Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents



  Last year an estimated 1,100 people were killed and over 12,000 were seriously injured in road accidents in which the inappropriate use of speed was a major contributory factor. Travelling faster than road conditions safely allow increases both the probability of vehicle accidents and the severity of resulting injuries. Research by the Transport Research Laboratory suggests that company car drivers have a 30-40 per cent greater involvement in road accidents than those driving for domestic purposes. The victims of "at work" vehicle accidents include not only company drivers and passengers but other road users, including cyclists and elderly and child pedestrians.

  These facts are highly relevant to all organisations in the light of their legal and moral duty of care to manage the risks faced and created by their employees who drive on the road as part of their work.


  RoSPA has already issued consensus guidance on managing occupational road risk (MORR), showing how this can be tackled within the management system framework which organisations should already have in place for addressing other occupational health and safety problems. It has also developed courses on MORR and provides a range of driver services, including a driver assessment tool, a range of driving development courses and an awards scheme for recognising accident free driving.

  A key theme in RoSPA's approach is that MORR requires a sustained approach, with continuous development of policies, people and procedures to "work the problem" so that organisations can achieve progressive reductions in levels of risk, harm and loss associated with company vehicle use. It also requires organisations to set standards and have monitoring arrangements in place to help "drive" the improvement process.

  This 10-point code has been produced by RoSPA to help organisations develop their occupational road risk policies to tackle inappropriate use of speed by their employees.


1.  Safe Driving

  The organisation should make it clear that it expects its employees to drive safely at all times for their own benefit and that of others. It should emphasise that the achievement of good progress on the road does not depend on the inappropriate use of speed.

2.  Keeping within Speed Limits

  In that context, it should make it clear that: it expects all its employees to never drive faster than road conditions safely allow; that they should obey speed limits at all times; and that persistent failure to do so will be regarded as a serious matter.

3.  Leading by Example

  As in other areas of company policy, all senior managers should lead by personal example, both in the way they drive themselves and in encouraging colleagues to drive safely.

4.  planing Safe Journeys

  The organisation should also make it clear that all journeys must be planned with safety in mind, allowing sufficient time to enable employees to travel at safe speeds and to comply with speed limits—taking account of reasonably foreseeable weather and road traffic conditions and allowing sufficient time for rest breaks to avoid fatigue.

5.  Avoiding Incentives to Speed

  The organisation should avoid having in place work targets, systems of work or performance related methods of remuneration which may create pressures which lead its employees to use speed inappropriately and travel at speeds which are likely to be unsafe or in excess of the set speed limits.

6.  Vehicle Allocation

  It should ensure that the performance characteristics of its vehicles are matched to the competence level of drivers to whom they are allocated.

7.  Monitoring Compliance

  It should consider and put in place appropriate monitoring arrangements to assess the extent of compliance by its employees with its policy on speed. This should include options such as: feedback from employees themselves; monitoring licences for points and recording all fixed penalty tickets issued to company car drivers; use of "roadwatch" reporting schemes; and selective use of technology such as tachographs, on-board "black boxes" and GPS (global positioning system) based telematics which can give a record of average and maximum speeds.

8.  Investigating Accidents

  Wherever practicable "at work" vehicle accidents should be investigated by the organisation to determine whether inappropriate use of speed by the employee was a contributory factor.

9.  Liaising with Police Forces and Road Safety Bodies

  The organisation should seek to liaise with police forces and other road safety bodies as appropriate, to establish if and how co-operation can be achieved in pursuit of its policy on vehicle speed.

10.  Raising Awareness

  The organisation should ensure that: its policy on safe use of speed is clearly communicated to all employees (including during driver training); that it is backed by appropriate publicity; and that awareness of the policy and the issues involved is maintained through regular communications and feed back—both on high standards of compliance as well as on cases where employees have failed to comply.


  RoSPA suggests that, in consultation with workforce representatives, all organisations review their existing policies, standards and arrangements against this code and develop a prioritised action plan with timescales for implementation.


  RoSPA calls on all industry and trade associations, professional and road safety bodies, trades unions, insurers, local authorities, and police forces to support the code and to commend it to their members.


  The Society is anxious to hear from companies and other organisations that have taken successful initiatives to discourage inappropriate use of speed by their employees so that examples of good practice can be communicated to other organisations.

More Information

  Comments are invited on this code. For further information on RoSPA's MORR campaign and products visit our website at

  Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, RoSPA House, Edgbaston Park, 353 Bristol Road, Birmingham B5 7ST (tel 0121 248 200 fax 0121 248 2001 Email [email protected])

  Remember, Safe Drivers Know Their Limits!! and ... stay within them ...!

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Prepared 5 July 2002