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What is road risk assessment?
Road risk assessment applies the standard risk assessment approach to the many hazards associated with driving for work, including journey length, allowing enough time for the journey, arrangements to take a break, driving posture, route choice and thinking of alternatives to driving.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has played a key role in encouraging employers to take a 'risk management' approach to occupational road risk. It recommends the following three key steps:
Step 1: Audit vehicle usage, accidents and their cost
Employers should audit the following information:
- the number of vans, lorries, and essential or casual car users;
- journeys – the current mileage by types of vehicle and the length of journeys;
- the date, time and place of accidents, and the severity of injuries sustained; and
- the annual cost of insurance, repairs and absences from work following road accidents.
Step 2: Carry out a risk assessment
In occupational safety, a hazard is something that has the potential to cause harm. Risk is the likelihood that harm will arise from a hazard. RoSPA recommends using a scoring system to highlight issues of highest concern.
Step 3: Introduce safety and control measures
Many of these ideas are also sound advice for the individual driver:
- Eliminate unnecessary journeys and consider alternative means of communication.
- Change the mode of transport, e.g. take the train, then a bus or taxi.
- Avoid driving in adverse conditions, e.g. at night, or in poor weather.
- Reduce distances – set maximum driving distances (e.g. per day, per week or per year).
- Control drivers' hours. Set upper limits for driving hours each day, week and month.
- Specify the safest routes.
- Specify safer vehicles.
- Set driver capability standards, e.g. by requiring drivers to pass an advanced driving test paid for by the employer.
- Require regular eyesight tests. The legal visual standard for a car or motorbike driver is to be able to read a number plate at 20.5 metres, with glasses if worn.
- Set clear policies on use of alcohol and other substances.
- Prohibit the use of mobile phones, including hands-free sets, while on the move.