Employers urged to help cut road crash death toll

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FOUR people in South Tyneside have died in the past four years after being involved in road accidents during work-related journeys.

That figure has been released by Road Safety GB North East as part of its Driving Down Your Risk campaign, launched today.

The campaign urges businesses to help protect their staff from danger – and themselves from potential legal action.

Alan Kennedy, road safety manager at Durham County Council, said: “Companies seem to be putting their employees under more and more pressure to deliver, but they need to appreciate that someone under pressure takes risks.

“We are appealing to both drivers and employers. Motorists need to watch their speed and must give themselves ample time to reach their destinations.

“It is also vital that they drive according to the weather conditions and avoid distractions such as mobile phones and eating and drinking while on the move.”

Mr Kennedy added: “It’s important that businesses play their part.

“They must remember that they are liable under the 2007 Corporate Manslaughter Act if their policies are not up to standard.

“They have a duty of care to their staff to make sure they have enough time to reasonably get to appointments, have sufficient stop breaks and are not discussing business on the phone while driving and are not suffering stress.”

New research reveals that people are more likely to be involved in a collision with a business driver than a drink-driver.

One in five road accidents in the North East in the last five years involved people driving for work.

Between 2008 and 2012, four people in South Tyneside were killed in collisions with a business driver, and 41 were seriously injured.

A total of 372 suffered slight injuries.

Those figures do not include accidents involving public service vehicles.

County Durham, Northumberland and Newcastle have the highest number of casualties from collisions involving a work journey.

Casualty numbers are highest during the autumn and winter months, with the majority of accidents happening Monday to Friday and peaking just after 8am.

Men account for 78 percent of casualties, while those aged between 35 and 44 are in the highest risk group, accounting for 26 percent.