Employers across the UK that have yet to introduce at-work driving safety best practice policies and procedures should use the launch of the Decade of Action for Road Safety to kick-start implementation, says Roadsafe.
Representatives of many of Britain’s safest fleets – the campaign’s almost 60 ‘business champion’ fleets that have introduced a wide range of measures to cut road traffic crashes and improve the safety of employees behind the wheel – attended a London event to launch the Decade of Action for Road Safety in the UK.
The rally and conference at Church House in Westminster was organised by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety with support from RoadSafe. Speakers were due to include Lord Robertson, chairman of the Commission for Global Road Safety and Transport Secretary Philip Hammond.
Additionally, ‘business champion’ Tesco.com, the online home delivery arm of supermarket giant Tesco, which operates a fleet of 2,400 vehicles that make approximately 74,000 deliveries per day to homes across the UK, was scheduled to speak in support of the campaign.
More than 1.3 million people are killed on the world’s road each year - a figure that is higher than malaria - and that alarming death toll is forecasted to rise to 1.9 million by 2020. In addition, 50 million people are injured on the world’s roads each year.
The aim of the 2011-2020 Decade of Action for Road Safety is to save five million lives and prevent 50 million injuries.
The campaign has calculated that if 50% of businesses that currently manage people who drive at work implemented initiatives similar to those of the ‘business champions’ around five million lives globally would be saved.
In the UK there are an estimated up to 150 road deaths and serious injuries a week resulting from crashes involving at work drivers, and more employees are killed and seriously injured on the roads while driving on behalf of their employer than in any other work-related activity.
Prince Michael of Kent, a patron of the campaign, said: “The corporate sector has an important role to play in achieving the aim of the Decade of Action by placing the management of drivers high on business agendas.”
Adrian Walsh, director of the campaign and of RoadSafe, said: “With up to 30% of all road crashes estimated to be work-related it means that worldwide if other organisations adopted the safety focus of our ‘business champions then millions of lives would be saved over the decade and the lives of millions of other people would not be blighted by injuries caused in road crashes.”
The 11-point United Nations’ declaration supporting the Decade of Action includes encouraging ‘organisations to contribute actively to improving work-related road safety through adopting the use of best practices in fleet management’.
Many of the campaign’s ‘business champions’ are supporting the London rally and conference with a public declaration of their support for road safety by having their company logos displayed at the event.
Mr Walsh said: “The campaign has achieved much because it has demonstrated that many businesses put safety performance on the road high on their boardroom agendas.
“The campaign, particularly through the ‘business champions’, has promoted a very clear business case that the good management of people delivers improved efficiency, reduces cost and makes the organisation for which they work safer and more sustainable. In simple terms good management equals increased safety.
“However, we are aware that many organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors have yet to follow the lead of our ‘business champions’. We are therefore using the launch of the Decade of Action for Road Safety as a further platform to encourage employers to understand the benefits of promoting road risk management in the work place.”