6. The law and how it is regulated
The police and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) enforce road traffic law. It places duties on transport managers, operators, and consignors to ensure that:
- vehicles are in good mechanical condition
- drivers are fit and competent to drive their vehicles
- passengers or loads carried on or in those vehicles are carried safely
There may be specific law and operator licence requirements on HGVs or public service vehicles that take priority over the general guidance on these pages.
The police lead investigations into road traffic incidents on public roads.
Employers have general duties under health and safety law on driving and riding for work. HSE usually only investigates if:
- the police identify that serious management failures contributed significantly to the incident
- the machinery that was part of the vehicle was at fault, for example trailer brakes on agricultural vehicles
You or your organisation could be prosecuted for Gross Negligence Manslaughter or under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 if:
- one of your workers is involved in a road traffic incident while driving for work and this results in the death of the worker or another person, and
- there is evidence that the death was caused by either a grossly negligent act or omission; or by serious management failures amounting to a ‘gross breach of a relevant duty of care’
HSE carries out driving at work inspection programmes in some high-risk sectors.
If you are self-employed, the law may still apply to you.