1000 fine, three points, or a discretionary disqualification. We urge you to ensure that all your employees are fit to drive and are aware of the penalties for driving with impaired vision.
You can do this by:
- Encouraging your employees to get their eyes checked at least once every two years
- Be aware of anyone who needs glasses and offer support and encouragement to ensure their safety
- Incorporate eye care into your driver fleet policy so employees are aware of the dangers before they use a company vehicle