Road safety campaign launched to tackle dangerous company car drivers

Driving Down Your Risk road safety campaign starts today to tackle dangerous company car drivers

A police officer giving a motorist a breathalyser test
A police officer giving a motorist a breathalyser test

A new road safety campaign starting today reveals drunk drivers are less dangerous than people using company cars.

Road Safety GB North East claim 21% of accidents in the region involve company drivers, compared to only 5% by those under the influence of alcohol.

The group has launched a Driving Down Your Risk campaign to raise awareness among businesses.

Spokesman Alan Kennedy, road safety manager for Durham County Council, said the figures must come down.

He said: “The number of road accidents in the North East involving people who are driving for work account for a fifth of all road accidents.

“To put this into perspective, over the same period, about 5% of accidents involved a drink driver.

“Yet driving over the limit seems to get much more attention.”

The figures reveal it is men aged 35 and 44 who are most likely to be casualties in accidents involving company drivers.

County Durham had the most number of deaths between 2008 and 2012 with 26, followed by Northumberland with 20.

Gateshead had the highest percentage of accidents involving company drivers at 24.64%. Alan said drivers and their bosses must share the blame.

He said: “Motorists need to watch their speed and must give themselves ample time to reach their destination.

“However, it’s important that businesses play their part too.

“They must remember that they are liable under the Corporate Manslaughter Act if their policies are not up to standard.

“They have a duty of care to their staff to make sure they have enough time to reasonably get to appointments, have sufficient stop breaks, and are not discussing business on the phone while driving, and are not suffering stress.”

Road Safety GB North East, which is composed of local highway authorities, has arranged courses for business drivers.

One of the companies taking part is engineering outfit Husqvarna, of Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

Their health and safety manager Paul Mather said all salesmen, delivery drivers and managers had taken part.

He said the company had learned best practice and had saved money because of better driving techniques, including the correct use of brakes and gears.

Driver Paul Milner said: “The course was fantastic. It proved to me that I don’t have to be in a mad rush all the time. I definitely think I’m a better driver for it.”

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