From an Employment Perspective
The penalties for causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink and drugs have been increased. The maximum sentence has now increased from 14 years’ imprisonment to life imprisonment and the obligatory disqualification period has increased from 2 years to 5 years. See more here.
Further, a new offence has been created – causing serious injury by dangerous driving. The maximum penalty for such offence is 2 years imprisonment, an unlimited fine and an obligatory driving disqualification.
How does this affect Employers?
In reality, the updates to the Highway Code does not change anything from an employment perspective, just that the increase in penalties show just how seriously the offences are taken. Employers should approach the offences or conduct giving rise to the offence in the same way and should make sure there are policies and procedures reflect this.
If one of your employees has been involved in a serious accident which has potentially resulted in either one of the above offences being committed, as an employer you should not wait for the outcome of the police investigation before taking action. It can take months for an offence to be properly investigated and for an individual to be charged by the Police. The ACAS Code of Practice states “Employers…should raise and deal with issues promptly and should not unreasonably delay meetings, decisions or confirmation of those decisions”. In the event of a serious collision, you should immediately commence an investigation to establish the facts of the case and understand whether further disciplinary action is required. Failure to do so, may lead to long-term absence issues and increased cost to your business.
You will need to comply with your own disciplinary process when completing the investigation and as a minimum meet the standards set out in the ACAS Code of Practice for disciplinary and grievance procedures.
If you require further guidance on the updates to the Highway Code or perhaps need assistance on investigating a potential offence and disciplining an individual for that offence, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01254 828300. Find out more about our employment team here.