Driving law and legislation - Police carAs a driver, you will be aware of the current driving law and legislation in place in the UK. However, many don’t understand the consequences of breaking these laws or the impact it can have on their lives and businesses. As an employer, it’s your duty to ensure that anyone driving for work purposes complies with the law. The information below covers some of the most frequently broken laws and how to ensure that your fleet obeys the rules of the road.



Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for conditions contributes for 28% of fatal crashes

Drivers need to be able to react to the road around them, to other road users and to wildlife and pedestrians. Speeding reduces the time a driver has to react and therefore increases the risk of collision.

The minimum penalty for speeding as an individual is a £100 fine and three penalty points added to your licence. However, the impact on a business could be far more substantial. For example, if an employee were to obtain 12 or more points on their licence they would lose their licence, their job, and leave a business empty handed and short staffed.

Another consideration is high-mileage drivers. For example, a sales person who ramps up a considerable amount of miles in a year, over 13,000 miles, runs a higher chance of obtaining points on their licence. It can also be about managing employer’s attitude to speeding. A recent study by road safety charity, IAM revealed that high-mileage drivers are more likely than any other type of road user to think speed cameras have ‘little or no influence’ in reducing the numbers of road casualties.

It’s ultimately down to the business to manage the risk and put into place relevant preventative measures to help reduce speeding offences and in turn protect their drivers and their bottom line.

Seat belts

5% of drivers and front seat passengers and a further 11% or rear seat passengers still don’t wear seatbelts.

In a crash you’re twice as likely to die if you don’t wear a seatbelt, making seat belts one of the most important safety features on a vehicle. Drivers are responsible for anyone under the age of 14, after this it is down to the individual to buckle up.

It’s important for the passengers in the back seats to wear a seatbelt too. Should the car be involved in an accident a passenger in the rear of the car can be thrown forward with such a force it may kill someone sitting in front of them. Drivers caught without a seatbelt face on-the-spot fines of £100. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.

Drink driving

One in seven UK road deaths result from crashes where the driver was over the drink-drive limit

Drink driving is one of the most dangerous and deadly driving offences to commit. According to a survey conducted by Brake, 32% of UK drivers admit to driving after consuming alcohol. Many believe the best way to avoid drink driving is to cut out all alcohol for the night if they need to use their vehicle. That way there is no risk of misjudging the amount of alcohol you consume and running the risk of drunk driving.

The legal limit in the UK is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood (80mg/100ml) although a person’s degree of intoxication is influenced by a number of factors including, age, weight and the amount of food the person has consumed that day.

One in six of all drivers convicted of drink-driving is caught in the morning after a night out. You should allow enough time for the alcohol to properly exit your system before getting behind the wheel. A rough guide is to allow one hour for every unit of alcohol consumed and then an extra hour to be safe however this will vary from person to person and may still not be enough.

The maximum penalty for drink driving is six months in prison and an unlimited fine. Anyone caught drink driving will automatically receive a 12-month ban. A report carried out by the BBC claims that some insurance companies are carefully wording their policy’s to make it possible for the insurance to be void if the driver is found to be over the limit. We strongly recommend that you review any insurance policies you have as the guidelines for company car drivers can be unclear. Should a claim be made against the driver, the costs might be incurred by their employer. However, the Road Traffic Act still states that insurance company still have to pay out for third party claims.

Drug driving

It’s been estimated that 200 deaths a year in the UK may result from drug driving

Drug driving like drink driving is illegal, however, the effects of drug taking on a driver are different to drink driving. Some Class A drugs like cocaine and ecstasy will make the driver feel over confident which may result in erratic and unpredictable behaviour whilst cannabis can dramatically reduce a driver’s reaction time. Studies have shown that a drug driver is 2-10 times more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal crash.

Prescribed medication can also hinder a driver’s ability to drive. A UK study in 2000 found 5% of drivers and 4% of motorcyclists who died in road crashes had taken medicines that could have affected their driving.

Drivers suspected of drug driving will be stopped and asked to take a breathalyser or a Field Impairment Test (FIT) which will assess the level of impairment of any drug. Should an individual fail this test then they will be arrested for dangerous driving and taken to a police station where a blood test will be used to confirm the FIT. It is down to the driver to check the label and instruction of any medication they are taking before getting behind a wheel of a car.

Sources: iam.org.uk, brake.org.uk, bbc.co.uk/news