A series of pictograms has been launched to encourage behavioural changes in business drivers to reduce the number of costly work-related road crashes.
Project Pictogram, the brainchild of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, focuses on the so-called ‘fatal four’ – inappropriate speed, driver distractions (most commonly mobile phones), not wearing a seat-belt and alcohol or drug impairment – and adds a fifth contributory factor: safe following distance, due to the volume of rear- end shunts.
Fleets are being encouraged to display the five pictograms, based on the British road sign system, on their vehicles to act as a powerful reminder to motorists to drive safely.
Hopes are high that the pictograms will become the UK industry standard for the fleet and business communication of national road safety messages.
Effectively, the plan is that the standardised pictograms become the ‘recycle’ logo of fatality reduction.
Project Pictogram has been spun out of calculating the cost to businesses of road crashes and analysing the challenge facing all fleets of reducing the number of road crashes involving their vehicles.
Work-related vehicles are estimated to be involved in between a quarter and a third of all road crashes and the Health and Safety Executive has calculated that for every £1 recoverable from insurance, between £8 and £36 may be lost to the company in uninsured costs.
Each five-sticker pictogram sets costs £2.75 each. Marketing professional Phil Palfrey, a former senior brand manager at B&Q, has calculated that it would cost £963 to buy the stickers for the company’s 350-strong trunking and home delivery commercial vehicle fleet. Sticker application – a maximum 10 minutes at £1.35 per vehicle – adds a further £470.
One of the first fleets to back the initiative is the Home Retail Group, which includes Argos and Homebase among its brands. It is displaying the images on the 253-strong Homebase fleet, which includes home delivery vehicles, and may extend the initiative to Argos vehicles and company cars.
Group health and safety manager Andy Leigh said: “The cost of applying the five-sticker sets to the back doors of the entire Homebase fleet equates to the damage caused by one minor rear-end shunt, or trading disruption through one store resulting from a collision-related road closure.”
Project Pictogram has won national backing from other emergency services including Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police. Local authorities, including Hampshire County Council, and Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils, insurers and road safety professionals have also signed up.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is hoping to win Government backing and are in discussion with the Department for Transport and its ‘Think’ road safety campaign organisers.
Hampshire County Council is displaying the pictograms on its 1,000-strong fleet. Councillor Seán Woodward, executive member for economy, transport and environment, said: “The pictograms are clear reminders of the main risks to keeping Hampshire’s roads safe for everyone.”
Palfrey, who is working on a range of projects while on a 12-month contract with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, explained: “The humble bumper and rear window sticker has evolved into a major marketing tool that can reduce death and injury on the roads, cut traffic congestion caused by crashes and save businesses a fortune.
“Collectively adding these pictogram stickers to the back doors, bumpers and rear windows of fleet vehicles gives motorists numerous opportunities to see these key road safety messages on every journey, at the very time and place they are most relevant – on the road.
“The behavioural psychology which underpins Project Pictogram is well proven at delivering large scale group behaviour changes through frequent but subtle nudges, which is what the pictograms deliver.”
Palfrey added: “All road safety groups and other organisations, including fleets, have their own communications around the ‘fatal four’, but we wanted to align all around the same standard and see it adopted nationally.
“We hope that drivers will see the pictograms on vehicles daily and that will trigger behavioural change. By aligning to this industry standard for road safety priority communication we can create a movement for positive change on the roads we all share.”
Hampshire-based housing, support and care provider Radian Group has begun adding the pictograms to the rear doors of its 170-strong van fleet.
Fleet manager Sam McIndoe said: “The ‘driver distraction’ pictogram provides a timely reminder that it is a matter of personal choice when you check messaging and social media and that the habit of doing it while driving is a simple one to break.
“Similarly, habits around speed and following-distance can be changed to safer habits with the constant yet subtle reminder messages the pictograms on the back of our vans deliver. Small personal habit changes which make our shared road space much safer.”
Fareham-based TJ Transport, which operates 145 commercial vehicles, has also started to fit the pictograms to its 11 vans.
Marketing manager Luke Haskell said: “We train staff to drive safely and Project Pictogram is another step in our communication message.
“The cost of about £1,430 equates to a small body shop repair or the impact of a cancelled meeting.”
Ian Luckett, director of Lucketts Coaches, added: “Lucketts is keen to support any road safety initiative, and this is such a cost effective way for us to help get these crucial messages across to members of the travelling public. I would urge all fleet operators to join up to help get the public more aware of the issues.”
It is hoped that the pictograms will feature across advertising and promotional material produced in a range of industry sectors including vehicle insurance, leisure and tourism, as well as packaging on drinks bought from coffee shops and at motorway services. It is suggested the graphics could also feature on in-car satellite navigation screens.
The Association of British Insurers has written to members endorsing Project Pictogram. It wants insurers to use the signage in marketing communications.
It has also won the backing of road safety organisations, including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), Brake, the Institute of Advanced Motorists and Road Safety GB. Head of road safety at RoSPA Kevin Clinton said: “The pictograms are a simple way for fleet operators to illustrate key road safety messages.”
■ Further information is available at: hantsfire.gov.uk/project-pictogram