Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

The introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 has put the focus firmly on business transport. Every company is affected and will have to prove that its policies and procedures protect it from prosecution in the event of a fatal accident.

Under the new Act, an organisation will be guilty of corporate manslaughter if the way in which its activities are managed or organised:

  • causes a person’s death; and
  • amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased

On conviction a corporation may receive a range of punishments:
These include

  • An unlimited fine, most likely based on profitability and turnover;
  • A ‘publicity order’ which requires the organisation to publicise the conviction;
  • A ‘remedial order’ which will require the organisation to take specified steps to remedy the breach, and ensure adequate health and safety policies and practices are put in place.

All Companies need to be able to demonstrate working health and safety procedures in line with all existing Health and Safety legislation. Police officers investigating fatal crashes are told to assume the death is an unlawful killing until proved otherwise. Investigations include

  • Driver competency – Is the driver capable and licensed?
  • Fitness and health – Has the company ensured the driver is capable
  • Vehicle suitability – Insured? Taxed? Maintained?

What can you do? How can we help?

  • Driver Risk Assessment (Free from Bill Plant)
  • Driving Assessments
  • Driver Training
  • Check Driving License
  • Record Crash data
  • Issue a driver handbook

Research has found that the accident liability of fleet trained drivers reduces considerably compared to drivers who have not received any driver training. Additional benefits include reduced fuel consumption, and vehicle wear and tear.

 Time to act now

 Driving at work is a high risk activity. When things go wrong the costs can be substantial in both time and money. Ignoring Occupational Road Risk (ORR) is not a sound business decision.

 Our team of Advisors can help your company select and tailor an Occupational Road Risk programme which suits your company needs.

 With a nationwide network of fully trained and qualified tutors, trainers and advisors, Bill Plant CDM Ltd can provide tailored Driver Assessments, Training, Occupational Road Risk Management and Consultancy services anywhere UK.

Click here to find out more.

Driving speed limit increase to 80mph.

Driving speed limit increase to 80mph.

Last year the Government put on hold its decision to increase the speed limit on UK motorways from 70mph to 80mph.

Arguments for:

In my personal opinion, I do think that increasing the speed limit is a good idea. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, how many times have you been on the motorway and someone is driving over 70 mph? I would argue 100% of the time. Realistically the only thing that would change would be less people would get caught speeding.
One of the main arguments against raising the limit is that ‘speed kills’ and increasing the limit would mean faster drivers drive quicker. However a 2-year study from Denmark found that increasing the speeds on the roads – they increased the limit on rural roads from 50mph to 56 mph – actually decreases accidents. One of the main reasons for this was that people were less likely to overtake and therefore were less at risk of an Road traffic colision. It also stated that only the fastest 15 percent of drivers studied increased their speed by only 1 km/h.
When they changed their motorway limits a decade ago from 68mph to 80mph, fatalities decreased.

Driving speed limit increase to 80mph

Another factor to think about is that the current limit of 70mph was introduced in the UK in 1965. Standards of vehicle safety have greatly improved since then as well as electronic message boards above motorways giving information on the road ahead.
Stopping distances in modern cars are much better than when they were recorded for the highway code. For example, the Highway Code states that the stopping distance at 60mph is 55 metres. However, if you take an Audi a6 as an example of a modern day car, the stopping distance is 38 metres.
I think that it should come down to common sense. Many people forget that a set speed limit is a maximum limit, not a target. It’s like anything else when it comes to driving; you drive for the conditions that you are in. Drive with appropriate speed.

Arguments against:

One factor that I know will be an issue is the 10 percent plus 2 mile an hour rule. The Association of Police Officers implemented this rule to allow for a margin of error (eg from faulty speedos or inaccurate speed cameras). However, with this rule in effect, a limit of 80mph means you could drive at 90mph and probably get away with it.Driving speed limit increase to 80mph
Many campaign groups have argued against an increase. They claim that the cost to society would be an extra 1 Billion pounds a year and lead to 25 extra deaths and 100 serious injuries per year, as well as 2.2 million tonnes more of carbon emissions per annum. With electric cars unlikely to fully take off for a few years, carbon emissions are still a massive issue.
It’s also a known fact that driving faster increases fuel consumption, which means you are ultimately going to pay more for fuel. The only people who would benefit in this sense would be the government from fuel duty.

So what are your thoughts?

Eco Driving – Tyres

Eco Driving.

In this day and age any way of saving money is always sought after and valued. Often, small changes can combine to make a large difference over time. Imagine how much could be saved if you are able to make small savings over many items. Your fleet of vehicles can offer you a range of money saving options.

