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MPs join move to cut death toll of at work drivers

21 April 2009

Six MPs have joined the move to reduce occupational driver deaths by signing up for a new Driver Risk Management system from IAM Fleet, the commercial arm of the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) - a partner of the Driving for Better Business campaign.

By completing an IAM Driver Risk Management (DRM) programme to assess and improve their driving, MPs are setting an example for businesses of all sizes to manage the risks associated with their employees who drive for work.

Road safety experts claim deaths while driving for work cost the UK more than £1.6bn in 2007 (the most recently available figure).

IAM Fleet Managing Director Seb Goldin said: "Around a third of all road accidents involve people driving for work, and for every death, there is an associated cost to the economy which can total billions of pounds each year. This is not acceptable and is why we are asking MPs to take the lead in reducing the alarming road death rate."

MPs at the IAM reception took part in an online risk assessment of their driving - the vital first step of a DRM programme which identifies aspects of an individual's driving that need development. From this, a risk rating determines further training needs, ranging from e-learning to personal on-road training to improve driving skills.

At the event, two MPs were awarded IAM certificates - Owen Paterson MP, who passed his IAM advanced driving test and Bill Wiggin MP who took a motorbike assessment.

IAM training focuses on risk avoidance as well as improving fuel economy, or a combination of the two. Safer driving techniques can lead to more fuel efficient driving and contribute to lowering CO2 emissions.

Speaking before the IAM reception, Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick expressed concern that people who drive for work are over-represented in road casualty figures.

"Managing driving for work is as much common sense as running any other part of a business - training and planning of all aspects of operations go a long way to bringing avoidable costs under control.

"In creating a work-related road safety ethos as part of their existing health and safety policies, employers not only make savings that can be delivered straight to their bottom lines - they also save lives, playing their part in cutting the number of needless tragedies that take place on our roads every day," said Mr Fitzpatrick.

The need for employers to demonstrate their duty of care is underpinned by the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 which came into force in April 2008. Uniquely, the Driving for Better Business campaign seeks to raise awareness about employers' legal obligations but also elucidate the business case for effective management.