Indepth Training Advice

Fleet Driver Training.

Fleet Driver Training offered by Dragon Driver Training is for employers, managers or supervisors whose employees drive vehicles in class B classification.

Driving for work.
The classification under EU law for driving for work is any person who drives on a road as part of their work in a company vehicle or their own vehicle receiving an allowance from their employer for miles driven (except driving to and from work).
Driving for work not only involves a risk for the driver, but also for fellow workers, members of the public like pedestrians and other road users. By law you as an employer or self-employed person you must manage the risks that can arise when employees drive on roads for work. Statistics show that the rates of road collisions are higher for persons who drive for work. A recent RSA/HAS report showed that in one pilot area that worked related road deaths from collisions was double that from other causes. Also that one third of all fatal road collisions involved a driver who was at work at the time.

The following statistics taken from the RSA between 1997 and 2007 show that 266 people were killed and 443 were seriously injured in collisions involving at least one vehicle in which someone was either travelling to and from work or driving for work. Statistics show that people who drive for work have 30% to 40% more collisions than ordinary drivers. Also risks increase for those when they drive over 40,000 Kilometres a year. It was found in a research survey done by the Health and Safety Authority that there was a lack of awareness among employers that they must manage work related driving activities.

Classification of jobs involving driving.
Workers who drive for work would be drivers of HGVs, LGVs, bus, coach, taxi drivers, utility company employees, sales and marketing staff, emergency services, social and health workers, local authority staff, couriers and delivery staff, most enforcement staff, garage mechanics, construction workers etc. Any employee who needs a vehicle to conduct his work or to travel from one point to another excluding travelling to office to conduct his conditions of work (to travel to various places of work)

Road Safety Law.
The driver may be responsible for how they conduct their driving, however the employer must take a key role in managing and influencing their drivers, the use of vehicles and the planning of journeys to increase safety when driving for work. This is a shared responsibility between employer and employee.
There are three types of law that apply to driving for work in Ireland a)Road Traffic Law, b) Health and Safety Law, c) EU rules on driving time.
Road Traffic Law.
This comes under the Road Traffic Act 1962, plus amendments. The Gardai enforce this law and investigate all road related incidents involving injury and fatalities. This in work related incidents may be conducted in conjunction with the Health and Safety Authority.

Health and Safety law.
The legislation that applied to general driving for work is the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, with associated regulations, such as dangerous goods transport by road. Under the act the employer has a duty to protect the health and safety of employees who drive for work. These obligations are listed and defined below.

Duty of Care.
The employer has a duty to provide a safe place of work for employees regardless of the size or type of business. Under the Safety, Health and Welfare Act, a vehicle is defined as a place of work. Therefore it is the duty of the employer to ensure work related journeys are safe, that members of staff are able to drive safely, and all vehicles and vehicle equipment for fit for purpose. Duty of care also includes care of others where they are affected by the employees work activity, those being other road users and pedestrians.

Safe systems of work.
Employers must put in place standard operation procedures or systems of work, that document safe procedures of work to secure loads, identify hazards, and assess the risks to employee safety. And put in procedures with adequate control that minimise or avoid risk.
Carrying out risk assessment should identify hazards and assess the risks associated with driving for work. Proper control measures would be required to prevent or reduce the risk factors.

Information, instruction and training.
The employer should give employees full proper information and training to protect their health, safety and welfare, this is inclusive of employees who drive for work.

Liability of Company Directors.
Company directors are liable for the safety of their employees. Under Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, directors may be prosecuted following a work related road collision if it proven that they have not managed safety properly. Convictions under this Act could get employers up to €3million and/or 2 years in prison. There is also possibility of Corporate Manslaughter under EU law.

EU rules on driving

These rules stipulate that employees should not drive under conditions that are unsafe or that may create an unsafe environment. This means that drivers must obey rules on driving times, breaks and rest periods. That the vehicles used are roadworthy and fit for purpose at all times. Drivers should never have pressure put on them to complete journeys in a shorter time than safely recommended or use any vehicle that is not roadworthy or fit for purpose. The employer must not enter into any form of contract that dictates schedules that may put driver safety at risk or any other road user. Further information can be found at
Notifications of Road Collisions.
Employers must notify the Health and Safety Authority if an employee is killed, injured or suffered a condition as a result of driving or riding in a vehicle for work, exposure to a substance or injury from an article being carried by a work vehicle, the activities of another person who was involved in loading or unloading any article or substance onto or off a vehicle at the time of the collision, the employers own activities or those of another person who was at the time of the collision taking part in work on or alongside a road, involving the construction , demolition, changing , repair or maintenance of the road or any road markings or equipment, the verges fences, hedges, or other boundaries of the road, pipes or cables on, under, over or next to the road, or buildings or structures next to or above the road.

