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Volume 501: debated on Wednesday 2 December 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what mechanisms are in place to ensure that staff who drive (a) a vehicle for which (i) his Department and (ii) one of its executive agencies is responsible have valid driving licences and (b) their own vehicles in the course of their official duties for (A) his Department and (B) one of its executive agencies have valid driving licences and insurance; what guidance is issued to those staff in respect of road safety while carrying out official duties; what steps are taken to monitor compliance with that guidance; what requirements there are on such staff to report to their line managers accidents in which they are involved while driving in the course of their official duties; and whether such reports are investigated. (302168)

The travel guidance issued to staff in HM Treasury and the Debt Management Office requires that driving licences are checked when a member of staff first hires a vehicle for official business and they are subsequently re-checked on an annual basis. Where a member of staff uses their own vehicle on official business, when making a claim for reimbursement of their expenses they acknowledge that they have valid insurance for business use that also covers passengers, possess a valid driving licence, maintain the vehicle in a roadworthy condition and, where appropriate, have a valid MOT certificate and maintain the vehicle in accordance with the manufacturer's schedule. It is the claimant's line manager's responsibility to verify the insurance status of the claimant and any material changes to the insurance should be reported to the line manager.

When opting to drive on business, employees are reminded that—on long journeys, a break of 15 to 20 minutes should be taken every two hours, the driver should ensure that they are familiar with the controls, particularly in hire vehicles, before setting off, and that it is illegal to use a mobile telephone while driving, and they should switch them off to avoid the possibility of distraction. Officials and line managers are required to report all accidents and incidents that occur during the course of work. This includes accidents whilst driving on official business. Any reported incidents involving injury are investigated and compliance is normally monitored through internal audit procedures.