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Mobility & Transport - Road Safety

Policy frameworks



Policy frameworks


National and international

National approaches to work-related road safety vary in form and coverage from one country to the next. Work-related road safety can fall within the framework of road traffic law, health and safety legislation and policies for the asset and quality management of road transport.

The policy tools in use include collecting data, research, legislation, national guidance to employers, stipulating safety demands in transport contracts, leading by example with safe fleet policies and encouraging effective delivery partnerships.

In Europe, most attention to work-related road safety within road traffic law has been to regulate large commercial and passenger road transport operations and the carriage of dangerous goods. Various initiatives have been taken at EU level e.g. EU driving and rest period rules, Transport of dangerous goods by road, Checks on the transport of dangerous goods by road, Safety adviser for the transport of dangerous goods. A strategy exists on occupational safety 'Adapting to change in work and society: a new Community strategy on health and safety at work 2002-2006'. However, little reference is made to work-related road safety and work at EU level beyond large commercial transport has yet to be started.

In general, there has been little attention to addressing the risks from work-related road traffic crashes in national health and safety law. One of the consequences of allowing road traffic law to take precedence over health and safety at work legislation has been that, other than for large vehicles, there has been little motivation for employers or enforcing authorities, to examine whether a failure in health and safety management systems might have contributed to an incident [15].

Few countries have taken steps to investigate and address the problem systematically or have foreseen activity on work-related road safety in their national road safety strategies. Several countries, however, are starting to address some of the issues.

Examples of national strategies and programmes

In Sweden, Vision Zero states that public authorities should apply quality assurance principles to work-related travel. The Swedish Roads Administration has subsequently adopted a strategic approach to improving the safety of the entire national vehicle fleet through its fleet safety policies. Fleet safety is part of quality management of the transport component of an institution (whether government or private). The quality assurance of transport aims to ensure that people and goods arrive at the right place, at the right time and in the right way (i.e. without any related danger of serious injury or damage to goods or the environment). Road safety and environmental outcomes are linked and there is emphasis on ensuring the quality of outsourced transport as well as the use of owned vehicles. In specifying high safety standards, corporate purchasers of vehicles and transport services can create an economic imperative for providers of vehicles and transport services to meet these standards [29]. The Swedish Work Environment Authority encourages employers who operate vehicles as part of their work to develop road safety policies and programmes (e.g., seat belt use, driving without alcohol and drugs), monitoring of employees compliance with these rules by the employer, and the installation of safety equipment in vehicles (e.g. seat belt reminders, alcohol ignition interlock for commercial vehicles).

Following a research programme carried out since the late 1990s, Britain is now making provision for the application of health and safety at work law to on-the-road work activities. In Britain, employers have a duty to manage risk on the road as part of their health and safety responsibilities. This entails carrying out risk assessments to see what 'reasonably practicable measures' are needed to ensure 'safe systems of work' for their employees while on the road.

British health and safety requirements for work-related road use

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (2) requires the employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at work and that others are not put at risk by the employee's work-related driving activities

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (3) sets out the requirement for employers to manage health and safety effectively. They require the carrying out of an assessment of the risks to the health and safety of employees, while they are at work, and to other people who may be affected by their work activities. The Regulations require the employer to review the risk assessment periodically so that it remains appropriate.

Consultation with employees and, where applicable, their health and safety representatives, on the health and safety issues, is covered in governmental guidance.

Health and safety law does not apply to commuting, unless the employee is travelling from their home to a location which is not their usual place of work.

These requirements of health and safety law are in addition to the duties of employers under road traffic law, e.g. the Road Traffic Act and Road Vehicle (Construction and Use) Regulations, which are administered by the police and other agencies such as the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.

Source: Driving at work: managing work-related road safety, HSE [30]

Various measures are promoted through national guidance to employers Driving at work: Managing work-related road safety; Reducing at-work road traffic incidents. Work-related road safety is now expected to address both national road safety and health and safety targets. Work-related road safety management is expected to cover several key strategies: policy, responsibility, organization, systems and monitoring.

Work-related road safety management guidance in Britain (HSE [30])

Policy: An organization's health and safety policy statement should cover work-related road safety and should be written down if 5 or more people are employed.