The importance of Managing Driving for Work.
It is important for the well-being of employees and of course makes sound business sense as it protects the employer, employees and profits!

The financial cost of work related road conditions.
Some employers believe that most work related road incident costs are covered by insurance. Most insurance premiums do not cover the full costs. On average for every €1 claimed on insurance companies can pay a further €10 to €40 themselves an average for uninsured losses arising from such incidents.

The management of risk associated with driving for work and adopting good driving for work policies for a company is not met then costs could escalate in areas like sick pay, replacement staff, downtime, management and admin costs, replacement of damaged goods, property and vehicles, damage to corporate identity and customer service, legal fees, increased insurance costs, production losses and third party claims to name but a few.

What are the benefits of managing Driving for work?
Not only work business costs be reduced, but the business will become more efficient by the reduction of time wasted on rescheduling and vehicle downtime along with vehicle running costs. The enhanced protection of employees and other road users by reducing the number of work related injuries. Reduced disruptions and damage to corporate identity strengthen legal defence through documented procedures and protecting the company by obeying the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act and the Rules of the Road.
Many work related collisions involving vehicles can be prevented by managing risks and identifying hazards.

The management of Driving for Work.
This should be a core part of company policy in Health and Safety Management irrespective of size of a company. There are 3 keys areas to be looked at The Driver, The Vehicle and The Journey Plan.

The Main Steps for developing your policy.

  1. Develop a driving for work policy outlining the aims of the policy, showing that management is committed, be aware of current driving for work legislation, and explain in a planned and controlled manner the three key elements of driving for work –the driver, the vehicle and the journey plan. Show all the resources required. The key role for this would be a senior management position. The job description should explain the role and have authority to push policy procedure through the system and make sure employees put into practice procedures, if not strict disciplinary procedures will be taken that could lead to dismissal. The importance of role listing and assessing the risks Driving For Work and drawing up the proper control measures. There should be good lines of communication between Fleet Manager, Health and Safety Manager and the Purchasing Manager.
  2. Putting in practice the defining job descriptions and responsibilities, thus giving correct control measures. The setting up of documented control systems to ensure drivers and managers have the right skills and controlled training procedures so responsibilities are and clear and adhered to. The importance of communication between employees and customers so that all are aware there will be no compromise in standards or rules in adhering to policy. The stopping of bad practice such as overloading vehicles, breaking rules on driver hours, and using all types of un-roadworthy equipment and vehicles. The strict adherence of the correct recording of vehicle maintenance and inspection, driver hours, working time, and reviewing of driving licences. The setting up of safe systems of work so that records are kept of driving classification, details of collisions, record of traveling distances each year, record of assessments and any refresher courses taken on specific vehicles. Recorded systems that the driver regularly checks that his vehicle is fit for purpose and adheres to any maintenance or legal testing services.

The Risk Factors

Documented systems should be set up clearly depicting the safe systems of working practice and highlighting the risk factors of Driver Fatigue, Driver Authorisation, Driver Licence Checks, distraction of ancillary products like mobile phones and GPS, Carrying of Passengers, Speeding and the effects of, Drugs and Alcohol misuse, Completing and updating of daily vehicle checks, Vehicle breakdown procedure, hiring of vehicles, correct recording of vehicle maintenance, emergency procedures for breakdown and incidents, Strict procedures for securing of vehicle loads, Strict procedures for security of the vehicle, Procedures and classification of towing for specific vehicles, Correct use of safety equipment in the vehicle. Road procedures on reversing, parking, collisions and near misses. The importance of personal safety and correct use of protective equipment, procedures on working alone, handling of vehicles in adverse weather conditions, Correct procedures for loading, unloading, uncoupling and coupling vehicles, The use of specialised equipment like attached lifting equipment, The correct procedure for refuelling, The contractual use of agency and contract drivers, Human Resource procedures on recruitment, driver evaluation and performance.

