Recent research suggests that motorists who drive as part of their jobs pose the greatest risk to other road users, adding weight to the adage that familiarity breeds contempt.
Close to a third of the 1200 respondents to a survey conducted on behalf of Brake, a leading road safety charity, admitted to texting behind the wheel, whilst a sixth confessed to putting on make-up or even shaving.
The results are a particular cause for concern given government statistics which suggest that 30 per cent of all the journeys on Britain’s roads are made by at work drivers, and every week 10 people are killed and 100 injured as a result of accidents involving this group. The additional risks posed by their negligent behaviour means at-work drivers are 30-40 per cent more likely to be involved in an accident than other road users.
A staggering three-quarters of at-work drivers admitted to regularly driving at more than 35mph in built-up areas, a figure which is significantly higher than for the general population.
Julie Townsend, a spokeswoman for Brake which compiled the report, believes it is the responsibility of employers to put safety policies in place to reduce the likelihood of accidents.
“People driving as part of their jobs should be taking extra care to drive within the confines of the law and reduce the risks for themselves and other motorists. However, it is this group who are more likely than any other to take unnecessary and potentially deadly risks. ”
“We are urging all employers to implement comprehensive driving policies and to ensure their employees fully understand the importance of adhering to speed limits and not driving whilst distracted. ”
Despite the need to keep in regular contact with their staff, it is down to employers to introduce training programmes which increase awareness of the risk of practices such as speaking on the phone whilst driving.
Organisations adopting an active and effective approach to reducing the risks taken by their drivers are likely to benefit from a significant reduction in their van insurance costs, providing additional motivation to change behaviours.
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