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Driver Fatigue: Laws, Facts & Effects for Fleet Owners

Jul 19, 2019

Driving could arguably be considered one of the most dangerous vocations given the potential for serious accidents to occur when you are behind the wheel. One factor which may contribute to or increase the likelihood of having an accident is driving when fatigued or tired.

It is so important for drivers and fleet owners to be aware of the dangers of driving when tired given the associated risks of serious accidents and the onus on organisations to ensure the health and safety of all of their employees.

What effects can driver fatigue have?

Allianz, one of our insurer partners, have produced a document looking at the effects of driver fatigue, consequences for drivers of being involved in an accident when driving tired and the responsibilities that fleet owners and employers need to be aware of.

Driver fatigue facts

Some of the key figures around driver fatigue highlighted in the document include:

– Driver fatigue may be a factor in as many as 1 in 5 road traffic accidents
– Up to 40% of sleep related accidents involve commercial vehicles.
– Around 150 people are killed or seriously injured every week in crashes involving someone driving for work

You can find the Allianz document at the end of this blog. It really is worth a read given the serious consequences of driver fatigue and implications for both drivers and organisations.

For fleet owners, it is always good to remind your drivers of the dangers of driving when tired and to ensure that your company culture encourages your drivers to take regular breaks, stop driving if they do feel fatigued and to importantly ensure that they adhere to rules around driver hours so that they do not put themselves, or others in unnecessary danger.

Driver fatigue law

Driving when tired or fatigued is a culpable offence. Current sentencing guidelines define the following

– Causing death by dangerous driving carries a maximum sentence of 14 years
– Causing death by careless driving carries a maximum sentence of 5 years
– There has also been discussion of increasing the maximum penalty for death by dangerous driving to life in prison

Why drivers need to be aware of the effects of driver fatigue

If you are involved in an incident which results in death and you are found to have been driving tired, then you could be found guilty of death by dangerous or careless driving. Read our recent blog on sentencing guidelines here.

Why fleet owners need to be aware of driver fatigue

Likewise, professional drivers, such as those that drive HGVs, buses and coaches, are subject to strict rules around driving hours. Breaking these or not adhering to them can also see drivers receive substantial fines as well as employers being issued with improvement notices if they break the rules around recording and monitoring working time.

At Anthony Jones, we work closely with DAC Beachcroft whose national motor prosecutions team can ensure drivers involved in a serious road traffic accident receive early advice from a specialist lawyer as well as police station representation. Watch this short video we made with the team from DAC Beachcroft to find out more about what happens in the immediate aftermath of a serious road traffic accident. Talk to us today about your fleet insurance needs on 020 8290 9099.


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