Measuring Performance

Is the company meeting the standards required by the Driving For Work legislation. What controls are in place to monitor successes and failures, so praise or correction can take place?

Monitoring can take place by analysing incident reports, reviewing driver licences on a regular basis for entries such as penalty points or out of date driver classification, also encourage gentleman agreements on notifying management of any change in driver related health problems or offences that may have occurred after a review. The importance of vehicle tracking devices and data recording for better management of route planning and travel time. Regular health checks etc.

It is good practice to keep historical records of Driver performance, health and vehicle checks along with near misses and all types collisions so that in serious cases historical records will help to see if there was a possibility of corrective action that may have been missed for future training purposes.

All driving programmes should be reviewed statistically on a moving monthly basis so that either improvement can be made or certain phenomena can be tracked and corrected at an early stage if possible.

The Safety Factor must be part of a company culture giving a measured, managed, conscious process to team effort relating to identify cause and then correcting constructively and be viewed as important as profit.
What is Risk Assessment?

The company identifies all hazards deciding and assessing the risks that these hazards may pose to the employees’ health and safety. Thus taking what necessary action is needed to prevent or reduce this risk. When carrying out risk assessment this will allow the company to examine anything the workplace that could potentially be of harm to the employee. By measuring the level of risk the company can decide if it is acceptable or whether preventative action should be taken like warning signs to prevent or lessen the risk of harm. All risk assessments must be documented and be assessed by an appointed person who has all the necessary skills and qualifications to carry out the assessment. Therefore best practice in managing driving for work takes place.
What is the difference between a hazard and a risk?

A hazard is anything that can cause harm in terms of injury or ill-health to a person, damage to property, damage to the environment or a combination of all of the above.

A risk is the likelihood that a collision may occur if the hazard is not dealt with. The level of risk depends on the severity of the harm that will be suffered if the proper procedures are not put into place to deal with the hazard.

Steps to carrying out a Driving for Work assessment

Firstly you would list all the types of vehicle that the company uses, including the employee’s own vehicle if used for work. Then you would identify the journeys the drivers are carrying out like short or long distance predominantly, frequency of driving, what routes are used, local, and national or motorways. Is the driving urban, city, town or country, predominately daytime or night-time? Also what is the purpose of the journey and can it be avoided. Is the journey to a meeting, an emergency response, delivery, sales etc.?

Look at the hazards associated with the three elements of driving for work. a) The driver, b) the vehicle and c) the journey. The possible hazards that of the driver would include age, experience, training, mental ability and skills, stress/fatigue, health, fitness and use of drugs and alcohol.

The vehicle its road-worthiness, distractions such as ancillary equipment like mobile phone, the drivers familiarity and training on the vehicle, the restrictions that come with the vehicle like loading, the condition of the vehicle and the vehicle safety restrictions.

The journey, what possible hazards could include road types, distances, and time allocated to driving, the actual time of travel including the high risk hours like mornings, evenings, dusk, weather conditions, speed limits, road conditions and driver’s familiarity with route.  It is important to involve employees, drivers and safety representatives in the assessment as they will have first-hand experience of what really happens in practice.

In deciding these risk factors consideration should be taken for passengers and other road users. There would be greater risk with young or newly qualified drivers, particularly where long distances are involved.

Have you built in factors for vehicle crash or breakdown, falling asleep at the wheel, the influence of alcohol or drugs; correct loading of vehicle and loads falling off, the distraction of ancillaries in the vehicle? How much pressure is the driver put under for traffic congestion, road works and other instances that effect journey time and put the driver under greater pressure?
Assessing the risk factors.

