Recent blog posts - The Fleetadvice Blog
Ask a question
1000 characters left

The Fleetadvice Blog

Help & Advice on Fleet Related Topics

Dean has not set their biography yet

Check your vans - protect your Operator Licence

Van

The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) last month announced the start of a new campaign aimed at improving van safety. The key concerns for DVSA are the mechanical condition of vehicles and that fact that vehicles tend to be overloaded. Vans also have a 50% MOT failure rate.

Operators & drivers are being encouraged to help improve their compliance especially as their vans will come under a closer scrutiny. In order to help a business meet part of their compliance the DVSA are suggesting that a short 10 minute daily walk around is required before undertaking journeys.  The driver or operator will check lights, tyres, wheel fixings, bodywork and any other problems.

To help the situation ‘Vehicle Check & Defect’ books are available from organisations like the FTA and RHA, the books normally in duplicate allow for a copy to be given to a line manager in charge of maintaining the fleet and a copy retained by the driver.

If the business has an Operator’s Licence this could in fact be jeopardised, especially if the business fails to meet the necessary requirements.  As part of the Operator’s Licence undertaking you agree to keep all of your vehicles in a roadworthy condition at all times.

These visual inspections will obviously not replace proper maintenance undertaken by trained professionals but it will go towards familiarising the driver with the vehicle and can act as an early warning system towards any potential issues that the vehicle may have in the future.

Should the driver be stopped, being able to demonstrate that they conduct daily checks of their vehicle should stand them in good stead.

 

Download a copy of a 'walk around' check list - Follow this Link

 

VOSA produce a ‘best practice’ guide for van operators a copy of which can be downloaded from our website – Follow this link

Rate this blog entry:

Share this article:

">
Continue reading
512 Hits

Drivers Eyesight

Eyesight

Do you have a policy of testing the eyesight of your drivers.

At present, rule 92 of the Highway Code makes it clear that a driver must be able to read a number plate, in good daylight from a distance of 20.5 metres. Should a driver need to wear glasses or contact lenses these must be worn whilst driving. The Highway Code does not distinguish between work and private drivers.

The Highway Code does, however, suggest that a driver must ensure their eyesight remains satisfactory. After being asked to read a number plate by the examiner at the required distance, there is no specific requirement for a company car driver or a driver of a light van to have their eyes re-tested after they pass their initial test.

The eyesight part of the driving test re-mains unchanged since being introduced in 1935. Considering the amount of traffic on today's roads, the speed at which we travel and road signs in comparison to the 1930's, the sight test is almost irrelevant.

Of course, we all know that our eyes deteriorate as we get older. For example, a survey by the Royal National Institute for the Blind found that as many as one in three people in the UK would fail a standard eyesight test. When applied to Britain's drivers, this equates to a staggering 13 million people.

Currently there is no specific legal duty on employers to provide eye tests for staff that drive on their behalf. However, health & safety law does apply to work-related driving, and so, by implication employers have a duty of care to ensure that drivers do not put themselves or others at risk.

Best practice advice on work-related safety suggests that employers should be taking steps to ensure drivers' eyesight is satisfactory. The vast majority of employers are putting the onus on the driver to have his or her eyesight checked to ensure they comply with the Highway Code eyesight requirement.

Employers should re-consider their policies when it comes to eye tests. The implications of the corporate manslaughter act could have a profound effect. Courts will be looking at the management systems and practices across an organisation. Juries hearing corporate manslaughter cases will be asked to decide if a death is the result of failed safety systems in an organisation.

Should a fatality involve a company car driver issues such as how the employer ensured the employees fitness to drive - this could come under scrutiny as part of a corporate manslaughter investigation.

Those who fail tests will be warned if they get behind the wheel, they risk a fine, disqualification and invalidating their motor insurance.

By Dean

 

Rate this blog entry:

Share this article:

">
Continue reading
564 Hits

New Drug Driving Offence

A new drug driving law comes into force on the 2nd March 2015, the new law will make it easier for the police to tackle those who drive after taking illegal drugs or abuse medicinal drugs.

The current offence in place is ‘driving while impaired’ (performance affected) by drugs, the police are finding it difficult to prove that a drug has caused the impairment.

Under the new offence the police will only need to obtain a blood sample to prove that certain drugs are present and over the specified limit.

Some drugs that are included in the new offence are taken by people legitimately following the advice of a healthcare professional. If the medication is taken as prescribed then people are going to need reassurance that they are not going to be prosecuted if they drive.

The new rules will make it an offence to drive with certain controlled drugs in the body; this also includes some prescription drugs which if taken over the specified limit an offence could be committed.

Mobile devices that are currently in use are able to detect traces of cannabis and cocaine only; further Home Office approved units that detect other substances will be made available to the police in the future. However, if evidence of impairment is found the offence of ‘impairment’ will still apply. 

