A new campaign has been launched to protect motorists driving on the roads as part of their work.
Latest information shows that one in five road accidents in the north east involved people who were driving for work, mean people are more likely to be involved in a collision as the result of a business driver rather than a drink driver.
Road Safety GB North East launched the Driving Down Your Risk campaign to warn businesses that they could be prosecuted if they neglect their employer responsibilities.
Between 2008 and 2012, a total of 7,778 people were involved in collisions in the region while they were on a journey for work.
Of those, 20 people were killed in Northumberland, with 166 seriously injured and 1,259 slightly injured.
Alan Kennedy, road safety manager at Durham County Council, said employers, as well as drivers, had to take responsibility for road safety.
He said: “The number of road accidents in the north east involving people who are driving for work account for a fifth of all road accidents so more must be done to help reduce that figure and safeguard workers in the region.”
He added: “We are appealing to both drivers and employers. Motorists need to watch their speed and must give themselves ample time to reach their destination.
“It is also vital that they drive according to the weather conditions and avoid distractions.
“However, it’s important that businesses play their part too. They have a duty of care to their staff to make sure they have enough time to reasonably get to appointments, have sufficient stop breaks and are not discussing business on the phone whilst driving.
“Companies seem to be putting their employees under more and more pressure to deliver, but they need to appreciate that someone under pressure takes risks.”