A DANGEROUS gulf exists between company directors and employees who use their cars for work, according to a new study.
The survey was carried out by Driving for Better Business (DfBB), the government-backed Highways England programme to raise awareness of the business benefits that come from improved management of occupational road risk.
It highlighted dangerous attitudes and behaviours of company directors and employees putting the safety of employees who drive for work at risk.
The DfBB survey of 1,006 employees and 255 executive directors from the UK, conducted by Censuswide, revealed a tension between what directors claim and what their employees say is happening while driving for work.
The findings show that despite three quarters of executives claiming to ensure employees are aware of their legal obligations in relation to driving for work, nearly half of employees surveyed who drive their personal car for work said they have not been given a copy of their employer's driving for work policy.
The report found that business leaders are not performing checks on employees who drive their personal cars for work purposes.
Three in five leaders stated they were unsure if any or how many employees use their own car to drive for work purposes and nearly a half of employees who use their personal car for work purposes said they have not been given a copy of their employer's driving for work policy.
Almost all the drivers surveyed said they used their personal cars for work journeys, 75 per cent doing so at least once a week, yet a third of these drivers were not insured to do so - saying they do not have cover for business use on their vehicle insurance.
And on mobile phone usage the study found that nearly a half of business leaders expect their employees to answer their phone at any time, including while driving for work.
Almost half of employees (45 per cent) said they experience stress when they receive a call from their boss while driving for work and one in six employees who drive for work (17 per cent) said they have been involved in an incident when driving for work due to a phone call from a colleague.
Despite it being illegal, one in 20 directors and one in eight employees thought the hard shoulder was a safe place to take a phone call.
The survey also found a poor approach to vehicle checks and maintenance by employees. Nearly three quarters of employees who drive for work (74 per cent) said when they check their tyres they simply take a quick glance to see that tyres look ‘okay'.
Simon Turner, campaign manager for Driving for Better Business, said: "The report shows a disparity between what employers and employees are saying when driving for work. Leaders are failing to communicate and implement a robust driving for work policy to keep those who drive for work safe, particularly for those who use their personal cars.
"Leaders are failing to carry out basic due diligence checks such as ensuring that all employees have a driving licence or vehicle insurance.
"At the same time, the study highlights employees are putting themselves at risk while driving for work, not checking that vehicles are roadworthy and exhibit reckless behaviours when using their mobile phone."
Mr Turner said that directors must ensure a policy that enforces legal and ethical obligations on all employees that drive on work-related journeys is in place and that regular checks are made to make sure that employees have read and understood the guidelines laid out in their company's driving for work policy.