Date: 14.09.2017     Last updated: 25.10.2018 at 16.17
Our safety guideline to driving safely and legally on the public highway for the purposes of BBC work. This guidance does not apply to the risks created by filming or recording in vehicles (see 'Vehicles: Recording in, from and around')

What Can Go Wrong?

  • Road traffic accident (e.g. due to distraction, inexperience, fatigue, unsafe driving standards).
  • Mechanical break down.
  • Lost or stranded in poor weather.
  • Hurt by unsecured kit during sudden stops/collisions.
  • Attacked by another road user.
  • Inadequate emergency or first aid response.

Legal/BBC Requirements

  • Must have a valid driver’s declaration
  • Manager to ensure driver’s have a current license and check it is valid for the vehicle
  • Must comply with local legislation (Highway code in UK) 
  • Hand held mobile phones must not be used when driving.
  • Hands free mobile phones can only be used where there is a need to pass on urgent information about the destination (e.g. the presence of a specific threat or need to be kept up-to-date)
  • Satellite navigation aids (including mobile phone apps) may be used provided they do not distract the driver or significantly obstruct their view of the road – they must be programmed when parked, not on the move (see RoSPA guidance)
  • Business insurance is required when driving your own vehicle for work
  • Those under 21 are not insured to drive for the BBC
  • Drivers between 21-23 require a specific risk assessment.
  • It is BBC policy that anyone who has reasonable fear for their own safety may refuse to travel with a specific driver or in an un-roadworthy vehicle.
  • European legislation requires that after 4½ hours driving, a driver must take a break of at least 45 minutes. This break may be replaced by a break of at least 15 minutes followed by a break of at least 30 minutes each distributed over the period. During a driving break a driver must not undertake any further work.

Control Measures


  • Drivers must be fit to drive and not under influence of alcohol, recreational drugs or prescription drugs that could affect the driver’s concentration.
  • Ensure drivers are competent for the driving task, particularly those with less experience. Line managers to assess by considering the type of vehicle, location and journey and the driver’s experience with similar vehicles in similar road conditions
  • Drivers to complete the BBC online driver assessment and training on request.
  • Use hire cars where possible and book via BBC Procurements "Self Drive Booking" 
  • Ensure vehicle safety checks are being carried out (see Safety Short in Useful Documents)
  • When using own vehicle ensure MOT or equivalent standard in place and it is serviced in line with manufacturers service intervals.
  • Plan the route and use satellite navigation, maps and/or local knowledge.
  • Take account of weather forecast and select appropriate vehicle for location/terrain/weather. See Weather Conditions topic for more details.
  • If poor weather expected or driving in remote areas make arrangements for regular contact with base and leave route with base, and take appropriate kit and supplies (e.g. shovel, tow ropes, food, water, hot drinks, warm clothing, charged mobile phone, torch, blanket, first aid kit etc.)

Whilst Driving

  • Driver to familiarise self with the car and route
  • Driver to visually check the vehicle including tyres, fuel, windscreens and lights as described in the vehicle checklist. A Vehicle Inspection Checklist is available. 
  • The driver should find a safe place to stop if they feel tired/sleepy and inform line manager/deployer. Also, read the topic Tiredness and Fatigue. 
  • On longer journeys share the driving amongst the team and ensure the driver has regular breaks (e.g. every 2 hours) and the driving time is considered as part of the schedule.
  • Give the drivers the option of staying overnight rather than complete a long journey at the end of a working day.
  • Drivers should not be asked to drive after working a 12 hour day or more (reduce to 11 hours if their driving time exceeds 4 hours on that day).
  • Drivers should not drive for more than 10 hours in total during a day.
  • Secure equipment (lanyards, straps, webbing) and ensure vehicle is suitable for the equipment being transported. Where kit in car boot put backseat seat belts on. Also, read the topic Manual Handling. 
  • Ensure valuable items (ie camera equipment) aren’t on display and lock doors when driving in town, if appropriate, though not on high speed roads.
  • Where fitted, seatbelts must be worn. When selecting cars , select those with seatbelts. (where possible)

Driving outside the UK

  • Drivers to understand local road rules and hazards.
  • It is unwise to drive at night where there are animals on the road, night traffic without lights, poor visibility, in remote areas, bad road conditions and potential for crime. Where this is the case complete a specific risk assessment.
  • Select suitable vehicle from a reputable supplier.
  • Select cars with functioning seatbelts for all occupants where possible and wear seatbelts where fitted
  • When appointing drivers check their driving skills and experience through licence, training details, references.
  • If using drivers inform them of expectations on their driving standards, speed and behaviour. Nominate someone in the vehicle to voice concerns if needed.
  • Don’t choose routes that involve known problem areas.
  • Ensure the vehicle contains a first aid or trauma kit, local emergency service numbers and the location of local hospitals.
  • Ensure the vehicle carries the compulsory kit required in that country.
  • Ensure that every driver is insured for third party liability which satisfies local compulsory insurance obligations (and is to a level of at least $1million per occurrence if in North America).
  • Ensure that the vehicle is insured for loss or damage on as wide a basis as the vehicle supplier offers.
  • Seek further motor insurance advice from BBC insurance if unsure.
  • Reporting accidents - report all vehicle-related accidents to motor claims handlers and on the myRisks tool.
  • If hiring local car and driver, make some basic checks like drivers license and seat belts; read and apply the guidance about Employing Drivers or Contracting Driving Services.

Division Specific Issues

TV and Radio

  • As with mobile phones, walkie-talkies must not be operated by drivers on the public highway
  • Work experience staff are not allowed to drive on behalf of the BBC
  • Where driving is part of the Runner’s role their competency must be checked first and approved by the Producer. Productions should first look at other options before using Runners as drivers.


  • According to the RoSPA, hands-free phone conversations when driving should be considered to be as dangerous as when holding a mobile phone, as the driver tries to visualise the caller or situation being spoken about, distracting them from the complicated task of driving
  • Where it is decided that hands-free kit is needed in a vehicle for operational reasons (e.g. to communicate a specific threat, deployment alteration), the manager should justify this increased safety risk through risk assessment
  • Where they are fitted, drivers should still find a safe place to park before making outgoing calls. Received calls should only be taken where the driver feels it is safe to do so (e.g. open road, low speeds) - if in heavy traffic, the phone should be diverted to voicemail and these responded to when safely parked. All received calls when driving should be kept short.

FAQs/Did You Know?

  • Up to a third of all road traffic accidents involve someone who is at work
  • All UK BBC vehicles are covered by roadside assistance arrangements
  • BBC Bureaux can help you find out about local road rules and hazards
  • There is a generic risk assessment on myRisks tools which is consistent with this guidance. Search for RA000162, in the myRisks Risk Assessment module.

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