Tyres are an often overlooked item. A good driver can double the mileage they get from their tyres. They are also a vital safety element of the vehicle and you should always ensure the correct tyres are fitted. Here are some money saving tips when it comes to tyres.

  • Check your tyre pressures regularly (monthly) including your spare. Over or under inflation can reduce the life of your tyres, whilst correct pressures can increase fuel efficiency and save you money.
  • Balancing tyres when one is changed will reduce rapid and uneven tread wear.
  • Harsh acceleration and braking or late braking puts more pressure on your tyres. Smooth acceleration and planned braking will help prolong the use of your tyres and improve fuel efficiency.
  • Overloading the vehicle can have an impact on tyre wear and tyre pressures. Dry steering and high cornering speeds put undue strain on your tyres which can cause too much friction and premature wear.
  • Driving or parking up kerbs can seriously damage your tyres, causing undue wear and putting undue strain on them.

Would you like to know more, visit Corporate Driver Management.

BMW I3 Review

BMW I3

 One of the things I like most about working here at Bill Plant is the range of different cars we are given to demonstrate. This weekend I had the new BMW i3. This was my first experience driving an electric car and my views on it are still pretty mixed. My first impression was when I saw it being delivered.

Most of the cars we get here are driven to our office, the i3 however came inside a truck because it can’t be driven far enough to make the trip up to Ripon in North Yorkshire.

BMW i3

When coming to drive the car the main difference I noticed it has over a standard petrol or diesel is the fact that it is completely silent. The ignition is a stop start button that only works if the key is in the car. Rather than like how a normal car turns over a couple of times and bursts into life, the i3 just lights up and plays a little jingle. Because there isn’t any noise from the engine I think it needs the jingle to reassure you that the car has started, as even after a few times of driving I was still waiting for it to start when it was already running.

I was very optimistic when coming to drive the I3; I really didn’t know what to expect. The i3 is one of the fastest acceleration cars I’ve ever driven. It does 0-30 in 3.5 seconds and 0-60 in 7 seconds. That’s 1 second faster than a 2013 2.0 TDI Volkswagen Golf. It only has a top speed of 93mph but that’s still 23mph above what we are legally allowed to drive at in this country and if you are looking for a car to do track days you wouldn’t be considering an electric car anyway.

The other big difference with this car is as soon as you remove your foot from the accelerator pedal is slows down rather quick. This is because it uses its residual motion to add extra charge to the battery, which isn’t very noticeable. It might add a few extra miles here and there but it’s not going to really extend the vehicles range. It does encourage you to drive differently though. For example, when approaching a junction if you prepare in advance you can slow almost to a complete stop without having to use the break and give yourself a little bit of extra battery life. I was also worried about the brake light, as you are not actually touching the break when it’s slowing down, but it does apply the light so people behind think you’re breaking.

In my opinion the i3 isn’t a good-looking car in anyway. My first thought when seeing it was that it was a stretched out smart car. Outside you’ll find body panels made from thermo plastics and special paint that is resistant to dings – a true city car perhaps. Same when you get inside, you’ll find the same level of luxury as a 5-series, and the interior space of a 3-series. It had all the features and more that you’d expect from any modern car:; DAB radio, Sat Nav, climate control, and heated seats. However the heated seats and climate control quite drastically dropped the range of the car as soon as you switch them on.

The control system was really nice to use, it also looked very modern on it’s LED screen using 3D blueprints of the car to show you how much battery life is left.

Bill Plant i3 review

It also gave graph reports to show you how economically you are driving. If you’re only getting a 40 mile range it’ll show you where you’re going wrong. It had an Audi style centre console control, which I have always found the best design, nice to reach when driving and simple to use. The overall drive is very comfortable, the fact that’s it’s so quiet probably makes a big difference.

The i3 has a battery range of 100-120 miles according to BMW, I was mainly driving on country roads around 50-60mph and I found the range to be more like 80. The model we were given has a range extender, basically a petrol tank that takes 9 liters of fuel and uses a generator to charge the battery and give you another 80 miles. I managed to use the car as I usually would on a weekend and not use any fuel from the range extender. I did have to charge it a lot though, it charged all night Friday to Saturday, 13 hours. This was from almost empty and charged it up to about three quarters, giving me around 60 miles. I again charged it for 18 hours overnight, which gave me a full battery to make the journey back to Ripon on Monday morning. At approximately £1 to charge up it works out a lot cheaper than the £30 I’d spend in fuel on a normal weekend. Supermarkets and petrol stations are now starting to have charge points where you can charge it up in 30 minutes. Outside of London these charging points are a bit few and far between so it doesn’t really make much difference at the moment.

