Does your business have a driver vetting procedure?

Ashley Minors, Hugh J Boswell

Aviva shares a common aim with its fleet customers to reduce risk and consequent claims spend. Research, including Aviva's own statistics, consistently confirms that the lowest accident rates are displayed by companies with clear driving standards and unambiguous driving rules, including effective driver vetting procedures.

Why Carry Out Driver Vetting?
• On the UK's road network, 10 people are killed and around 1,000 others are injured every day
• Nearly 33% of all fatalities involve the use of a company vehicle, whether it is a car, motor bike, van or commercial vehicle
• 33% of all large motor vehicle insurance claims involve drivers who have been employed for less than 12 months, regardless of age or driving experience
• Over 65% of all company vehicles will be involved in a road accident in the next 12 months

The above facts make for gruesome reading but sadly, are very true. There are both human and financial costs to road accidents for businesses. Medical treatment, compensation, business interruption and ‘bent metal' costs must all be paid for. If the root causes of accidents are left unchecked, the result will be higher operating costs for the business.

As employers you have a legal and moral obligation to ensure the safety of your employees and others, who may be affected by their driving at work activities. This is in addition to existing legal obligations under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

Companies running commercial vehicles under the terms of an ‘Operators Licence' must also comply with any other specific requirements imposed by their individual ‘Operators Licence'.
Employers are also "vicariously liable" for harm caused through the negligence of employees / operatives in the course of their driving duties.

"If they are doing something for you and about their duties (including driving a company vehicle), you are responsible - even if they are behaving totally improperly and against your orders" (Greville Janner. Q.C.)

Employers, from the driver's supervisor right up to directors of the company, can be liable for charges of ‘Corporate Manslaughter' if an accident results in loss of life. In order for this charge to apply, it must be proved that the accident resulted from a lack of ‘duty of care' or a failure to comply with any of the legislation listed. Fines imposed on the guilty parties can be unlimited, with prison sentences of up to 10 years.

Ashley, Director of Hugh J Boswell, states “We like to be proactive with clients in terms of vehicle risk management, from providing advice on policy excess levels to supplying accident management kits for their vehicles.  This activity assists the client in reaping the rewards in the form of a better claims frequency and subsequently reduced insurance premiums.  Setting a clear and concise driver vetting policy is recognised as a useful tool in the management of a companies vehicles and helps identify increased risk to the business.”


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