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Fleet initiatives improve safety, says TfL

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Transport for London (TfL) says it is making good progress towards improving the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists through a series of fleet initiatives.

Last year, TfL and London Mayor Boris Johnson published the Safe Streets for London report, which outlined 56 key measures to improve road safety.

Due to be implemented by 2020, the initiatives are aimed at reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on London’s roads by 40%.

They include the creation of the London Vehicle Innovation Task Force to identify, support and trial new systems such as in-car driver feedback and advanced emergency braking.

However, while the task force has yet to be established, Ben Johnson, senior delivery planning manager at TfL, said the organisation had “made good progress” in other areas. 

“Earlier this year, we hosted a range of events to help share our knowledge with technology providers, to ensure that products currently being developed address the safety challenges faced by London’s road users, particularly those most vulnerable,” he said.

That was followed by the creation of an open-source digital speed limit map of London in July, providing technology developers with accurate speed limit information for roads across London.

Johnson said: “This commitment to providing open data will allow technology providers to develop and bring products to the market that help to reduce casualties, as well as hopefully encourage other authorities to consider how better access to data could be provided to developers to help create safer roads for all.”

Its work with vehicle manufacturers, which is part of its fleet safety campaign, has seen TfL become a partner in Volvo’s Co-Pilot driver safety scheme that aims to tackle the estimated £1.2 billion a year cost to businesses of uninsured losses incurred as a consequence of company cars and drivers being involved in road crashes.

The support programme has been launched by Volvo and key partners to help small fleets get on top of their legal and social obligations, and ensure the safety of their fleets and drivers.

The Co-Pilot package, which is available to small and medium-sized businesses that buy or lease a Volvo, includes a driver policy and handbook for up to 20 drivers, expert advice for high-risk drivers, initial driving licence checks against the DVLA database, an online driver risk profiling tool and an employer risk assessment.

TfL has also been encouraging smaller fleets to become accredited to the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) that encourages the adoption of best practice.

In addition, it is continuing to develop and deliver its Safe Urban Driving CPC course, available free to FORS members, which will see more than 10,000 freight and fleet drivers a year given safety training.

Recently, TfL also concluded a public consultation on its revised Cycle Safety Action Plan which includes a number of safety-focused initiatives to be delivered by 2020, such as trialling quiet vehicle technology to expand deliveries outside the morning and evening rush hours.

As part of a Safer Lorry Scheme, TfL has suggested that every vehicle in London over 3.5 tonnes should be fitted with side guards to protect cyclists from falling under the wheels and vehicles to be fitted with mirrors giving the driver a better view of nearby cyclists, as well as pedestrians.  

Meanwhile, TfL is campaigning for autonomous emergency braking systems to be fitted to all new cars to reduce collisions and the European New Car Assessment Programme to include a safety rating for cars’ impact protection of cyclists.

TfL data reveals that last year there was a 23% fall in the number of people killed and seriously injured on London’s roads to 2,324, the lowest figure on record.

Data shows that 838 (36%) of those casualties were pedestrians, 510 (22%) motorcyclists and 489 (21%) cyclists with 335 (14%) car occupants.

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