Before driving this car I thought electric cars were very far from becoming popular, now from having this one I can see how they are going to play a huge part in the future and one day more than likely take over the fueled car. At the moment owning one myself wouldn’t be practical at all, if I wanted to do a journey over 80 miles I’d need to stop and charge it for 30 minutes too often. If I lived in London however, where there are a lot more charging points and free entrance into the congestion area, I might consider it. But starting at a little over £30,000 you’d have to drive it a lot to make it save you money compared to buying a £15,000 diesel. Another worry people will have is how much will it hold it’s value, this is why BMW offer a buy back scheme on the i3 so you know how much you can sell it for 2 or 3 years later. I do now think in a few years time when the range on an electric car is a bit bigger and there are more charging points about, I would definitely consider.

New Style Photocard licence

New Style Photocard licence

Starting from February 2014, the DVLA introduced a new style photo card driving licence. Don’t worry, you will not need to update your licence until yours is due for renewal or you need to change your details.
Many of the details are still the same including; the card holders full name, address, and date of birth, as well as the types of vehicles they can drive.
The main changes are due to security and fraud reduction.
The new licence features include:

Optical Variable Ink (OVI)

Not heard of this? It’s used on many banknotes. The ink changes from one colour to another depending on the angle / light. In the case of the driving licence, this ink is used on the wheel on the front right hand side of the card. The colours change from green to gold.

Raised Surface:

Both lettering and images contain raised elements on the new card. Lettering includes surnames, category and the date. Images include the EU flag. These can be felt when brushing your finger across the card.

Holographic images:

Two difference images can be seen when the card is tilted. This image is of the card holder and changes to the month and year of the card.

Main Image:

The main image on the licence is now engraved through many layers and is black and white.

The licence will remain the same size, so you will still be able to keep it in your wallet!

The DVLA has advised that anyone who needs to check ID cards ensure they familiarize themselves with the new design.

How to save money when driving.

How to save Money driving.

Having recently watched an episode of the BBC’s ‘Top Gear’ it got me thinking about fuel efficiency. In the episode they had to travel from point A to point B, the catch being that they had to run out of fuel before arriving at their destination. Their destination was Chernobyl. So obviously it was in their best interest to make their cars very fuel inefficient. This was achieved in some very humorous ways, from Richard Hammond’s rapid acceleration and harsh braking to Jeremy Clarkson’s attempts to increase drag resistance by driving with his car door open.
Although the presenters went to driving extremes to lower their miles to the gallon, it did shine a light on the behavior of some drivers. I’m pretty sure everyone has accelerated a bit too fast at some point in their driving history, left the roof rack on when it wasn’t needed or didn’t keep their tyres at optimal pressures, and for some they have no concept of fuel efficient driving whatsoever.
So I have pulled together a few tips to help you out. Not only could you save money but you could be helping the environment as well!

Tyre pressures:

It is advisable to check your tyre pressures often; I would suggest every 2 weeks. Under-inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption. This is because they have more contact with the road, therefore increasing friction and the amount of energy required by the engine. They can also be dangerous.

Checking your tyre tread depth at this time is advisable as well.

Air Filter:

Getting your air filter checked regularly is important. In order for the engine to burn the fuel efficiently it needs to be able to adequately breathe. If not burnt properly it will just exit through the exhaust, thus wasting fuel.

Engine Oil:

It is important to keep the engine lubricated for optimal performance. This means using the correct grade oil for your vehicle. Your car manufacturer’s handbook will inform you which the best to use is.

Driving smoothly and reading the road ahead:

There have been many occasions when I have been the passenger in a car and I’ve heard the driver complaining about how much fuel costs (yes maybe they want some money off me for some petrol!). Arguably harsh accelerating and heavy braking are the biggest wasters of fuel. Just by reading the road ahead you can save your fuel. If you can see a red light in front of you start to slow down, don’t maintain your speed and slam your brakes on when you arrive at the lights. Many times it will have turned to green before you get there so there is no need to brake to a stop.

Revving the engine:

You know the typical scene; loads of youngsters in a car park revving the car engine. In my opinion they look stupid and apart from that, they’re wasting fuel. There’s no need to rev the engine whilst the car is stationary, so cut it out and save fuel – as well as your dignity!

Air Con:

Unfortunately the Air Conditioning helps to save your fuel – if turned off! This tip is ultimately only really going to help in milder weather when you don’t feel the need to have it turned on but, let’s face it, we live in Britain; it’s mild most of the time.

Drag:

So, open a window? Unfortunately, like the above point, trying to keep cool in your vehicle by opening windows increases the drag, especially so at high speeds and therefore lowers fuel efficiency. I’m not saying you should suffer in your car but if you don’t need the windows open, try to keep them shut.
In higher speed situations the air con is a better option than an open window – we may have a rare hot day.
Likewise having an un-used roof rack will increase drag.

