Road Safety News
 
Monday 27th January 2014

One in five road accidents involve people driving for work

Businesses in the North East have been urged to act now to help protect their staff after it was revealed that you are more likely to be involved in a collision as the result of a business driver than a drink driver.

One in five road accidents in the North East have involved people who were driving for work during the last five years.

Road Safety GB North East is launching its Driving Down Your Risk campaign today (Mon) and warning businesses that they could be prosecuted if they neglect their employer responsibilities.

The group revealed that between 2008 and 2012, 7,778 people were involved in collisions in the region while they were on a journey for work.

During that period, there were 6,402 collisions involving business travel, which resulted in the death of 74 drivers and riders, the serious injury of 748 people and the slight injury of 8,262. The figures do not include drivers of public service vehicles.

Casualty numbers are highest during the autumn and winter months, with the majority happening Monday to Friday and peaking after 8am.

County Durham, Northumberland and Newcastle have the highest number of casualties from collisions involving a work journey, but Gateshead has the highest proportion of accidents relating to business drivers.

While County Durham records the greatest number of fatalities and total work-related collisions, the Tyne and Wear area has the highest concentration of the more severe casualties, especially around Newcastle and Gateshead’s urban core.

Casualties from collisions involving people driving for work in the region between 2008 – 2012

Local Authority

Fatal

Serious

Slight

Total

% of total casualties

County Durham

26

155

1,541

1,722

19.35%

Northumberland

20

166

1,259

1,445

23.17%

Newcastle

6

81

1,205

1,292

24.37%

Gateshead

6

63

914

983

24.64%

Sunderland

3

63

871

937

20.72%

North Tyneside

2

39

651

692

22.22%

Stockton

1

45

394

440

18.76%

South Tyneside

4

41

372

417

20.94%

Darlington

2

34

340

376

20.88%

Middlesbrough

0

26

340

366

17.55%

Redcar & Cleveland

2

19

222

243

14.62%

Hartlepool

2

16

153

171

16.27%

Total

74 

748 

8,262

9,084

21.13% 

Alan Kennedy, Road Safety Manager at Durham County Council, said employers, as well as drivers, had to take responsibility for road safety.

“The number of road accidents in the North East involving people who are driving for work account for a fifth of all road accidents, so more must be done to help reduce that figure and safeguard workers in the region,” said Alan.

“About 21 percent of the region’s traffic collisions involve people who are driving for work, which is significant. To put this into perspective, over the same period, about five percent of accidents involved a drink driver, yet driving over the limit seems to get much more attention.”

Men account for 78 percent of casualties, while those aged between 35 and 44 are in the highest risk group, accounting for 26 percent.

Cars make up 58 percent of the vehicles involved in work-related collisions, followed by small goods vehicles at 21 percent and heavy goods vehicles at nine percent. The remainder is made up of pedal cycles, medium-sized goods vehicles, motorcycles and farm vehicles.

Alan said while the figures were not going up, collisions involving journeys for work were still way too high.

He added: “We are appealing to both drivers and employers. Motorists need to watch their speed and must give themselves ample time to reach their destination. It is also vital that they drive according to the weather conditions and avoid distractions, such as mobile phones and eating and drinking while on the move.

“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 whilst driving, and are not suffering stress.

“Companies seem to be putting their employees under more and more pressure to deliver, but they need to appreciate that someone under pressure takes risks. Our question to employers is ‘are you doing enough to keep your staff safe?”

Alan suggested employers open up dialogue with their staff about issues around driving for work, so that risks could be reduced, with particular attention given to realistic appointment times, speed and the maintenance of vehicles.

He also suggested businesses take advantage of a free driving course for all employees, entitled Safety and Fuel Efficient Driving (SAFED), which is funded by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund and may be obtained through local authorities.

For more information about the course contact your local authority road safety officer and for more information about Road Safety GB North East and the campaign go to http://www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/regions/r3.html

Follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RSGBNE or on Twitter @RSGB_NE