Look at what measures are in place at the moment and can they be improved on to prevent an incident happening. For instance can the risk be avoided by the journey being avoided and video conferencing be used or taking public transport. Lessen the risk by the use high quality and accessible safety equipment, use vehicles with the highest Euro NCAP rating. Make sure the vehicles and any trailers are fully serviced, in good condition and roadworthy. Ensure the work is adapted to the employee. Don’t create situations where employees feel under pressure to get to a destination. Give adequate time and planning to reach the destination, returning safely. Ensure that the Rules of the Road are obeyed; driving times, breaks, rest periods and related activities encourage the driver to obey the rules. Ensure all vehicles meet the required safety standards or replace them immediately. All drivers must attend instruction and training courses related to that vehicle and have a certificate of competence before they can you use the vehicle as it is their place of work. The driver must have the correct licence class for the vehicle; adhere to company policy and safe systems of work. That all documentation is correct and up to date before the vehicle leaves the premises for that particular journey. Provide the necessary safety equipment to protect employees ensuring that employees using bicycles or motorcycles have the highest quality of protective clothing and equipment. That all employees that are road users have high-visibility jackets or vests, correct footwear etc. and that there is easy access to all equipment and that it is maintained, serviced and replaced when required. Access to all safety equipment must at all times be accessible within the vehicle.

The recording of any findings

It is of great asset if all finding are recorded and documented. So all risk assessments should recorded showing any weaknesses in any control measures, drawing up a plan of action to prioritise and put in to place an improved controlled measure. Employees must be informed of findings and be updated on new procedures and changes.


All risk assessments must be reviewed on a regular basis. Risk assessments must be carried out for driving tasks ranging from travelling to meetings to delivering goods. The employee should have the right knowledge and training to carry out their own risk assessment before starting a journey. For example the vehicle check list.

Dealing with Driver Fatigue.

One in Ten of all drivers surveyed have admitted to nodding off or falling asleep while driving. Over half of Irish Drivers approx…53% attempt to fight tiredness through ineffective means such as opening windows.  Driver fatigue is one cause of work-related road collisions and a factor that all driver employees should take into account when assessing their ability to drive and the risk of having an incident. In cases of extreme tiredness a driver can fall asleep at the wheel. It is the responsibility of management to ensure drivers receive proper rest before they start work and they do not become too tired during their driving duties. Tiredness can be caused by not having enough rest both before and during a journey, spending too long hours driving without breaks, driving at night, having rests in unfamiliar surroundings, experiencing vehicle vibration and putting up with uncomfortable driving positions and seating.

Driver fatigue can be dealt with by planning schedules so that drivers can sleep and when they best need to for example at night. That there is enough time built into time schedules to allow for delays and incidents. Allowing drivers to make up for the regular lack of sleep by taking breaks between schedules, regulating shifts long shifts on one day allowing a longer resting period by giving a shorter shift the next day or a later start. Also planning eating, break rests, travelling to and from work and general family life.
In conclusion.

When evaluating Driving for Work Policy. The three key areas are the Driver, the Vehicle and the Journey.

The driver. You must take into account Driver Competency as the RSA Road Collision Fact Book 2007 states that driver error was a factor in over 82% of fatal collisions. So the driver must have the relevant experience, a valid driving licence, is aware of company policy for driving for work and meets the required standards for the job. The driver should be familiar the vehicle, its equipment taking into account trailers, lifting equipment, and any control mechanisms. They have the ability to accept training and assessment taking into account work safety, particularly if at risk. The driver must have received and understood how to use all safety equipment and respond to crisis such as collision, is familiar with their vehicle, its features and up to standard on road safety.

The health and fitness of the driver is checked regularly. Particularly when he signs in for work the he is safe to drive and is not putting himself and others at risk.

The Vehicle

Its suitability it meets all the legal requirements for example has a valid NCT certificate and Insurance for its class. The vehicle is regularly serviced as per the manufacturer’s instructions. The driver has easy access to all the safety critical information of the vehicle. The vehicle offers the best ergonomic factors for driver comfort and safety.

The Journey

The journeys for work should be evaluated taking in to account the following factors. Route planning so the safest and more suitable is taken, looking at factors such a motorways, bridges, tunnels overhead restrictions, peak traffic flows  and level crossings. The scheduling of the journey allows for the correct rest breaks, allows for possible delays, taking into account the standard and experience of the driver. Journey planning should take into account seasonal weather conditions and company policy on bad weather conditions.

All good journey plans should evaluated with the following questions. Can the journey be avoided, Stays overnight, shared journeys, the control and checking of driver hours and control and checking of speeds and distances drivers travel.

The two major benefits to the overall community of safe driving is a)Reducing the chance of road collisions protecting employees safety and preventing risk of injury or death, thus reducing significant costs from trauma, sickness, bereavement and dependency leave. b) Showing commitment to Corporate social Responsibility this protecting lives in the community, thus improving public image.