ETSC Focus On Managing Grey Fleet Safety

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has published a Short Guide for Companies Whose Staff Drive Their Own Cars For Work

When a driver uses their own vehicle for work, they are still under the responsibility of the employer, and this presents a real challenge for managing associated work related road safety risk. Employers may think that it is easier to manage employees using their own cars for work, instead of a company car fleet. However once all of the considerations are taken into account this may not be the case.

An estimated 14 million people in the UK and at least 600,000 in Ireland are classified as grey fleet drivers.

This very useful guide has been produced to help organisations review and improve grey fleet management, with a specific focus on safety concerns. It will explain the legal responsibilities as well as the business benefits of an effective grey fleet management policy. And it will also explain how grey fleet road risks can be reduced through risk assessment, and stress the importance of integrating grey fleet policy in company procedures and management responsibility.

Download the Managing Grey Fleet Safety Guide here

New Driving for Work Website Launched

Driving for work is a high-risk activity. In fact, people who drive for work are 40% more likely than other drivers to be involved in a collision. It is estimated that driving for work accounts for involvement in up to 1 in 3 road collisions every year.

In addition to the human cost, driving for work incidents create a financial burden for employers from vehicle repair costs, worker absence, third party claims and lost business opportunities. Driving for work also poses risks for fellow workers, members of the public and road-users, especially vulnerable road-users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

To address this, the RSA, HSA and An Garda Síochána have developed a number of resources to help you to develop and implement safe driving practices in your company or organisation.

One of these resources is the Driving for Work website at which includes resources for employers on managing drivers, vehicles and more.


Irish Road Safety Week 2016

Irish Road Safety Week runs from Monday 3rd to Sunday 9th October 2016

This year, Irish Road Safety Week (IRSW) will be taking place from Monday 3 October to Sunday 9 October with lots of road safety activities planned nationwide. 

Among the activities planned, the RSA, HSA and An Garda Síochána are hosting two Driving for Work Seminars on ‘Managing Driving for Work’.

The first is on Wednesday 5 October in Rochestown Park Hotel, Douglas, Co Cork from 8.30am to 1pm. 

The second Driving for work Seminar hosted by the RSA, HSA and An Garda Síochána ‘Managing Driving for Work’ will be on Thursday 6 October in Green Isle Hotel, Naas Road, Dublin from 8.30am to 1pm. Places are limited so email

During Irish Road Safety Week, the RSA will be broadcasting its ‘Is Your Car Ready for Winter?’ radio ad to remind road-users to maintain their cars, especially in wet and windy weather.

For more details, please see the RSA website

HSA, RSA & Gardaí Announce Driving for Work Seminars

The Health and Safety Authority, Road Safety Authority and An Garda Siochana plan to run a series of nationwide morning seminars in Ireland in October on Managing Driving for Work.

The aim of the seminars is to;

  • outline legal obligations in relation to driving for work activities

  • inform and educate employers about how to implement safe driving for work practices

  • inform employers on key requirements for managing drivers

  • launch new guidance and resources to help employers understand and manage driving for work risks effectively

  • outline key requirements for fleet and vehicle management

  • show best practice examples of companies who effectively manage driving for work and get multiple business benefits.

The October seminar dates and locations are:

5th October,  Cork

6th October,  Dublin

26th October,  Galway

27th October,  Sligo

Book your place now by sending an e-mail to

Study Shows Hands-free Mobile Use Just As Distracting

“The only ‘safe’ phone in a car is one that’s switched off.”

A study carried out by psychologists at the University of Sussex, published in the Transportation Research journal, found that drivers having conversations which sparked their visual imagination detected fewer road hazards than those who didn’t. 

The study, which tracked eye movements, found that drivers who were distracted suffered from “visual tunnelling.” They tended to focus their eyes on a small central region directly ahead of them. This led them to miss hazards in their peripheral vision. Undistracted participants’ eye movements ranged over a much wider area

The researchers found that conversations may use more of the brain’s visual processing resources than previously understood. Having a conversation which requires the driver to use their visual imagination creates competition for the brain’s processing capacity, which results in drivers missing road hazards that they might otherwise have spotted.

