‘How to Avoid the Road to Ruin’: Sixt Leasing Ireland in association with Nissan and the Legal and Finance Network
Businesses aren’t doing enough to protect employees who drive for work. That was the key takeaway from the event organised by Sixt Leasing Ireland in association with Nissan and the Legal and Finance Network.
The event was aimed at heightening awareness of Ireland’s existing safety and welfare legislation.
“The thing that really surprises me is that there are 600,000 vehicles used for business every day in Ireland - that’s enough to fill Croke Park seven times over,’ said Conor Kelly, Commercial Director, Sixt Leasing. ‘Only 50,000 of these are on contract with Sixt or our competitors - that’s only around eight percent. So I’m wondering, what everyone else is doing?”
Other surprise statistics include the 40% of drivers who never check their tyres or treads prior to travelling, and the 66% of businesses who do not provide guidelines for using a car for work.
Panellist, Garda Superintendent Con O'Donoghue, addressed the audience of approximately 200 business people with a short, sharp talk on employers’ Duty of Care obligations.
He said the lack of clear instruction and policy around car use contributed to confusion, and often led to the fudging of the law. Not taking time to fasten seat belts, poor scheduling, and inappropriate mobile phone use, also conspire to make driving an occupational hazard.
Reinforcing proper behaviours through training is the responsibility of the employer - as is guaranteeing the roadworthiness of the vehicle and ensuring adequate insurance coverage. Companies operating ‘grey’ vehicle fleets - where their employee drives their own car for work - could risk setting on the road to ruin if they don’t have safeguards in place to protect employees.
Ensuring adherence to safety welfare legislation is no less onerous for the company managing a grey fleet versus one operating a lease vehicle fleet. However, the responsibility for upholding policy matters and advising on actions is owned by the leasing company - freeing the client business up to concentrate on other matters.
Niall Keenan, Director, SAP Landscapes, was keen to share his positive experiences of leasing over 90 vehicles for his County Kildare-based landscaping and gardening business.
‘At the end of the day, they are our vehicles, so it’s in our interests to ensure employees are using them right, to protect us and them,’ explained Niall in the Q&A session. He also mentioned that the introduction of breathalyser tests and driver behaviour reports were some of the ways SAP managed employee safety and protected their fleet.
Other speakers at the event included Byrne Wallace Law Firm Senior Associate, Paul Fisher, who discussed telematics and the incoming GDPR. Tim Campbell, Managing Director, Campbell Consultancy UK, joined the panel to talk about commercial vans, the correct ways of transporting and towing heavy loads, and innovation in the form of WIMS (vehicle Weigh-in-Motion Systems that are turning highways into weighbridges with technology.)
Speaking after the event, Fleet Transport’s group editor, Jarlath Sweeney, said he appreciated the informal Q&A format and the opportunity to interact with the panelists. Finian O’Brien, Group Human Resources Manager, Rosderra Irish Meats Group, explained he was already onboard with the value of car leasing for mitigating the occupational hazards of driving for work, but welcomed the opportunity to network and hear of new developments in the vehicle leasing world.