Van fleets and the risk of corporate manslaughter

According to recent research conducted by a AXA Insurance, many businesses are failing to take even basic steps when protecting themselves against the risk of prosecution in the event of an accident.

The research canvassed over 300 businesses operating at least one van and found that just under half were completely unaware of the term corporate manslaughter, despite the fact that it was introduced more than five years ago.

Along with the widespread lack of awareness, the research unveiled three main areas of concern in the way businesses manage their van fleets: insufficient administration and record keeping in relation to both the vehicles and their drivers, unchecked damage to body work and windscreens and casual approach to essential vehicle maintenance.

By failing to properly look after their vehicles both administratively and mechanically, businesses are leaving themselves exposed to potential risks and open to claims of negligence.

The key findings of the research include:


  • 30 per cent of companies have not checked the insurance details of those driving their company vans;
  • 8 per cent of companies have failed to check whether those driving company vans hold a valid driver’s licence;
  • Only 85 per cent of those interviewed were confident their MOTs were up to date;
  • 6 per cent were unsure who was responsible for servicing company vehicles.

Vehicle Damage

  • 46 per cent of vans have minor scratches and dents, 25 per cent have medium sized dents and scratches and 14 per cent have large areas of damage which could have a detrimental impact on the safety of the van;
  • 22 per cent have damaged exhausts, bumpers and mirrors which remain unrepaired;
  • 55 per cent have chips in their windscreen - damage which if not fixed can quickly lead to issues with driver visibility.


  • 9 per cent of respondents have their vehicles serviced less than once a year, whilst a further 6 per cent never have their vehicles serviced;
  • 12 per cent of respondents check their tyre pressure once a year or less. 5 per cent never check it;
  • Oil and water levels are left unchecked for a year or more by 15 per cent and completely unchecked by 6 per cent. Only one in three top up their anti-freeze during the winter months;
  • One in four test the brake fluid and function of their van just once a year.

For more information about keeping your company vans and drivers safe read the relevant HSE guidance.

Your browser is out-of-date!

This website is built using latest technogies. Unfortunately your browser doesn't support those. Please update your browser to view this website correctly. Thank you.Update my browser now