Friday, 26 September 2008 12:00 AM
RoadSafe has urged companies to be more responsible as new Government figures indicate that work-related road accidents have increased.
Data contained in the Department for Transport's newly published 'Road Casualty Statistics Great Britain: 2007 Annual Report' reveals that at least 27.1 per cent of the 334,966 vehicles involved in crashes were being driven either on a work-related journey or on a commute.
That compares with 26.7 per cent of the 348,059 vehicles in 2006. Although a total of 90,877 vehicles last year were identified as being driven on a business trip or a commute when they were involved in a crash - compared with 93,240 in 2006 - the reduction is significantly lower than in relation to the total number of vehicles involved in crashes, hence the percentage increase.
And, with the figures including 239,930 vehicles for which the journey purpose was not identified by the police when investigating the crash - 250,470 in 2006 - RoadSafe believes there is a significant under reporting of the actual number of work journey related vehicles in the official figures.
The data highlights that 55,176 cars were involved in a crash last year while being driven on a work-related journey or a commute. The equivalent figure for light goods vehicles was 8,484.
However, with more than 6,000 'undefined' journeys the likelihood is that almost all van crashes were work-related resulting in a substantial cost to business.
The 'journey purpose' figures are buried beneath headline road casualty figures that reveal 247,780 people were killed or injured in road crashes last year, 4 per cent fewer than in 2006.
A total of 217,060 people were slightly injured in road crashes last year (down 4 per cent), 27,774 people were seriously injured (down 3 per cent) and 2,946 people killed (down 7 per cent).
RoadSafe director Adrian Walsh said: "The fact that fewer people were killed and injured on Britain's roads last year than in 2006 is to be welcomed along with the fact that 14,000 fewer bicycles, motorbikes, cars, vans, HGVs and buses/coaches were involved in crashes.
"However, analyse the data in detail and the number of vehicles on business journeys or commutes to and from work remains alarmingly high."
In a bid to reduce the 200 road deaths and serious injuries a week resulting from crashes involving at-work drivers, RoadSafe is leading the Government backed 'Driving for Better Business' programme.
Mr Walsh added: "Through our Driving for Better Business programme we work with many leading companies to take a business message to organisations that by investing in good management of a company's road risk there can be substantial financial and social benefit.
"Road crashes have a severe impact on business efficiency. They are not only extremely costly in pure financial terms, but the knock-on effect in terms of meetings being cancelled, appointments and deliveries being late and staff being off work is significant. In addition, the company and its directors/managers could be the subject of a police investigation.
"It is imperative that more companies focus on implementing comprehensive occupational road risk management strategies to safeguard the welfare of their employees and prevent potential legal action against the business that could be hugely damaging both financially and in terms of publicity."