Safe Driving for Work

30 Sep

As a driver, you must play your part by making sure that you
are fit to carry out your driving duties. You should plan your
journeys safely and obey occupational health and safety, and
road traffic laws when driving for work. You also need to
understand and follow your employer’s driving for work
policies, procedures and rules.

Driver Training
Drivers should consider maintaining their skill and knowledge
by undergoing regular refresher training. Your employer may
have specific vehicle familiarisation or refresher training
procedures in place. When required to drive a vehicle with
which you are not familiar take time to inform yourself on the
safe operation of that vehicle type before going on any

Driver Qualification and Authorization

As part of driving for work policy and procedures, you should be
authorized to drive for work by your employer and you should
submit the following documentation to your employer to verify
that you are suitably qualified and authorised to drive:-

 Valid driving licence for the category of vehicle
 Driving licence endorsements or penalties
 Proof of insurance and type of use
 Details of any medical conditions related to driving

Knowledge of rules of the road

You must have a satisfactory knowledge of the rules of the road
to get a driving licence, but learning about road safety does not
stop once you pass your test. Drivers must regularly update
themselves on road safety rules. It is recommended that drivers
refresh their understanding of the rules of the road at least once
a year by visiting 

Fitness to Drive

You should report to work fit for all work activities including
driving duties. If you are not fit for work, it is your responsibility
to inform your manager.
Your physical health, psychological and emotional state and
your general attitude towards driving play a major part in your
fitness to drive. You should inform your employer about any
health issue or personal circumstances that may affect your
driving (your employer may require this).

It is important to remember that your fitness to drive can be
negatively affected by:

 Drugs [over the counter, prescription or illicit]
 Temporary illness
 A medical condition
 Daily stress events


Fatigue is a major contributory cause of fatal and serious injury
vehicle collisions and incidents.

Thousands of crashes are caused by tired drivers. They are usually
severe because a sleeping driver cannot brake or take avoidance
action, so the impact generally occurs at high speed. Fatigue
related collisions often result in very serious injuries or death.

You are most likely to feel sleepy when driving:.
 On long journeys on monotonous roads
 Between 2am and 6am
 Between 2pm and 4pm
 After having less sleep than normal
 After drinking alcohol
 After taking medicines which cause drowsiness
 On journeys home after night shifts
 On journeys after a very long working day.

Measures to tackle driver fatigue

Most, if not all, of the risk could be avoided by awareness and
planning. You can counteract fatigue in a number of ways.

Common conditions, such as colds, flu, migraine, stomach
upsets, hay fever, etc. can affect your ability to drive safely. For
example, the symptoms of a cold (headache, blocked sinuses,
sneezing, and tiredness) if severe enough can impair your
concentration, reactions and judgment.

Drivers can be tempted to ‘soldier’ on, when it would be safer,
not to drive until they are feeling better.

If you start to feel ill while driving, stop the vehicle somewhere
safe. If the condition is not serious, you may feel well enough to
continue after a short break, a warm drink or taking some

But if you find your concentration is affected, then you should
make other arrangements to continue your journey.

If you think that you are unfit to drive for any reason, do not drive. Contact your line manager to explain and allow alternative arrangements to be made.


You should have your eyes tested regularly. Have them examined
at least every 2 years or as advised by an optometrist or a
qualified dispensing optician. If you do have to wear glasses for
driving, make sure to always wear them when driving and keep
the lenses clean and scratch free. Carry a spare pair in your car.

Carry a pair of sunglasses in your vehicle [even in the winter] in
case they are needed.

Alcohol and Drugs

The consumption of alcohol or drugs (including prescription drugs) impairs judgment, makes drivers over-confident, and makes drivers likely to take risks. It slows reactions, increases stopping distances, affects judgment of speed and distance, and reduces the field of vision. Even a small amount of alcohol, well
below the legal limit, can seriously affect your ability to drive safely.

Drink and drug drivers kill and injure many people every year. The
legal drink drive limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. For specified drivers there is a lower limit of 20mg per 100 ml of blood. Specified drivers include learner or novice drivers, commercial and professional drivers.

Drivers who have consumed alcohol may focus more on tasks such as gear changes and take too long to make vital decisions and may miss hazards such as pedestrians on the roads.

It is almost impossible to be sure how many units you have consumed because the alcoholic strength of drinks varies enormously, as does the size of measures. It is difficult to know the alcoholic strength of a drink without seeing the bottle. Drinks poured at home are usually larger than ones bought in a pub or restaurant. The only safe option is to avoid drinking alcohol in the hours before you will be driving (for example, at lunchtime). Never rely on trying to calculate accurately how much alcohol is in your body, and whether you are above or below the drink drive limit.


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