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SMEs vulnerable to corporate manslaughter charges

17 April 2009

Many small businesses are leaving themselves wide open to penalties and prosecution one year after the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act came into force.

According to research from Mercedes-Benz World and RoadSafe, 49% of small business fleets are unaware that under current legislation their business and a director or manager could be prosecuted if one of their employees is involved in a road crash.

The survey of 105 SMEs also revealed that 42% of business managers do not have any policy in place to manage road safety and 50% did not think that one was required.

Adrian Walsh, director of leading road safety partnership, RoadSafe, which manages the ‘Driving for Better Business’ campaign on behalf of the Department for Transport, said: “With about one in three of all crashes involving a driver who is working, it is imperative that businesses implement sound management policies involving risk assessment, to make sure their employees are safe when driving.”

Mercedes-Benz World managing director, Peter O’Halloran, said: “The news that so many small businesses are failing to recognise the importance of making sure their employees are safe on the roads is alarming.

“It is concerning that 82% of the business car managers who took part in our survey do not offer their staff driver training despite the fact that 62% thought they would benefit from it.”