The British Safety Council has launched a new qualification to help people who drive as part of their work stay safe on the roads.

The Level 2 Award in Safe Driving at Work provides learners with key knowledge of the hazards and risks associated with driving. It equips vehicle users with valuable guidance on the measures available for reducing these risks, such as vehicle inspection, behaviour and defensive driving.

According to estimates from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), up to a third of all road traffic accidents in Britain involve someone involved in work-related activity. In 2013, according to government figures, 1,713 people died on the road, with the total number of casualties standing at 183,670.

The Ofqual-regulated qualification, which is designed to be delivered by employers or training organisations, instructs learners on a range of topics including the particular risks associated with vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, the importance of regular vehicle safety checks and how to adapt driving style in response to changes in driving conditions or the actions of others.

Alex Botha, the British Safety Council’s Chief Executive, said: “Driving can be a risky activity, a fact borne out by the high number of injuries and fatalities that occur annually on our roads.

“However, simple steps can be taken by employers and drivers to manage and reduce this risk. Our new Level 2 Award in Safe Driving at Work provides learners with all the essential knowledge to help them stay safe on the roads.

“Learners can expect to leave the qualification with a thorough knowledge of the main risks posed by driving – whether to themselves or other road users – and how to reduce them.

“Once registered with us, employers or training centres deliver the training using the high-quality teaching and student materials provided. Qualifications are assessed through a 45-minute multiple-choice examination that can be either taken online or on paper.

“This is a stand-alone qualification designed for delivery as a short course. It is also well-suited for integration into wider vocational programmes of study or, for example, as part of an induction programme. Students need no former knowledge or experience, so can come from a diverse range of educational and employment backgrounds.

“Safer driving habits should also feed through into workers’ personal lives, providing employers with a valuable corporate social responsibility tool to help make our roads safer in and out of work.”