Buckle up: Employers face prosecution for company car accidents

26 October 2007
The number of employers prosecuted for crashes involving company cars that kill 1,000 each year could rise with the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter Act that will force companies to take more responsibility for their employees on the road.

The employers of those who have accidents will be checked by the police to ensure they are complying with basic regulations such as making sure they are insured to drive for work, that the car has an up-to-date MOT certificate, and the employee has a valid driving licence.

According to research from rental company Arval, nearly a quarter of the cars on the road being driven for work purposes are part of the ‘grey fleet’ – those cars which do not fall under company car policy and are a grey area when it comes to management and reporting responsibilities.

The survey found that 35 per cent of companies have no policy in check employees’ driving licences, 53 per cent do not check that the car is insured for work use, 74 per cent do not ask employees to provide a valid MOT certificate and 83 per cent have no system in place which ensures the vehicles are regularly maintained.

About 200 people are killed or seriously injured as a result of someone driving for work, and business drivers have a 30-40 per cent higher collision rate than private drivers. The Corporate Manslaughter Act will make it easier for corporations to be held responsible and prosecuted if their negligence causes an accident.

Department for Transport (DTF) figures show that about 25 per cent of all miles travelled each year (excluding commuters) are for work purposes. The DTF also states that those driving for business purposes have a significantly higher risk of dying than those involved in all other workplace incidents. Furthermore, approximately 4 out of 10 accidents involving someone falling asleep at the wheel are caused by someone driving a commercial vehicle.

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