The government's Road Safety Strategy task group could be forced to delay its consultation document because it has taken six months to invite any representatives from the ABI to its meetings.

The task force headed by the managing director of the Post Office, Richard Dykes, was set up on March 1, 2000 with representatives from the police, employers and unions, but not the Association of British Insurers.

It belatedly asked the ABI to join after its inaugural meetings in May, when it acknowledged that its lack of motor insurance representation was a serious flaw.

However, one of the ABI's two appointed representatives, Zurich Commercial underwriting and marketing manager Ron Munro, said on Friday, he has still to attend his first meeting. The second ABI representative, from Royal & SunAlliance, only attended his first meeting last week.

This is almost six months after the government set up the task force to consider ways of cutting the 300 annual road deaths involving company car and delivery van drivers.

Furthermore, the safety group's consultation document, due later this year, may face delay because motor insurers have not been involved in the group's deliberations from the start. The task force's plan to report back to ministers by summer 2001 looks increasingly at risk.

Munro said: “The task force was initially without insurance industry representation even though we play an important role in road safety.”

He added that Zurich Commercial has undertaken a significant investigation into the causes of work-related motor accidents – an area in which the Health & Safety Commission admits it lacks information.

Munro said a variety of factors contribute to the rate of fatal crashes involving company car drivers – not least that, as a group, they travel more miles than private motorists.

Zurich Commercial has produced a book for employers entitled: Steering Your Business Safely, (Creating a Crash Free Culture).