We recently blogged about the sentencing councils new guidance regarding health and safety and corporate manslaughter offences for businesses, with particular focus on offences caused by dangerous and careless driving and the importance of directors in ensuring health and safety within their business is well managed.
Additional changes affecting sentencing of offences caused by careless driving have recently been announced (24th April 2017) which further highlight our calls for businesses to assess the risk profile and legal needs of their business and individual drivers.
The recent changes mean that careless driving offences (driving that falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver) will now be sentenced based on two criteria; culpability and harm with the seriousness of sentencing being dictated by the level of culpability and harm that are deemed present. Given the nature of HGV vehicles indicators of harm are often present in collisions – damage to other vehicles and property and injury to others – whilst a key factor in determining culpability is that the involved vehicle is used for the carriage of heavy goods or for the carriage of passengers for reward.
This means the stakes are even higher with responsible drivers being sentenced in the most serious categories with courts to consider penalties such as disqualification from driving for a given period and high numbers of penalty points.
This new guideline has the potential to really affect individual drivers and how companies conduct their business. Why does this matter?
We would reiterate that working alongside an experienced insurance broker who understands your sector is never more essential for a professional transports and logistics operator . If your current broker is not talking to you about anything other than price and market then ask them what they are doing to improve your risk profile and put in place risk management measures. Don’t leave it until something happens. Plan for the worst .
Anthony Jones in association with DAC Beachcroft are able to help you to understand how to draft and implement a Driving Policy for your business. The Health and Safety Team at DAC Beachcroft operate a 24 hour service where immediate assistance is needed where drivers are interviewed by the police under caution. This ensures you have as much control as you can on possible criminal proceedings and protecting your interests in any civil claim which may follow.