Brake, the road safety charity, alongside Licence Bureau released a report at the end of May which found that many employers with vehicle fleets are not making the best use of new technologies to protect vulnerable road users. There is help out there to support HGV fleet owners to have better vision and see pedestrians and cyclists but employers simply aren’t taking advantage of it.
The research found that only one in five HGV operators who took part in the survey had rear-facing cameras on all of their vehicles and only one in twelve had side-facing cameras on all vehicles, with the same amount having side sensors too.
With this new research in hand Brake has appealed to employers to follow the best practice available to them and implement the latest safety technology to suit their vehicles, so as to protect other road users and themselves. By implementing the best technologies employers will also reap the benefits of reduced crashes, bumps and scrapes to their fleet and therefore lower insurance premiums.
The report also found, on the positive side, that the technologies designed for HGVs which have been made mandatory by European law were present on almost all vehicles. These included things such as underrun protection and wide-angle lenses. As these are mandatory Brake wants to see other technologies such as the side-view cameras and side sensors made mandatory too as it seems to be the way of ensuring employers are doing everything they can to protect other road users. Simply describing it as best practice unfortunately doesn’t seem to be enough.
The report also found that safety management technologies like telematics are becoming more popular, there is scope for fleet managers and companies with fleets of vehicles to do more to make the most of them. Half of the employers surveyed are not yet using telematics at all and many of those who do are not making full use of their systems, by their own admission.
Occupational Driving Accidents and Injuries
At least 24% of all road deaths and serious injuries involve a vehicle which is being driven for work, there is a clear need for employers to make a move towards improving the safety of their vehicles. HGVs are involved in 23% of cyclist deaths and 13% of pedestrian deaths and this is whilst they only make up 5% of the vehicle population of the UK. In 2013, 78 people riding a bike or walking were killed by a HGV.
HGVs are always going to be one of the riskier vehicles on the road so those in charge of their safety measures in place should take a step forward in ensuring best practice.