New information will start to appear on the label and on accompanying patient information leaflet of those medicines covered in the new regulations and also similar medicines which may be picked up in testing for the new offence.

Drug-Driving

It is estimated that around 19 million prescriptions a year are issued for those drugs included in the new offence. Drugs associated with medical uses that could pose a risk to road safety if taken over set levels are:

Clonazepam, Diazepam, Flunitrazepam, Lorazepam, Oxazepam and Temazepam.

Methadone and morphine are also included as the opiate/opioid based medication will metabolise (chemically change) and could show a positive blood result.

Amphetamine and other substances such as selegiline, which can metabolise into amphetamine and are sometimes used for medicinal purposes, is also intended to be included with a limit set above normal doses if parliament can pass a separate amphetamine regulation in time for the commencement of the new offence.

The testing limits have been set very low even small doses of illegal drugs like cannabis and cocaine are likely to test positive. Some illegal drugs have very limited medicinal uses and are not usually obtained through a pharmacist this includes:

Ketamine, this is occasionally used in some clinics for chronic pain relief, and Sativex a cannabis based medicine which is used to treat MS sufferers. 

 

By Dean

Rate this blog entry:

Share this article:

">
Continue reading
581 Hits

Changes to tachograph rules for local journeys

From the 2nd March 2015 new regulations regarding tachograph recording equipment come into force, some vehicles will not require a tachograph to be fitted.  Drivers will no longer have to comply with EC driver’s hours rules, but with GB drivers’ hours rules instead.

A new European regulation EU 165/2014 will replace EEC 3821/85, the regulatory framework sets out requirements for the construction, installation, use, testing and control of tachograph recording equipment.

The new regulation increases the journey distance for exemptions from 50km to 100km from the operator’s base.

 UK Map

This will apply to:

Vehicles or vehicle and trailer combinations with a maximum weight of 7,500 kg which are:

  • used to carry materials, equipment or machinery for the driver’s use in the course of his work and when driving the vehicle is not the driver’s main activity
  • used to carry goods and which are propelled by natural or liquefied gas or electricity

Vehicles used to carry live animals from farms to local markets, or from markets to local farms or slaughterhouses.

Download and read these rules from: www.gov.uk/government/publications/rules-on-drivers-hours-and-tachographs-goods-vehicles-in-gb

By Dean

Rate this blog entry:

Share this article:

">
Continue reading
638 Hits

Work Related Driving

 

Police Slow

 

Don't leave things to chance

A wealth of legislation governs work-related driving & it continues to become increasingly stringent.

 The Facts....

  • Employers are bound by a legal duty of care to ensure the safety of staff whilst they work;
  • Driving is one of the most hazardous working activities, every week sees 250 serious injuries & 20 deaths involving people at work on the road*
  • Occupational driving is governed by at least 10 separate laws, including The Health & safety at Work Act 1974 & The Road Traffic Act 1998;
  • 2009 has seen the first case of a company charged under The Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007;
  • Pressure to comply has mounted in 2009 as The Health & Safety Offences Act 2009 was introduced;
  • If you run a fleet, & employ 5 or more staff, you must have a documented fleet safety policy;

 * Department for Transport figures

 

Take your responsibilities seriously.

It is more important than ever that companies are fully prepared when it comes to their health & safety obligations and to invest adequate time and effort into the tasks associated with legal compliance.

Fleet related legislation is becoming increasing stringent and every company undertaking driving as part of their business activities is at risk. The only way to mitigate the risk and achieve peace of mind is to implement – and, most importantly, to enforce a comprehensive and structured Road Safety policy. This policy should form part of your company health and safety policy, and should set out clear instructions on every aspect of vehicle operation and standards of driving. It may even be aligned with employment contracts, but vitally it must be distributed to, understood by and adhered to by every staff member who drives - even occasionally for your company.

If you have five or more full time employees you are legally required to carry out an occupational road risk assessment for any employees who use vehicles for work purposes. This applies whether or not the employee is driving a vehicle owned by the company. Employers who fail to carry out this duty of care obligation could be criminally charged under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2008 if an employee dies in a work-related accident.

