Recent modification of the Corporate Manslaughter Act granted the prosecution the power to charge managers in companies whose vehicles, when on business were responsible for accidents on the road irrespective of whether they involved a death. In fact, the law further expects directors and other heads of organizations to provide comprehensive guidelines pertaining to driving at work and enforcing them with a strict regime. Moreover, this is applicable not just to the company owned fleet or other vehicles but even personal vehicles that can be used on a business trip.
The Road Traffic Acts, aimed at the driver of any vehicle establish that it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that the vehicle is well constructed and maintained. In addition, the employer or the organization is deemed ‘vicariously liable’ for whatever effects there are on public life. Usually, the adverse effects are pointed out to the employer. In case of businesses that run a fleet of vehicles, these come in the form of environmental damage and accidents involving people. With a fleet management service, all of this is taken care of. Typically, a draft of the Duty of Care is done to satisfy the rules. In addition, at every opportunity, all the drivers in the fleet are made aware of the rules and are driven to drive safely.
Legislation has been implemented and certain modifications have been made to make the employer or the company more humane. While this is stricter in a lot of ways, it goes a long way to keeping the number of accidents in check. Firstly, the owner of the fleet is wholly responsible for an accident or other misfortune involving a company vehicle. This is stated in the Corporate Manslaughter Act. In addition, the head of the organization will be held liable for any damage caused either directly or indirectly by an employee of an organization even if the vehicle doesn’t belong to the company but the assignment was career related.
Corporates will do good to have a risk assessment plan of their road activities and an action plan to reduce the frequency and severity of such accidents. In case either of them is missing, the company is subject to verification by the authorities and severe consequences are lined up. However, with a total fleet management service, none of this will happen as the service will manage it for you.
Another law, the Health and Safety Executive in relation to Occupational Road Risk has a set of rules that have to be mandated by every corporation having more than 5 employees. The repercussions for breaking this law are rather severe and it is best for every employer to avoid the same. With fleet management services, this law too is covered and a comprehensive plan that guides all employees to the best practices is drafted. While it is not enough to just have a policy, it is a start.
The Duty of Care is mandatory for every employer or organization owning a fleet. This is primarily because it is believed that a fleet has an adverse effect on several different levels. While this might be true, it doesn’t have to affect a company’s performance and can be covered by the fleet management service. Hand over the operations and maintenance of your fleet and there is bound to be change in the operations, usually for the better!