Dr Graham Hole, senior lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sussex, said: “A popular misconception is that using a mobile phone while driving is safe as long as the driver uses a hands-free phone. Our research shows this is not the case. Hands-free can be equally distracting because conversations cause the driver to visually imagine what they’re talking about. This visual imagery competes for processing resources with what the driver sees in front of them on the road".

“Our findings have implications for real-life mobile phone conversations. The person at the other end of the phone might ask “where did you leave the blue file?”, causing the driver to mentally search a remembered room. The driver may also simply imagine the facial expression of the person they’re talking to.

Dr Hole said: “Conversations are more visual than we might expect, leading drivers to ignore parts of the outside world in favour of their inner ‘visual world’ – with concerning implications for road safety.”

Dr Hole says anything which causes drivers to imagine something visually, including passengers, can interfere with driving performance because the two tasks compete for similar processing resources.

He said: “However, chatty passengers tend to pose less of a risk than mobile phone conversations. They will usually moderate the conversation when road hazards arise. Someone on the other end of a phone is oblivious to the other demands on the driver and so keeps talking. And talking in person involves non-verbal cues which ease the flow of conversation. Phone conversations are more taxing because they lack these cues.”

Source: University of Sussex Study

Getting To Grips With Grey Fleet Report

While this comprehensive new report from the BVRLA and Energy Savings Trust highlights the fact that the estimated 14M UK grey fleet vehicles are older, more polluting, less safe and likely to cost businesses more than other fleet vehicles, it also offers best practice guidance and case studies to help organisations set objectives and achieve a wide range of benefits.

A grey fleet vehicle is one owned and driven by an employee for business purposes. The employee is reimbursed on a pence per mile basis for using their vehicle on business journeys. 

The grey fleet is an old fleet with an average age of 8.2 years followed by the UK car parc which is on average 7.9 years old.
• The vehicles used by employees under cash allowance schemes cover a wide range of ages and although more modern than grey fleet vehicles, a large proportion of them are over 5 years old.
• Grey fleet and cash allowance cars are significantly higher in terms of emissions when compared to rental, car club, lease cars and vehicles in salary sacrifice schemes.
• The grey fleet accounts for the lowest proportion of Euro 6 cars.
• Grey fleet and cash allowance vehicles have significantly lower Euro NCAP (European car safety assessment) ratings compared to the other vehicle fleets. 

The government can help organisations to get to grips with their grey fleet by:
• Launching a communications campaign highlighting the alternatives to grey fleet use and offering best practice guidance. For example, establishing a business car club.
• Reforming the benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax ratings to encourage the use of low emission company cars. This could be achieved by making the rates for cars emitting up to 120g/km CO2 more attractive and the rates for cars emitting more than this more punitive.
• Introducing new tax categories that provide additional incentives for drivers of pure electric vehicles (EVs) with longer ranges.
• Providing more in-life incentives to encourage use of new and used EVs. For example, free parking or bus lane access.
• Making ultra-low emission leased vehicles eligible for First Year Capital Allowances. This enables businesses to offset the cost premium associated with these cars by allowing them to deduct the full cost against their pre-tax profits.

Source: BVRLA

Driving for Work Mock Trial

The importance of robust fleet safety management was highlighted with an ‘in the dock’ mock trial at Safety & Health Expo, demonstrating the sort of questions a company would be asked in court for a driving for work related incident.

There wasn’t a single empty seat in the courtroom / theatre, where the case of an IT worker involved in a road traffic collision while driving for work, was played out.

The company, represented by their operations manager, blamed the worker for failing to follow procedures.  However the prosecution managed to find flaws in the management systems within the company.

The dramatized case highlighted some of the areas fleet managers need to consider for employees who drive for work. 

The operations manager was questioned about the safeguards that were in place, the document checks, the audit trail and missing paperwork.

After the company demonstrated poor safety management, a failure to monitor performance and a lack of effective management systems; the audience (or jury), unanimously declared a guilty verdict.

The room was then reminded of the damage a prosecution can have on a company, including:

  • large fines
  • damage to brand reputation
  • adverse publicity
  • difficulty being awarded future tenders
  • increased insurance premiums.