THE RISKS

The key rules and regulations that affect occupational road risk are:

  • Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 – employers must ensure as far as ‘reasonably practical‘ the H & S of all employees and others put at risk by employees’ work related driving activities.
  • Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1992, updated 1999 – employers must take ‘periodic assessments’ of risks and safety of employees and other people who may be affected by their work activities.
  • Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) – all work equipment including vehicles must be suitable for intended use and safe and that employees operating such equipment are properly trained.
  • Reporting of Injuries, Disease & Dangerous Occurrences (RIDDOR) – sets out how workplace injuries are reported and may include following review drivers injured in course of work.
  • Working Time Regulations – governs the number of hours employees are expected to work including driving on company business.
  • Road Traffic Act 1988 – an employer may be found guilty of aiding and abetting an employee who commits an offence under this Act.
  • Road Death Investigation Manual – visit ACPO Police to see they types of questions that the Police will now ask – the advice to police officers Includes:

- Interview Senior Directors / Managers
- Seize Vehicles
- Seize Health & Safety Records
- Interview Staff

  • HSE Guidelines – Driving at Work – Managing Work Related Road Safety - this document is the cornerstone and the content has to be applied by all companies.
  • The Health Act 2006 – “An Act to make provision for the prohibition of smoking in certain premises, places and vehicles” effective 1st July 2007. The definition of a vehicle that must be smoke free is one that is used ‘primarily as a work vehicle by more than one person regardless of whether they are in the vehicle at the same time’. This applies equally to company vehicles and private vehicles used on business where the business use is greater than private. All such vehicles must display a no smoking symbol.
  • Road Safety Act 2006 – Covers drink driving, speeding, penalties & enforcement driver training, driver & vehicle licensing, motor insurance, road user charges and speed camera funding.
  • Health & Safety Offences Act 2008 – Introduced in January 2009, this Act brought about amendments to the sentencing provisions detailed in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Aimed at punishing individuals (as opposed to companies) for health and safety breaches, the Act also significantly increased the maximum penalties that can be imposed.
  • The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act – Introducing a new offence, across the UK, for prosecuting companies and other organisations where there has been a gross failing, throughout the organisation, in the management of health and safety with fatal consequences. An employer must demonstrate ‘working’ Health and Safety procedures.

The ability to demonstrate means:

- Initial risk assessment
- Hazardous activities identified
- Management strategies to counter these
- Training planned and completed
- Continual monitoring

Audit Trail

In the event of an accident, the police, assisted by the Health and Safety Executive, will carry out the initial investigations. If they then believe there is a case for prosecution they will hand over the evidence to the Health and Safety Executive who will then seek to have the case tried in court.

In the event that an accident involves an employee driving on company business, the police will be looking for the following evidence:

  • Why was the vehicle at the scene?;
  • The mechanical condition of the vehicle – regardless of ownership;
  • The physical condition of the driver, including signs of fatigue;
  • The legalities of both vehicle and driver – Licence, MOT, Insurance etc.

 It is for these reasons that a vehicle and driver audit trail is required to show that the policy for employees driving on company business is based on Health and Safety best practice lines. There are numerous Acts of Parliament applying to road transport that set out clear requirements for both employer and employee regarding road-worthiness and safe operation of company vehicles. Legal action has already been taken against companies and their staff in a bid to reduce road accidents and improve health and safety standards in the work place.

A company needs to introduce a process and service enabling a fully auditable risk management solution, minimising the risk to your employees and other road users and to ensure that you comply with all aspects of both the current and any future legislation that applies to Occupational Road Risk.

The process includes:

  • Corporate Risk Assessment;
  • Preparation of comprehensive Management Report highlighting key areas of concern;
  • Provide solutions, policies and legal opinion;
  • Agree, create and manage and action plan designed to mitigate these areas of risk;
  • Determine all employees at risk;
  • Conduct individual driver risk assessment;
  • Audit Trail / Performance Monitor / Record Maintenance.

Corporate Risk Assessment

The key is to be compliant with all legislation and Government Department advice in terms of car & health and safety policy ensuring that all processes and procedures are robust, followed, managed and audited.

Areas that must are comprehensively covered:

  • Policy – compliant, communicated, read, understood, agreed & accepted;
  • Drivers – competent, capable, trained, fit and healthy;
  • Vehicles – fit for purpose, maintained correctly, active & passive safety equipment, drivers conversant with all aspects of vehicle, ergonomic consideration;
  • Journeys – planned, realistic schedules, time planned, fatigue / break advice and weather considerations

 

By Dean

Rate this blog entry:

Share this article:

">
Continue reading
575 Hits

Counterpart of driving licence to be abolished

Counter-Part

 

It has now been confirmed by Ministers that from the 8th June 2015 the DVLA will no longer issue the paper counterpart of the photocard driving licence. The Decision to abolish the counterpart arose from the governments Red Tape Challenge consultation on road transportation, it is thought that it will save drivers around £8m. It also aligns to the DVLA strategic Plan.

The government launched a View Driving Licence service in 2014 which allows GB driving licence holders to view their driving record on-line. The service is free and easy to use and available 24/7.  Drivers can check what type of vehicles they can drive and any endorsements (penalty points) they may have.

Driving licence holders can also check the details on their driving record by phone or post

How will employers, car hire companies, and anyone else who currently checks the paper counterpart be able to check driving licence information?

