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Durham University

Health and Safety Service


Driving is one of the most dangerous activities that most people do, and it contributes to far more accidental deaths and serious injuries than all other work-related activities. The Health and Safety Executive estimate that “more than a quarter of all road traffic accidents involve someone who is driving as part of their work at the time”.

Although numbers are declining, there are still around 180,000 accident casualties recorded on Britain’s roads annually, and of these around 1,800 result in a fatality. According to the World Health Organisation, more than 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. Injuries from road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among people aged between 15 and 29 years of age. Between 20 and 50 million more people suffer non-fatal injuries.

Work-related road safety is a shared responsibility between the University and those driving on behalf of it. Two sets of law apply – health and safety law and road safety law. Health and safety law applies as much to on-road work-related activity as it does to any other work-related activity. The HSE states that “Health and Safety law applies to on-the-road work activities and the risks should be effectively managed within a health and safety management system”.

The University’s expectations of all University members when using University vehicles or equipment, hired vehicles or their own vehicles on University business are outlined in the Safer Driving Guidance. The accompanying Safer Driving Handbook provides general safer driving advice for a range of situations, and a selection of forms and checklists are provided to support the guidance.