Source and full story: SHP Online

Summer Driving Tips from the HSA

Summer is here at last…..
So that means….particular attention should be given to managing specific seasonal risks associated with Driving for Work in Summer.
Particular risk factors are more prevalent between now and end of Summer that need to be brought to the attention of all who drive for work to help them understand and manage the seasonal risks that they face and that are created by others

  • Higher temperatures leading to vehicles getter hotter inside and  increased risk of becoming fatigued and dehydrated
  • ore traffic on certain routes and in vicinity of key summer events. Such as concerts, tourist attractions, event etc..
  • More children out playing in cities, towns, tourist attractions and villages
  • More bicycles. Make sure the leave enough space between them and your vehicle if overtaking and take care at junctions.
  • More tourists driving around Ireland who may not be as aware of road rules and environment
  • More caravans and camper vans. These usually travel at lower speeds so overtake them with great care.
  • More agricultural vehicles particularly on  regional roads travelling at slower speeds and towing agricultural trailers and machinery
  • More pedestrians enjoying the improved weather
  • More motorcycles on the road, including tourists motorcyclists

The HSA reminds employers and employees of key seasonal tips for safer work related journeys over the coming months.

Summer months bring more bicycles, motorcycles, caravans, agricultural vehicles, visiting tourists and seasonal traffic congestion to our roads.

During school holidays, there are more children about, so extra vigilance is needed on journeys, during deliveries and collections as there are vulnerable road users around who are not aware of the dangers associated with vehicles and their actions are not predictable.

We urge employers to bring the following tips to the attention of their employees who drive for work. With school holidays and tourist season in full swing, now is a good time to remind staff of safe driving for work practice in summer.

By following simple tips before travelling and en-route, you will ensure your safety and the safety of your employees while driving for work.

Please bring these essential tips to the attention of your employees and your key business contacts to help them safely drive for work during the summer months.

Source: HSA.  Full details can be found here

RSA, HSA & Gardaí To Focus On Car Driving At Work

In the coming months, the RSA, HSA & An Garda Síochana will roll-out a series of activities to raise awareness among employers of driving for work responsibilities.  This programme will include a new Driving for Work ad campaignfact-sheets including Driving for Work My Responsibilities (aimed at employers) and Driving My Car for Work (aimed at employees).  In parallel, an online Driving for Work course will be launched in June with a revision of the 2009 Driving for Work Guidelines. Following this will be a series of morning seminars on Driving for Work in Cork, Dublin, Sligo and Galway, due to take place in October.

DriverFocus welcomes this very positive development which will further encourage employers to be proactive around road risk and help us all to get home safe at the end of the day

Source: RSA

Driverless Cars Are Coming

Almost two-thirds (65%) of motorists want to retain the right to drive even though driverless cars are coming, two new pieces of research findings released last week have shown.

IAM RoadSmart – formerly the Institute of Advanced Motorists – conducted an independent survey of 1,000 British motorists and a separate poll among its 92,000 members.

  • Driverless cars are coming
  • Humans and machines together deliver safety
  • 65 per cent of motorists believe the driver should remain in control
  • Will driving only be for pleasure in the future?
  • Are driver-designated roads the future for motorists?

Those 65 per cent of motorists believe that a human being should always be in control of the vehicle with 53 per cent saying that the focus should be on making drivers safer – not just cars.

Members of IAM RoadSmart welcome the hi-tech advances which are improving vehicle safety, but want to maintain their control of a car – even though autonomous technology will be able to do it for them.

