With recent research confirming that van users are more likely to suffer road accidents in the winter weather, the Fuelcard People is urging fleet managers to ensure that they meet duty of care requirements.
The Fuelcard People has recently assessed Modelling the impact of the weather on road casualty statistics, a joint publication from the Department of Transport and the National Office for Statistics.
Although common sense dictates that road accidents are more likely in bad weather, the research highlights how fleets could be affected.
The DfT and ONS evaluated monthly road accident statistics between January 1991 and December 2014. Grouped by fatalities, seriously injured and slightly injured, the casualties were further classified as pedestrians, motorcycle users, cyclists and car occupants.
Collectively, these amounted to 94% of all road accident casualties during the 14-year period.
Met Office data was then used to map the monthly casualties against rainfall and temperature figures: the analysis showed that above average rain, sleet and snow was accompanied by higher numbers of serious injuries.
With the report confirming that colder winter weather and high rainfall can cause more serious accidents, the Fuelcard People is urging van and other LCV users to be aware that their drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents.
Serious accidents can increase the duty of care liability on managers: if a post-accident investigation shows that a van driver has not been advised of the need for greater care during winter, it could be argued that their manager has neglected duty of care obligations.