Deaths while driving for work cost the UK more than £1.6bn. MPs of all parties are today (14 January 2009) backing a road safety initiative launched by the occupational driver training division of the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) to cut this cost by reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on UK roads.

By completing an IAM Driver Risk Management (DRM) programme to assess and improve their driving, MPs will be setting an example for businesses of all sizes to manage the risks associated with their employees who drive for work.

IAM Fleet Managing Director Seb Goldin said: “Around a third of all road accidents involve people driving for work, and for every death, there is an associated cost to the economy which can total billions of pounds each year. This is not acceptable and is why we are asking MPs to take the lead in reducing the alarming road death rate.”

MPs will conduct an IAM online risk assessment of their driving at the launch event – the vital first step of a DRM programme which identifies aspects of an individual’s driving that need development. From this, a risk rating determines further training needs, ranging from e-learning to personal on-road training to improve driving skills.

IAM training focuses on risk avoidance as well as improving fuel economy, or a combination of the two. Safer driving techniques can lead to more fuel efficient driving and contribute to lowering CO2 emissions.

Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick is concerned that people who drive for work are over-represented in road casualty figures.

“Managing driving for work is as much common sense as running any other part of a business – training and planning of all aspects of operations go a long way to bringing avoidable costs under control.

“In creating a work-related road safety ethos as part of their existing health and safety policies, employers not only make savings that can be delivered straight to their bottom lines – they also save lives, playing their part in cutting the number of needless tragedies that take place on our roads every day,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.

The need for employers to demonstrate their duty of care is underpinned by the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 which came into force in April 2008.

Mr Goldin added, “Recent changes to legislation should encourage employers to check whether their company’s systems and processes for managing health and safety are adequate. Driver training is an essential part of this.

“MPs have taken the lead in demonstrating their duty of care as an employer in their local constituencies by offering this driving assessment to their staff.

“Driver training brings significant employee safety improvements and quantifiable financial benefits, making it a self-funding investment.”