Among the findings from the Opinium survey of motorists:

  • 65% thought that a human being should always be in charge of a vehicle
  • 20% thought that driverless cars were a ‘good idea’
  • 34% thought that driverless cars were a ‘bad idea’
  • 22% thought that driverless cars would ‘be the norm on UK roads’
  • 52% thought that driverless cars would never be the norm on UK roads
  • 16% thought that driverless cars are an ‘exciting prospect’

When told that 95% of accidents were down to ‘human error’ and that there was ‘a strong case for taking driver control out of the equation’:

  • 24% agreed with the proposition
  • 15% disagreed with the proposition
  • 60% said ‘wait and see’

When asked whether they would ‘consider using a driverless car’:

  • 32% said yes they would
  • 38% said no they would not
  • 29% said that they were unsure

In the poll conducted among IAM RoadSmart members:

  • 87% thought that once driverless cars are readily available driving should NOT be banned by law
  • 92% would welcome automated systems that stopped tailgating

Source: IAM Roadsmart

Employer Responsibility Highlighted In British Columbia

In 2016, Road Safety At Work Week, an annual event for British Columbia workplaces to improve awareness and adoption of effective road safety practices, is March 7 to 11. Each year, the week highlights a different aspect of workplace driving. 
This year, the focus is on helping employers, managers and supervisors better understand and deliver on their responsibilities to employees who drive for work.

Employers, supervisors and managers are also responsible whether their employees are driving their own vehicles or company vehicles. Most BC employers – 64 per cent – have employees who use their own vehicles for work purposes.

However, many employers believe it is an employee’s responsibility to ensure that their vehicles are maintained and in good working order even though they drive them for work. Only three quarters – 75 per cent – check to make sure their employees who drive have a valid licence. Less than a third – 31 per cent – check to make sure employee vehicles are in good working order.

Source / further info : Road Safety At Work website

April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month (USA)

In each issue of Focus on the Drive, National Safety Council Senior Transportation Program Manager Deborah Trombley tackles tough distracted driving questions:

"I attended the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show to see what's coming our way with mobile phones, car dashboards and potential distractions. New technologies are in every car sold today, and more are coming down the pipeline. While the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and University of Utah find voice features in dashboards can be distracting, these features were marketed as safe at CES. How do you make sense of this?"

Deborah points out that most of us have access to health information and, deep down, know that to be fact. We can make an informed choice whether to use or not use the unhealthy drinks and foods.

Unfortunately with hands-free and voice control features, most people are unaware of the distractions. According to an NSC poll, 80% of Americans still believe that hands-free devices are safer than handheld, and 53% believe that voice control features are safe because they're provided in vehicles. How can people make an educated choice when they don't know crucial safety information?

If drivers make wrong choices with cell phones and voice control features, they can seriously injure or kill themselves or someone else. So we owe it to people to share the safety information about these features.

You can find NSC resources at In April, our Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign will educate people through materials at

Sources / further info: NSC also and

Which Emotion Raises Your Crash Risk 10 Times?

Drivers increase their crash risk nearly tenfold when they get behind the wheel while observably angry, sad, crying, or emotionally agitated, according to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The article also reported that drivers more than double their crash risk when they choose to engage in distracting activities that require them to take their eyes off the road, such as using a handheld cell phone, reading or writing, or using touchscreen menus on a vehicle instrument pane. And, according to the institute’s research, drivers engage in some type of distracting activity more than 50 percent of the time they are driving.

“These findings are important because we see a younger population of drivers, particularly teens, who are more prone to engaging in distracting activities while driving,” said Tom Dingus, lead author of the study and director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. “Our analysis shows that, if we take no steps in the near future to limit the number of distracting activities in a vehicle, those who represent the next generation of drivers will only continue to be at greater risk of a crash.”

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers used results from the Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study, the largest light-vehicle naturalistic driving study ever conducted with more than 3,500 participants across six data collection sites in the United States.

The study represents the largest naturalistic crash database available to date, with more than 1,600 verified crash events ranging in severity from low, such as tire and curb strikes, to severe, including police-reportable crashes.

Transportation institute researchers considered 905 higher severity crashes involving injury or property damage in the data set and found that, overall, driver-related factors that include fatigue, error, impairment, and distraction were present in nearly 90 percent of the crashes.

“We have known for years that driver-related factors exist in a high percentage of crashes, but this is the first time we have been able to definitively determine – using high-severity, crash-only events that total more than 900 – the extent to which such factors do contribute to crashes,” Dingus said.

Travelling well above the speed limit creates about 13 times the risk, and driver performance errors such as sudden or improper braking or being unfamiliar with a vehicle or roadway have an impact on individual risk.