Speed:

Next time you’re stuck behind a slow moving vehicle, try to look on the bright side. You’re probably saving fuel. Driving at 75mph will increase fuel usage by around 10% over driving at 60mph. My advice would be, if possible, to set off earlier and drive a little slower.

Leave your car at home:

This sounds like a no brainer but I have observed many instances where a friend of mine has driven to the local shop. The shop literally being 300 metres away. If you can reach it on foot, walk!

Excess weight:

I am definitely not going to advocate leaving one of your kids at home if you’re going on a family trip, but if you remove unneeded weight from your vehicle you can save a lot of fuel. Do you really need all of the extra junk in the boot?

Plan your journey:

Not only can you pick a quicker and more optimum route, you can also avoid getting lost and wasting fuel by driving around aimlessly. Planning journeys during quieter times will also reducing the amount of time sitting in stationary traffic.

So, try some of these out and let us know how you get on. Hopefully you can save yourself some money and help the environment. If you have any more suggestions, leave them in the comments and please remember when doing any of these tips to drive safely.

Below is a graph of fuel prices for the first week of January, for the last 10 years. Information obtained from the Department of Energy & Climate Change

Date Petrol Per Litre Diesel Per Litre Duty Per Litre Vat %
05/01/2004 75.88 77.54 47.10 17.50
03/01/2005 81.17 85.12 47.10 17.50
02/01/2006 88.03 92.27 47.10 17.50
01/01/2007 87.85 93.40 48.35 17.50
07/01/2008 103.37 108.29 50.35 17.50
05/01/2009 85.42 97.57 52.35 15.00
04/01/2010 109.34 111.08 56.19 17.50
03/01/2011 124.85 129.11 58.95 17.50
02/01/2012 132.40 140.84 57.95 20.00
07/01/2013 131.86 139.75 57.95 20.00
06/01/2014 130.26 138.11 57.95 20.00



Increasing the Licence Renewal to 80

Alex Pallister

Blogger.
Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

alex@billplant.co.uk

Increasing the Licence Renewal to 80

In the news this week it has been reported that the government maybe planning on increasing the licence renewing age from 70 to 80. By the looks of it, this is due mainly to cost cutting more than anything else. The DVLA seems to be under pressure to reduce it’s cost by £420 million and with 4 million drivers (as reported by the mirror.co.uk) wanting to keep their licence who are over the age of 70, this looks to be one of their cost cutting measures.
One of the main factors that pops up time after time when I have been researching this topic, is not so much an older drivers ability but their decreasing health and reaction times. Many elderly people develop health conditions, which greatly impact on their driving ability. These include vision and hearing changes, joint pains and side effects of medications. So I hear you say, well – they need to inform the DVLA of any health changes affecting their driving. Whilst yes, this is true, what happens if someone develops alzheimers and genuinely doesn’t realize that they have an issue? Not everyone has a loved one around to notice a change. This would not only endanger themselves, but it could potentially harm other road users.

This reigns true when you read this quote from Rospa:

Reported statistics indicate that the risk of being involved in an accident increases after the age of 70, and up to that age drivers are no more likely to cause a crash than to be the victim of another road user’s mistake. However, drivers over 70 and especially over 80 years, drivers are more likely to be at fault when they crash.

At present when you reach the age of 70 you have to renew your car licence every 3 years, however in lorries, minibuses or buses when you reach 45 you have to renew it every 5 years and upon reaching the age of 65 you have to renew it every year. So, it begs the question what’s the difference?

Having looked into this topic, many opinions seem to be repeated over and over. The main one being, re-test. My question would be, is this fair? What says you’re going to be a worse driver on your 70th birthday than you were the week before? Many people of this age will have passed decades ago, trust me the driving test is very different now. So would they have to do a full retest? Or a refresher?

Many elderly people see their driving licence as a lifeline and if they gave it up then it’s the beginning of the end.

At the end of the day we can pull statistics for both sides of the argument, ie younger drivers cause more crashes than older ones. I do believe that something needs to be done, however for once in my life I don’t have a strong view point. If I was forced to make an opinion then I would say everyone (not just the elderly) should be forced into an assessment every few years, both for driving and medical fitness. I feel that passing your test at 17, having driven around supervised for 40 minutes isn’t going to guarantee you’re a safe driver for the decades to come. But how would this be implemented, who’s going to pay for this? Would it work?

So the real question is – to self regulate or not to self regulate?
Answers on a postcard!

