Fleet News

Businesses have role to play in driving down road casualties

Fleets are set to play a key role in reducing crashes on London’s roads, according to the capital’s newly published safety plan.

Ambitious proposals aimed at reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on London’s roads by 40% – 10,000 casualties – by 2020, have been revealed in the ‘Safe Streets for London’ report published by London Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TfL).

The report runs to 88 pages and includes 56 key measures which aim to drive forward change and improve road safety for all.

Employers have a critical role to play, with TfL saying that it will extend its campaign on fleet safety by developing, trialling and rolling out a programme, which includes telematics (in-car data recorders) and driver profilers, focusing notably on smaller fleets and work trips in employee-owned vehicles.

The report says this will include working with those representing car fleet operators, such as ACFO and the BVRLA, to promote effective technologies with businesses and the insurance industry to quicken their uptake in vehicles in London.

ACFO director Julie Jenner said: “I will be writing to the Mayor and offering ACFO’s help and support. This is exactly the type of initiative that ACFO wants to be involved in.”

Recognising how its members make thousands of journeys in and around Greater London every day, BVRLA director of legal and policy Jay Parmar said: “It is essential that the BVRLA maintains a continuous dialogue with TfL and road safety is one of the key areas we support them with.

“We and our members will carry on with this work as well as looking at other areas where we can collaborate.”

As part of the plan, Lilli Matson, head of delivery planning in surface transport at TfL, told Fleet News, that a tool kit for employers and employees outlining the work-related road safety issues around ‘grey fleet’ was in development. It will be trialled with a number of organisations across London, including the NHS.

Following Crossrail’s lead

Additionally, the safety offering of TfL’s Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) is to be further promoted in a bid to increase membership from businesses.

The report suggests that TfL and the Greater London Authority will follow the lead of Crossrail – the across London rail development – and insist that contractors and sub-contractors are FORS accredited in a bid to drive up road safety standards among operators of vans as well as larger commercial vehicles and drivers.

In practical terms, TfL says it will work with vehicle manufacturers to have more safety-related technology fitted on production lines, while also working with fleet operators for the retrofitment of such equipment.

The report highlights a need for the fitting of safety devices such as side guards and mirrors to commercial vehicles and design improve-ments to give drivers maximum visibility around their vehicle.

In addition, it suggests that safety devices such as proximity sensors and side cameras be fitted to all new vehicles and retrofitted where practical.

The report also highlights that TfL will identify current levels of demand for vehicle safety technologies in London’s vehicle fleet, such as ESC (electronic stability control) and emergency brake assist, and use its fleet procurement influence to accelerate uptake.

Matson said: “Both company directors and fleet managers have a duty of care to employees driving for work – it is a legal requirement, and this includes employees driving their own vehicles for work.

“By taking steps to manage their duty of care relating to driving for work, employers can not only do their bit to help reduce collisions on the road, but also can benefit from lower insurance premiums, fewer vehicle repairs and a better corporate image and performance.”

Improving junction safety

Other safety-focused initiatives highlighted in the report include: the introduction of more 20 mph zones across London; new digital roadside safety cameras; and the redesign of some road junctions to improve safety.

Johnson concluded: “I want London to be the most liveable capital city in the world and improving the safety of our roads is key to achieving this. We’ve made good progress in recent years, but we must do more.”


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