Source: Virgina Tech

Business Drivers Remain At High risk

Company drivers who drive more than 80% of their annual mileage on work related journeys are 50% more likely to have an accident than similar drivers who do no work related mileage.

About 300 people are killed each year as a result of drivers falling asleep at the wheel. About 4 in 10 tiredness-related crashes involve someone driving a commercial vehicle.

The annual risk of dying in a road accident while driving for business reasons is significantly greater than the risk of dying as a result of all other workplace accidents.

Business drivers have collision rates that are 30-40% higher than those of private drivers.

Employers have a legal duty to have a Driving for Work policy for their employees.

There is a strong business case for managing employees who drive for work. Businesses which do so see a significant reduction in risk, save considerably on cost.

Lear more about the research behind these facts at The Road Safety Observatory

Source:  Roadsafe

Report Confirms Danger of 'Multi-tasking' While Driving

A new report published on 20 Nov confirms the dangers of ‘multi-tasking’ while driving, and identifies texting and talking on a mobile phone as the ‘most dangerous of driving multi-tasks’.

‘The Battle For Attention’, jointly produced by Dr Neale Kinnear and Dr Alan Stevens from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), and Neil Greig from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), has been published.
New report confirms dangers of 'multi-tasking' while driving

Dr Kinnear, who is a principal psychologist in the study of human behaviour and transport, and Dr Stevens, who is chief scientist and research director with internationally recognised expertise in ‘Human-Machine Interaction’, both reviewed existing research behind in-car distractions to understand the various cognitive processes and complexities in driving.

Their research focuses on the dangers involved when drivers try and engage in more than one task, with results confirming it can have a ‘detrimental’ effect on the quality and accuracy of driving performance.

Looking at the five key areas of distraction - cognitive, visual, auditory, manual and exposure time - the research shows that texting engages three of these to a ‘high’ level – cognitive, visual and manual. A mobile phone conversation also engages three of five areas of distraction to a ‘high’ level – cognitive, audible and exposure time. The report examines the risk rating of the key areas of distraction individually and combined using a risk assessment approach.

The research also found that eating and smoking while driving result in a high level of manual distraction, and that external signage and roadside advertising can create high levels of visual distraction.

While sat-navs are not highly distracting, they do provide a medium level of cognitive and visual distraction, and exposure time.

The report concludes: “Research has confirmed that tasks almost always interfere with other tasks carried out at the same time. The brain never actually focuses on two tasks at the same time – it switches back and forward between them.

“As driving is so complex and requires various cognitive processes, taking on another task when driving can mean a driver is unable to pay sufficient attention to all the activities required for safe driving. This can lead to a processing failure resulting in a loss of control, putting the driver and other road users in physical danger.”

Source: IAM

Grey Fleet Described As "A Ticking Time Bomb"

Road risk should be a priority for employers, with more than a third (39%) of work-related deaths in the EU occurring on the road. In the UK that equates to an average of 11 at-work drivers killed every week yet DriverFocus and other visitors to Fleet Management Live on October 6th, heard some businesses are failing to get to grips with the issue, which is costing them an estimated £2.7 billion a year. According to the road safety charity Brake, a third (32%) of employers don't enforce the same maintenance checks and safety policies they employ with company vehicles, with the grey fleet (employees driving their own vehicles for company business). According to Brake officials, if an employer is going to allow employees to drive their own car on business, a good grey fleet policy has to be applied. It should specify a minimum NCAP safety rating or emissions level for cars driven on business, while insisting on regular checks of vehicle documents, driver's license and insurance.

Source:  Fleet News UK

Car Insurance Premiums To Go Up Another 25%

The CEO of Insurance Ireland, which represents the majority of domestic and international based insurance companies, has warned that motorists can expect to be see increases of around 25% next year - adding €300 per year to 2014 comprehensive policies.

Kevin Thompson denied that mismanagement across the motor insurance sector was to blame for the price spikes.

Increased claims, underwriting losses and the closure of some insurance companies are blamed for the coming rise.

Source: The Irish Times

Fleet Safety Award Winner ABB Features In Guardian

ABB Limited won at the 2013 UK Fleet Safety Awards having worked with DriverFocus to survey all its drivers and assess their risk of collision. Those deemed a medium-to-high risk were given a one-to-one session with a professional advanced driver, followed by guidance on key areas where they could improve.