Nick Freeman – Mr Loophole

Blogger.
Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

alex@billplant.co.uk

Alex Pallister

Blogger.
Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

alex@billplant.co.uk

Nick Freeman aka ‘Mr Loophole’

For those of you who haven’t heard of Nick Freeman aka ‘Mr Loophole’ he’s a top criminal defence lawyer with an amazing talent to get people off convictions through technicalities or incredible explanations. Here are a few of his success stories

Sir Alex Ferguson

Back in 1999 Alex Ferguson was caught driving on the hard shoulder. The case ultimately ended up in court and Freeman successfully argued that Ferguson had a bad case of Diarrhea and had to get to a toilet quickly therefore needing to get to the Manchester United training ground. He also stated that Ferguson, as an elderly gentleman feared for his safety because he was being pursued by a car covered in Manchester City Flags. Finally He argued that he was trying to catch up with the Manchester United’s team coach who had left without him on the way to a premier league fixture.

Jimmy Carr

In 2009 Comedian Jimmy Carr was caught using him Mobile phone whilst driving. At the time the penalty was 3 points and a £60 fine. However after intervention from Freeman Jimmy Carr got off the charge. Freeman argued that as Carr was not using the mobile phone as a 2 way device he was not breaking any laws. He was using the phone as a Dictaphone and this was only a one way device.

Jeremy Clarkson

In 2006 a car on loan to Clarkson from Alfa Romeo was clocked doing 82mph in a 50mph limit. When it came to court in 2007 the Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Michael Atkinson asked to leave the court to make a phone call, upon returning to court he told the judge that “No evidence is to be offered in relation to the case.” And the judge through the case out.
Outside the court, Freeman explained that there were fatal errors in the summons and they had no information on who was driving the car, only that they knew who the car was loaned to. Prosecutors then pursued Alfa Romeo.

David Beckham

In 1999 David Beckham had his licence taken from him due to a 6-month ban for speeding. He was caught doing 76mph in a 50 mph limit.
Upon appeal Freeman argued that Beckham was suffering emotional trauma (do you remember this one?) having been hit with a boot kicked by Alex Ferguson. So therefore could not possibly be aware of his speed. He also argued that Beckham has been pursued by paparazzi on top of trying to get home to look after his newborn son. Freeman and Beckham won the appeal.

This all highlights that Freeman is a great defence lawyer. However is this a worrying trend? Should they be punished for their actions or should they be allowed to ‘go free’ because someone didn’t fill out some paperwork?
The counter argument would be that this shows failings in the system and without high profile cases like this, then failing would still keep happening.

Learning to drive around the world.

Alex Pallister

Blogger.
Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

alex@billplant.co.uk

Learning to drive around the world.

Through our call centre we get a lot of phone calls from worried students and even students from other countries who have native licences enquiring about how difficult the UK Driving test is or if they can drive on their current licence.
In comparison to other countries our test is very different. Some will argue it’s too easy, some too hard. I will let you decide on that, but I thought I would enlighten you with how other countries regulate their driving licences.

Finland:

This is arguably one of the harder tests from around the world. You must go through numerous tests and it will take a minimum of 2 years to obtain a full licence. Lessons range from skid pan sessions to night time driving. You must then take a 2 part exam before being eligible for your licence.

Egypt:

Egypt however is much, much simpler. In the past it was driving the car forward a few meters and then reversing back, however it has now been made more complicated by the addition of ten questions and having to maneuverer around a few cones or lines.

Saudia Arabia

Whilst some discretion is often used for people from western countries, women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving. In fact, they may only be allowed to travel in a car if they are accompanied by their father, husband or male relative.

Japan

In Japan you learn on fake, purpose-made roads in full-scale replica cities!

France:

Before you can take your exam you must have clocked up at least 3000 km or driving experience with a qualified driver. You are also restricted to a lower speed limit on motorways of 110km per hour.

Thailand

Until recently you could buy a licence without taking any tests at all.

Russia

In Russia all driving tests are taken in Russian, so any foreign nationals need to be fluent in the language to take the test.
You must hold a certificate of mental fitness and you must not have a history of substance abuse.

Greece

When you have passed a test in Greece, new drivers must show a red ‘N’ visible in the back window for 6 months.

Brazil

Like the U.K. they have a points system and if you reach 20 your licence will be suspended. You must also carry your licence on you at all times when driving. In Brazil you are taught to drive defensively because the risk of being car-jacked is so high!

So as you can see, there are many rules for every country and nearly all are different. This is in no way a full representation of rules for each of these countries, but please leave your own experiences in the comments.

If you have a licence from another country and you are not sure if you can use it in the U.K. then please contact the DVLA for full information.