Vehicle and driver policy - Employer responsibilities - Vehicles and driving for work - Healthy Working Lives

Employer responsibilities

Your responsibilities as an employer to protect your workers whilst driving for work

Driving is a work task carried out by many workers. Vehicles can be used on work sites and on public roads for work. As so many of us drive in our home and leisure time, we tend not to consider the risks in a work context.

In many workplaces, driving is considered a secondary activity. However, if your staff use vehicles to drive to a place where they will carry out their job, then the driving task is a work activity using work equipment. For many, driving is the most dangerous element of their working day.

As an employer it is important that you understand your responsibilities and take steps to keep your workers and members of the public safe.

To help your workers understand the risks and their responsibilities, it is useful to develop a driving for work policy covering the types of vehicles and driving activities carried out in your organisation. Once you are clear on these activities, using the risk assessment process will help you manage these risks.

Use the links below to find information on creating a vehicle and driver policy, completing a risk assessment and driver hours.

  1. Vehicle and driver policy
  2. Risk assessment for driving
  3. Driver hours

1. Vehicle and driver policy

When developing a driving or road risk policy, or training programme, for your workers you should ensure that you understand how your organisation uses vehicles on site and on public roads. Your policy should clearly state how you will ensure safe operations at all times, this may include clarifying

  • how your organisation uses vehicles onsite and on the public road
  • the risk of driving activities
  • responsibilities to maintain vehicles in a roadworthy condition (including responsibilities of workers using their own vehicles)
  • that vehicles over three years old must have a valid MOT certificate
  • that workers must inform their line manager of anything that may affect their ability to drive safely such as penalty points, or changes in personal circumstances such as use of prescription medication or health issues
  • that drivers must report any vehicle defects, and never drive defective vehicles
  • what actions to take in an emergency situation
  • that workers should check with a doctor or pharmacist if their prescription drugs will adversely affect their ability to drive
  • the need for regular eye tests, and any necessary corrective eyewear is worn
  • what qualifies as safe driving times between breaks
  • that fatigue is more of a problem at certain times of day and when nearing the end of a long journey, there is an increased likelihood of falling asleep in the afternoon and in the early hours of the morning
  • that drivers should plan ahead and consider potential hazards on their intended route such as schools
  • what the company position is on use of mobile phones.

Using a mobile phone while driving

It is a criminal offence to drive, or to "cause or permit" someone else to drive, while using a hand-held mobile phone or similar device. Employers should consider this when they provide mobile phones and expect staff to answer when driving. Driving includes times when stopped at traffic lights or during other hold-ups that may occur during a journey when a vehicle can be expected to move off after a short while.

Many drivers use hands-free phones but they could still risk prosecution. For example, in an accident, a prosecution for careless or dangerous driving may be justified if a phone was in use at the time of the crash.

Good practice is to have a staff and management supported, workplace policy that does not allow the use of hand held (and ideally hands free) phones whilst driving and makes it clear that calls received whilst driving should only be responded to when the driver can safely stop the vehicle.

Further information on developing your policy

Healthy Working Lives is a founding member of SCORSA – the Scottish Occupational Road Safety Alliance. The SCORSA web site is free to join and has information on all aspects of driving for work including

  • developing suitable polices
  • sample risk assessments
  • inexperienced drivers
  • driver training tool kit and resources
  • driver log books
  • the full driving risks at work DVD.

Visit the SCORSA website