Legal Background Legal Background
Dealing with road safety is unlike most other aspects of fleet management on two main grounds. First, there is a strong legal and regulatory background to road safety that fleets simply cannot ignore. Secondly, this is an area where the main focus is not on cutting costs. There are of course very significant cost implications around any accident, but the primary concern must be to avoid injury or death to employees and other road users, through a road traffic accident.
This has been widely recognised as one of the major long-term issues facing fleet operators for several years. There are huge numbers of articles in the specialist fleet press, the general motoring press and the national papers. A wide range of businesses have been set up to service fleets in respect of this issue. Many existing suppliers have added services to address the demand.
Much of this has been driven by new legislation - in particular the introduction (from April 2008) of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, which permits prosecution of business, not just individuals, which have failed to adopt and follow reasonable standards of safety and risk Management.
There are other, older regulations as well. The standard list cited by many in this field includes the Road Traffic Acts, Construction & Use Regulations, Health & Safety at Work etc Act, Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) and many more, including the advice given in the Highway Code.
Then there are the impacts of the ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) publication "Road Deaths Investigation Manual" which standardises the approach all police forces should adopt when a major - and particularly fatal - road accident is reported. Any such incidents are now recognised as potential scenes of a crime - and the approach recommended is to investigate and resource to the same level as a reported homicide.