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Fleets remain vulnerable to Corporate Manslaughter Act

26 March 2009

Almost one year since the Corporate Manslaughter Act came into force many small businesses are leaving themselves wide open to penalties and prosecution.

According to new research from Mercedes-Benz World and RoadSafe, 49 per cent 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 also revealed that a staggering 42 per cent of business managers do not have any policy in place to manage road safety and fifty per cent did not think that one was required.

Adrian Walsh, director of leading road safety partnership, RoadSafe, which manages the DfT's road safety outreach programme, 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.Regular driving licence and MOT checks, vehicle safety checks and policies on journey times and mobile phone use all play an important part in helping to guard against crashes while also providing financial and reputational benefits.”

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’s obviously much better to avoid an accident altogether, rather than to mitigate its effects, which is why we developed our Driving for Business sessions at

Mercedes-Benz World to provide hands on experience of handling skills that could be life-saving.

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

The ‘Driving for Business Programme’ at Mercedes-Benz World helps improve employees’ awareness and vehicle handling skills, which as part of a well managed road safety policy can help businesses towards their duty of care obligations and compliance with health & safety at work and corporate manslaughter legislation.

The programme has been developed with advice from the emergency services and uses the Handling Circuits and Wet Skid Circle at Mercedes-Benz World – the only public facilities of their kind available in the UK – to simulate extreme road conditions.

The programme comprises practical exercises on emergency braking at speed, steering control, cornering, taking evasive action behind the wheel and using the Wet Skid Circle to simulate driving on ice, together with seminars on road safety and risk assessment.

For further information on any of the driving packages available at Mercedes-Benz World, telephone 01932 373 707 or visit www.mercedes-benzworld.co.uk.

‘Driving for Better Business’ is a campaign to alert the private and public sectors that managing at-work drivers saves money and is a legal requirement.

It is delivered by RoadSafe on the Department for Transport’s behalf to raise awareness of the importance of work-related road safety in the business community and public sector by using advocates drawn from these communities to promote the business benefits of managing it effectively.

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