Responsibility: Top-level commitment to work-related road safety management is required with clear accountabilities set out.

Organization and structure: An integrated organizational structure is needed which allows cooperation between departments with responsibilities for work-related road safety.

Systems: Adequate management systems are needed.

Monitoring: An effective monitoring system is needed

In Australia, health and safety at work legislation makes employers responsible for minimising the risks involved in driving for work. This has mainly involved implementing safety policies and procedures, ensuring vehicle safety, and providing adequate training for employees. In addition to this, 'chain of responsibility laws' have been introduced which increases the accountability of employers, managers, and all other workers involved in the chain of commercial transport [55].

France has implemented a programme to increase the involvement of private companies in road safety related to their use of vehicles. The French programme is documented in a publication titled "National Steering Committee For The Prevention Of Road Risk Incurred By Employees - Programme of Action 2000 - 2001" which is produced by the "Occupational Accidents and Diseases Commission" of the National Health Insurance Fund for Salaried Employees (CNAM-TS). Voluntary agreements have been drawn up between government, insurance companies, the national occupational health fund and companies. The programme aims to motivate companies to undertake road safety programmes by increasing awareness of the high cost of road crashes to the company and by decreasing workers compensation and vehicle insurance premiums if programmes are implemented [29][47].

In the Netherlands, the Ministry of Transport encourages transport companies to create a safety culture and offers a range of tools to assist in this task. These include a digital safety scan with which transport companies can gain insight into their safety performance and a protocol to assist companies to earn discounts in their insurance premiums in exchange for better safety performance.



Australian State Initiatives

Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland have all developed policies on improving work-related road safety, given that occupational driving comprises a high proportion of road use. An example of the range of activity is given from New South Wales.

New South Wales, Road Traffic Authority (RTA) initiatives

  • Providing the RTA's own Safe Driving Policy as a sample safe driving policy
  • Providing a wide range of education resources for the workplace (fatigue, speed, alcohol and drugs, seatbelts)
  • Implementing work road safety initiatives in all RTA regions
  • Working with other states and territories to exchange information on best practice
  • Providing consumer information on the safety of new and used cars.


Local government also plays a role in improving work-related road safety as outlined in examples from Britain and Australia. Again, studies of the effectiveness of local activity have not been carried out.

Derbyshire's Road Safety Interagency Group

The Derbyshire Road Safety Interagency Group was established in 1996 and comprises representatives from Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council, North Derbyshire Health Authority, South Derbyshire Health Authority, and Derbyshire Constabulary. The Group formed following a number of years of informal working, to provide a structure to share expertise, opportunities and goals, such as crash reduction and health improvement. A key objective of the work of this group, which is reinforced in Derbyshire's Road Safety Strategy, road safety in the wider community. This provided a focus for workplace activities. The workplace register was formed to enable contact with companies who were interested in promoting safe practices for drivers. Initiatives include, a document outlining policies to put in place, regular newsletters and a biennial conference. The workplace register currently stands at 86 members with interest from firms ranging from 2 to 3 driver companies to companies with over 700 drivers [15].

The FleetSafe Project

The FleetSafe Project has developed a policy and procedures to improve fleet safety in 12 Councils in southern Sydney, New South Wales. These Councils have a combined fleet of about 2,720 light and heavy vehicles. The FleetSafe Project was coordinated by the Southern Sydney Regional Organization of Councils (SSROC) and funded by the Roads and Traffic Authority of New South Wales. The rationale was that the 12 Councils had an annual crash rate of about 50%, which is approximately double the average for fleets. This corresponded to a $AUS1.2 million annual repair bill and annual insurance premiums of approximately $AUS900,000. The FleetSafe policies and procedures were developed by a team from all of the Councils which covered a range of disciplines involved in Council fleet management including risk management, occupational health and road safety. The FleetSafe Project was the joint winner of the 1999 Local Government Excellence in Road Safety Awards. The Project was described by the judges as a sustainable model with state-wide applications in both government and industry [29]. The FleetSafe program is divided into three sections:

Model FleetSafe Policy: This is a general model that Councils can incorporate with minor individual changes.

Recommended Guidelines: A detailed set of best practice procedures.

Implementation: Implementing and Maintaining the FleetSafe Program - A guide to successful implementation.