Mark Sage, Country Sustainability Manager at ABB Ltd, says: “The Safe Driving for Work Programme is tied into an online platform where managers can see how their drivers have performed, their licensing credentials, and what online courses they’ve completed. “Since its inception in 2009, the programme has seen a reduction in motor claim costs of over 50%.”.

Source: Guardian UK

Business plays ‘critical role’ in keeping roads safe

Employers across Ireland have been urged to make road safety a ‘critical part’ of their business plans at a European conference organised by the European Transport Safety Council, the Road Safety Authority, the Health and Safety Authority and Garda Síochána.

Addressing the conference at Croke Park, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr. Paschal Donohoe said:
“Employers play a critical role in keeping our roads safe. They also have legal responsibilities to provide staff with a safe working environment, both in the office and on the road. This means ensuring employees who drive as part of their work, are equipped with the skills and training to make them safer drivers.
“Companies that do this really see the benefits, including reduced insurance premiums, lower fuel costs, less absenteeism, greater staff satisfaction and most importantly, safe employees. I would urge every employer, regardless of how big or small your staff numbers, to put in place safe driving for work policies as a matter of urgency.”

A report published last month by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) found that Ireland was one of 12 EU member states that reported a rise in road deaths last year.

Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of ETSC said:
“2014 was a bad year for road safety. The figures demonstrate that no country can rest on its laurels: we need constant vigilance and policies that evolve to tackle new challenges.

“Ireland has been a road safety champion, having cut annual deaths in half since 2001, but more effort will be needed to make sure deaths continue to decline in the long term.

“Road crashes are the biggest cause of death at work, and one in three collisions is work-related – so clearly businesses, large and small, have an important role to play. We welcome the efforts made by organisations in Ireland to improve road safety as well as the commitment of the Road Safety Authority and the Health and Safety Authority to helping businesses tackle the issue.”

Ms. Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority speaking at the conference said:
“There are clear signs this year that the economy is beginning to pick up, and this is particularly obvious in the increased number of vehicles on our roads. However, with more vehicles comes a greater risk of collisions. Driving is one of the most dangerous activities we engage in on a daily basis. As individuals, we need to take responsibility for how we use the roads – but employers also have a critical role to play in protecting their staff who drive for work. So if you employ two people or 500 people and some of your staff drive as part of their job, you have a responsibility to provide them with a safe working environment, both in the office and on the road. Making road safety a core part of your business not only reduces the risk of death and injury to your staff, it also protects you and your reputation, makes good business sense and ultimately benefits the bottom line.”

Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive, Health and Safety Authority said: 
“Businesses often cite cost and time as the main barriers to implementing driving for work policies and procedures for their employees. Yet we know that every year, up to a third of all collisions on our roads may involve someone who drives as part of their job. It is an employer’s legal responsibility to manage risks that employees face and create in the course of driving for work. Business owners, managers and supervisors need to understand how managing these risks will not only benefit their employees and other road users, but also benefit the bottom line through cost savings.”

Superintendent Con O’Donohue, An Garda Síochána, spoke at the conference about driving for work from a policing perspective, “Last year, we estimate that as 23% of injury collisions on our roads involved someone who was working. This is particularly worrying for An Garda Síochána and all of the agencies working in road safety.

 He added, “Employers and employees need to be mindful of their legal duty of care and this extends to any journey undertaken as part of work.  I urge employers to ensure safe driving for work practices amongst their employees and not to put employees under pressure to meet deadlines or demands, or take or make calls while driving, all of which would result in increased risk to the employee and other road users.”


ETSC - Driving for Work Risk Management - 'Making the Business Case' Event

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), together with the Health and Safety Authority, The Road Safety Authority and Garda Síochána, have the pleasure of inviting you to a seminar on work-related road safety to be held in Dublin on 2 July.

The seminar will focus on the key issues affecting Irish employers in fleet and road-related risk management, and will feature experts from Ireland and across Europe.

Further information and to register, click here for ETSC