One in five business drivers risk disaster when driving long distances

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Eighteen per cent of business drivers have admitted that they do not stop for a break when driving for extended periods of time, according to research conducted for Brake’s Road Safety Week by Masternaut, a provider of fleet telematics.

This is despite the UK Highway Code recommending that drivers take a 15-minute break every two hours. UK and EU regulations on daily driving limits and breaks at home and abroad vary depending on vehicle type.

Masternaut surveyed 2,000 UK employees who drive as part of their job, to highlight potential risks for drivers travelling over long distances. Employers have a duty of care to their staff to monitor their mobile workers’ working time to make sure they don’t go over the limit and take adequate breaks.

Health and Safety Executive Guidelines state that “health and safety law applies to work activities on the road in the same way as it does to all work activities and employers need to manage the risks to drivers as part of health and safety arrangements”. Employers are required to assess the risks involved in employees use of the road when working and put in place measures to manage risk.

Some business drivers admitted to taking extreme measures to stay alert when driving, with a quarter of those surveyed admitting to singing out loud to the radio to combat tiredness on long journeys. 7 percent said that they would slap themselves in order to stay alert, whilst 2 percent would do maths out loud to keep refreshed. Almost a third (31 percent) would just listen to loud music.

More conventional methods of keeping alert whilst driving included winding down the window (50 percent), drinking strong coffee or tea (49 percent) and turning the temperature down (30 percent).

Steve Towe, chief commercial officer and UK managing director, commented, “It’s vitally important that drivers are alert at all times and get home safely and employers play a role from a duty of care perspective to ensure that this happens. However, the issue many fleet managers and HR departments find themselves facing is how to effectively monitor their mobile workforce, in some cases across multiple territories with different legislative requirements.”

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