The government are currently developing two new digital enquiry services. The first service is ‘Share Driving Licence’ which will provide an online alternative for those who currently have a business need to check the information displayed on the driving licence counterpart. Share Driving Licence will be a free, 24/7 service and is currently scheduled to be available in Spring 2015.

The second service is ‘Access to Driver Data’ which will provide real-time driving licence data via a business-to-business interface (or API).  Access to this service will be subject to users agreeing contractual terms.  Connection and enquiry costs are currently under consideration. The service is currently scheduled to be available in summer 2015.

An information pack is available for commercial customers, this provides details of the changes. If you would like a copy of this or have enquiries on the new services the government department e-mail address is .

This news of the counter-part being abolished is welcomed by some employers. It was never an ideal way to determine if a driver was legal to drive.

To ensure the information being supplied by the driver is genuine you need to check this with the information held by DVLA.  Drivers have been known to hold onto the counter-part telling the DVLA it has been lost. The driver could then produce a clean document when asked, the counter-part would have never been returned to the DVLA to have any points added. We have even come across cases were drivers have even been banned from driving.  

By Dean

Rate this blog entry:

Share this article:

">
Continue reading
1053 Hits

Advisories

Service

Due to vehicle manufactures increasing service intervals and engines covering a greater mileage between oil changes, other items may require attention before the next service is due. A garage will issue advisories when a vehicle is serviced or MOT'd, for example, you may be advised that the brake pads need changing in 6,000 miles. Unfortunately these advisories are often overlooked. When collecting the vehicle the driver may not be made aware, invoices are passed through to the accounts department and MOT certificates are filled away.

If overlooked you are taking a serious risk regarding the safety of the vehicle concerned.

 

What method do you have in place to remind you of advisories?

By Dean

Rate this blog entry:

Share this article:

">
Continue reading
795 Hits

Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS)

 FORS

The standards for the Fleet Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS) are being revised; from the 13th October 2014 new guidelines will come into force.

The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) is a free, voluntary scheme operated by TfL. It encourages sustainable best practice for road freight operators, who deliver in, and service, London or who intend to do so. FORS promotes safe working practices, legal compliance and safety of road freight operations in London

The scheme is available to any person who operates, or intends to operate, one or more commercial Road Freight vehicles (including any kind of van and truck, but excluding cars or motorbikes) on the roads in Greater London. You do not have to be based in London as long as you deliver into, or transit through, the Greater London area using the road networks.

 

If you would like advice on becoming FORS accredited or would simply like help with renewing your accreditation for Bronze, Silver or Gold please contact Jeff Lester at GetFORS - 

GetFORS

By Dean

Rate this blog entry:

Share this article:

">
Continue reading
846 Hits

Fleet Cost Savings

Fleet Savings

You cannot save 20% in any one area of your company car costs, you must review every aspect of your policy in detail. You should then be able to save a small percentage in each of these areas which will ultimately add up to a large saving across your fleet operating costs.

The following is an example of the areas you should consider and review, it is not a complete list, remember any scheme must be to the benefit of both parties and not at the detriment of either company or employee.

 

  • Compare all acquisition method’s available. Employee Car Ownership Schemes - Contract Hire - Finance Lease - Contract Purchase - Outright Purchase - Salary Sacrifice Schemes. Consider the cash flow implications of each product, the taxation effects (both direct tax and VAT and the risks involved;
  • Funding Methods Internal and External;
  • Current Policy Employee impact - Company impact - Potential improvements - Cost Savings - Company risk - Current entitlement and costs;
  • Vehicles  Whole-life costs - Diesel verses Petrol vehicles - Vehicle selection - Manufacturer/Dealership Support terms - Environmental   aspects;
  • Current Supplier Relationships Service level agreements - Contractual terms & conditions - Service performance - Review current costs and future cost controls;
  • Process Internal key personnel, how many, which departments - Order Process - Vehicle Eligibility - Replacement cycle (optimum term & mileage) - Driver support - Invoice consolidation/accountability - New Starter process - Interim vehicles - Daily rental provision & cost - Accidents process - Driver accountability - Disposal process - Payroll Collections - P46 (cars) & P11d information - Motor insurers database management - Speeding/driving fines;
  • Support Services  Accident Management scheme - Fuel Card provision - Daily Rental provision - Pool cars - Insurance policy and excess - Tyre Supply - Service and maintenance - Fleet management - Glass replacement - Congestion Charge process - Roadside recovery service - Foreign travel arrangements - Vehicle movements and storage;
  • Legislation - Company car handbook - Corporate Manslaughter act - HMRC scheme approval /compliance (where applicable) - Fleet laws - Driver documentation.

By Dean 

 

Rate this blog entry:

Share this article:

">
Continue reading
852 Hits