Employers are urged to ensure their fleet cover is robust enough in light of tough new sentencing guidelines.

Employers are urged to ensure their fleet cover is robust enough in light of tough new sentencing guidelines. The new guidelines, which came into effect on 1st February, usher in substantially higher fines for corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences. Courts now have the authority to fine companies up to £20 million for corporate manslaughter, and up to £10 million for health and safety breaches. And, for companies with motor fleets, each driver on the road represents the possibility of your business being hit with a huge fine under the new guidelines. Therefore, employers with fleets should review their cover to ensure their policy limits can cover the new fine amounts.

While these new guidelines affect all businesses, they could potentially have a greater impact on businesses with fleets: Business drivers have collision rates that are 30-40 per cent higher than those of private drivers, according to Driving for Better Business. Those higher collision rates, coupled with higher fines, means that companies with fleets or that allow their employees to drive personal vehicles for work could be held responsible for accidents and subsequently served with a crippling fine.

To ensure that your business can protect drivers and handle higher fines, follow this guidance:

  • Develop a safe driver programme. This should include skills such as defensive driving and how to safely drive in inclement weather. In addition, all drivers should attend the programme annually.
  • Have each of your vehicles serviced at least every 10,000 kilometres. This ensures that your employees will be safe behind the wheel and it prolongs the life of the vehicle. In addition, keep detailed records of any work that has been done to a vehicle.
  • If your company permits your employees to drive their own vehicle for work purposes, make sure that employees’ vehicles meet specific safety requirements before they are allowed to begin driving.

Contact Willis Insurance and Risk Management to identify gaps in your motor fleet insurance cover and learn best practices for keeping your motor fleet safe and compliant. As one of the leading insurance brokers in Northern Ireland and the only broker to employ its own internal Accident Investigation Services division with eight staff, we are best placed to advise on your needs.

You may also wish to consider a Claims Audit to see how we can assist in reducing your premiums. To find out more about his service click here

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