[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/phpbb/session.php on line 585: sizeof(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/phpbb/session.php on line 641: sizeof(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable
Driving long hours - Carers UK Forum

Driving long hours

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hi guys
I'm a residential support worker, occasionally I have to drive long distances on shift to drop our young people off for a family visit, often this journey takes up to 5 hours each way. All our shifts are 24hrs, so I often have to do this drive later on in the shift and continue to work when I return. My problem is this journey is done alone, I feel this is too long for one person to be driving, I'm an occasional driver in my job not a professional driver, this presents the high risk of driving fatigue. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on this and how this is managed in your work place, I would like to see this change in my work place I feel the risk of driving these hours will have serious consequences one day, I feel this could be managed by having 2 care staff on a journey to share the driving or use public transport such as the train to take our young people home
Dear Blade

That does sound very unsafe, I'm surprised it's allowed. Unfortunately, this site is for unpaid carers, ie those who care for family/friends, not paid care support workers, so we're probably not the best people to ask, although at least one member wears both hats so may be able to advise. Perhaps contact CAB or a union to find out the legal situation. I certainly wouldn't be happy doing what you're having to do. My son also has health care workers, and I know that at one point the local commissioner was talking about limiting the commute time to an hour each way, and that was only for 9 hr night shifts and 8.5 hr day shifts...

Many thanks and kind regards.

Emma
Ok great thank you for the response and the advice
I agree - I would most definitely check with your appropriate union (Unison??)(Unite?) (it may have changed its name recently, but I think it's that one that covers care workers!), as they will be on your side, and know the legislation that applies (which I hope it does!). The thought of you having an accident due to fatigue, especially with a young person in the car, is far too dangerous to contemplate!

As for having another care worker per car, that's one thought, but it would be better if the second care-worker were used to drive another car as well, thus reducing the drive hours for both of you! (ie, rather than have two care workers per car, and the same long drive times!).

For the time being, please do ensure you are keeping the interior of the car cool, with fresh air ideally (open windows if you can bear it), and keep the radio on, preferably not a music channel, but a talk one, or have an audio book playing or so on. That will help you keep alert.

If the worst comes to the worst, and you feel your eyes closing, PLEASE pull over immediately, and with a cushion kept in the car, lock the car (I'm assuming this is the solo return journey), and put your head down on the driving wheel with the cushion on it, and 'doze'. Even if you only doze for ten minutes or so, this will often be enough to break the 'fatigue-blur', and wake you up again.

Also, keep those caffeine drinks (or pills!) in the car. They aren't a long term solution however, but will do for just 're-awaking' you if you feel drowsy.

'Mental fatigue' can be just as dangerous as 'sleep-fatigue' in that even if you don't feel drowsy, you can feel so overwhelmed by pressures of work, or concern over your carees, etc etc, that you don't focus on driving, and then make careless mistakes.

Wishing you all the best, but please first call, find out the legislation, and if you have a case, as I hope you do, for refusing to be driving those long hours. Do try Unison/Unite.

Cheers, Jenny
Y
Thanks for such a considerate response Jenny, unfortunately I don't think I'm in a union, difficult to find the correct legislation too, thanks for the advice though I will see what I can do and update this post
Doesn't matter if you're not in a union - you can phone them up (eg, Unison/Unite), ask them if they cover your profession, and if they do, say what the situation is and can you get their advice even if you aren't a member, and if you can't, then simply join.

It's utterly irrelevant if your employer would prefer you not to be a union member - you have the right to be one.

Please don't be scared of unions - I was in one when I was at work, and when I was made redundant, having a union rep with me during the exit interviews was invaluable. They were on MY side, and made sure I got the best redundancy package possible!

WIshing you all the best, kind regards, Jenny

https://join.unison.org.uk/

https://www.gov.uk/join-trade-union/tra ... ent-rights
Whilst I don't usually reply to paid carers posts, yours has somehow got under my skin! There may be a simpler solution. Is your car insurance company aware that you are using your car for work in this way? Usually there is a significant extra premium payable? Are they aware that you have vulnerable passengers? If not, just tell your boss that you can't move the client as then neither of you would be covered, so you will not do it. If they then take disciplinary action it would count as constructive dismissal I believe. Ring ACAS helpline, they are the experts in employment law.
The issue of insurance is very important! Please phone your own car insurer straight away, and explain the situation (ie, as BB says, that you use your car for work AND you take passengers - perhaps young ones? - as part of your job). Your agency should, I hope, already have insured both you and your passengers, through their own policies, but this needs to be crystal clear. What would happen if you crashed the car, and injured yourself, or your passenger, or worse?

I know it's tricky, but please do remember that overall, the UK is VERY short of careworkers, and that puts you in a strong position.

According to the internet the GMB union says it is for care workers, if that's a help at all. Also, try Unison as well.

Unions act on YOUR behalf, and know what you can and can't be asked to do by your employers, whoever your employers are.

https://www.gmb-southern.org.uk/work-an ... e-workers/

https://www.unison.org.uk/about/our-org ... r-members/
Interesting Jenny- never heard of anyone being in a union- surely the union is attached to an employer as in Unison with the public sector (previously NALGO- sorry showing my age)

Sadly care agencies don't insure their staff's cars nor provide transport. It is the responsibility of the individual employee to provide their own transprt and notify their own insurance company, state their occupation and business use for the vehicle. The company I work for then asks for evidence of the Certificate of Motor Insurance to cover themselves.
Interesting Jenny- never heard of anyone being in a union- surely the union is attached to an employer as in Unison with the public sector (previously NALGO- sorry showing my age)

Sadly care agencies don't insure their staff's cars nor provide transport. It is the responsibility of the individual employee to provide their own transport and notify their own insurance company, state their occupation and business use for the vehicle. The company I work for then asks for evidence of the Certificate of Motor Insurance to cover themselves.