Fleet News

Seatbelt law for delivery drivers

DELIVERY fleets should be advising drivers to belt up following a new seatbelt law which came into force this week.

The new law means drivers will have to wear a seatbelt if travelling more than 50 metres in between deliveries.

However, many companies are still unaware of the new legislation, which will affect all fleets making deliveries or collecting goods.

Paul Gatti, head of commercial fleet for Royal Mail, said: ‘I think the new law will be difficult to enforce – will the police be out with tape measures?

‘However, I can’t see it being a major problem for us. Traditionally, the old Post Office vans had sliding doors but with the current vans we already encourage drivers to wear seatbelts anyway.’

The Department for Transport estimates that if seatbelts were made compulsory for all delivery vehicles, it could prevent 20 deaths, 240 serious casualties and 1,000 slight injuries every year.

Transport Minister David Jamieson, said: ‘Following consultation, we decided that 50 metres was a reasonable distance to travel without wearing a seatbelt when undertaking deliveries or collections. Those carrying out genuine house-to-house calls will not be affected.’

The law has been introduced following a consultation last year. Several key industries were asked to give their views on the issue.

Dairy companies condemned the plans, claiming the move could add millions in costs to their industry through the extra time taken. Another delivery company that responded to the consultation said the law would add costs to delivery operations if the ‘new’ distance was lower than that currently adopted by operators.

If seat belts had to be worn between each drop, they estimated that the time to make each delivery would increase by five seconds (to buckle/unbuckle the seat belt). On a total of 123 stops a day, the additional time taken to perform this action would amount to more than 10 minutes per day per vehicle, costing over £330,000 a year.

  • For more details, visit www.dft.gov.uk.
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