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Impaired driving summer crackdown: drink driving and drug driving in the crosshairs

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 6, 2019 9:03:00 AM

Impaired driving summer crackdown: drink driving and drug driving in the crosshairs

A drink driving crackdown this summer has kicked off in the UK this June as it can be a bad month for such offenses: according to data by AlcoSense Laboratories and shared by Fleet News, 1 in 10 motorists tested positive in June 2017 during a similar operation carried out in England and Wales, when around 36,000 drivers were tested (average number tested per month is around 24,000, excluding the Christmas period).

Statistics indicate a spike in drink driving during the month of June that coincides with warmer weather—motorists seem more inclined to drink drive and place themselves at risk during this period. Of the drink driving convictions recorded in June 2017, 17.8% of them fall under the definition of ‘morning after’. The record for most stopped belongs to Merseyside (3010 breathalysed drivers) and the number of people killed in road accidents where the driver was over the drink drive limit has risen by an alarming 45% in only two years. Figures released by the Department for Transport in February suggested there were 290 such deaths in 2017, compared with 200 in 2015.

As for impaired driving, in Ireland the RSA is continuing the drug driving awareness campaign launched in 2017 (as driving under the influence of drugs has been a statutory offence since 1961, but it was not until April 2017 that an effective drug testing method was introduced roadside and in Garda stations), focussing particularly on the beginning of June (and on the bank holiday weekend just gone). The Irish Medical Bureau of Road Safety has reported a rise of approximately 43% in the number of blood and urine specimens received for alcohol and drugs testing in the first four months of the year when compared to the same period in 2018. Data shared by An Garda Síochána show that the number of arrests for ‘Driving Under the Influence’ (DUI), which includes alcohol or drugs or a combination of both, is up 15%. There were 2,694 arrests for DUI from Jan-April 2019, versus 2,343 for Jan-April 2018.

Impaired driving has been detected as the cause of more than half of all car crashes. This means operating a motor vehicle while you are affected by alcohol, drugs (legal or illegal), drowsiness and sleepiness, distractions or relevant medical conditions. All of these are killer behaviours that can pose serious risks for you, your drivers, your company and other road users.

 

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Topics: Road Safety, News, Stats & Facts, fleet safety

Ireland celebrates Slow Down Day, but drivers are caught 50% over speed limit

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 28, 2019 9:02:00 AM

Ireland celebrates Slow Down Day, but drivers are caught 50 over speed limit

An Garda Síochána launched the annual 'National Slow Down Day' for a 24 hour period from 07.00 am on Friday 24th May to 07.00 am on Saturday 25th May 2019. The event is intended to reduce the number of speed related collisions, save lives and reduce injuries on the roads.

In terms of road safety, 2018 was the lowest on record with 146 road deaths; however, that doesn’t automatically mean there is no room for improvement. The trend has in fact altered in 2019 according to the data analysed so far. There was a 46% increase in the number of drivers detected speeding on the roads in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period last year. More than 36,000 people have been caught speeding between January and March 2019.

According to the first reports released last Saturday, four drivers who were caught speeding during the initiative (and despite it) were travelling more than 50% above the speed limit. In total, An Garda Síochána and GoSafe had checked 195,768 vehicles and detected 304 travelling in excess of the speed limit on the Saturday.

Excessive and unsuitable speed is a primary cause of road traffic accidents. This is borne out by an RSA report on fatal accidents between 2008 and 2012, which confirmed that excessive speed was a major factor in almost one third of all fatalities during the period. 

The greater the speed, the higher probability of an accident and, as you might expect, the more serious the resulting damage. As a general rule, a 1% reduction in average speed will bring about a 4% reduction in fatal collisions; and this is why reducing drivers’ speed for both commercial and other road users is essential to improving road safety.

If you need to get started with speeding prevention and want to promote safe, better driving within your fleet, contact us.

 

 

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Road Safety Week 2019: #speakup is the hashtag of the 5th edition

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 14, 2019 9:04:00 AM

Road Safety Week 2019 speakup is the hashtag of the 5th edition

The United Nations Global Road Safety Week initiative took place last week from May 6th to May 12th for the fifth consecutive year. The Road Safety Week has been an opportunity for the fleet industry and fleet operators to encourage all drivers and riders to consider the risks they face and pose on their daily journeys, and to find ways of reducing those risks.

The main point of interest in the latest Road Safety Week event was the hashtag #speakup. Road users have been encouraged to follow a four-step process, focussing first of all on assessing their journeys in order to find out which part of them they consider particularly unsafe; then in the second step they would take note of their road safety demands referring to the assessment of their journeys, and the third step would consist in presenting their concerns to the relevant decision makers in order to implement a practical solution. As a fourth step, the committee of the Road Safety Week 2019 encouraged participants to showcase their work and commitment towards the cause.

Road Safety Week 2019 speakup is the hashtag of the 5th edition_2

Among the subjects highlighted during the Road Safety Week were speed management, the need for leadership on road safety, improvements in the design of infrastructure, vehicle safety standard regulations, enforcement of traffic laws and the development of emergency care systems post-crash.

A survey conducted by Venson in the UK and published by Fleet News during the Road Safety Week showed that four fifths of the respondents (81%) believe that all reckless drivers —regardless of their offence—should lose their licence and be made to retake their tests.

According to the results of the research, strong leadership and actions from the government are what’s required (exactly what the road safety week has been focussing on this year): 81% of those interviewed called for an immediate licence ban, 80% appealed for the introduction of harsher fines and 74% said they would like to see the maximum penalty increased for careless driving that resulted in a fatality.

Among the other results, 25% of respondents defined driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including prescription medication) as the most reckless driving offence. Second was speeding (24%), while distracted driving, such as using a mobile phone or eating at the wheel, was third at 12%.

 

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Vehicle safety technologies: 30 new items to be mandatory in newly manufactured vehicles

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 7, 2019 9:04:00 AM

Vehicle safety technologies: 30 new items to be mandatory in newly manufactured vehicles

Starting from 16 April 2019, new rules governing advanced vehicle safety are to be incorporated into the technology of manufactured vehicles as a legal requirement for the EU market. The rules need to be given the go-ahead from the EU Council in order to come into effect from May 2022 for new models and May 2024 for those models already in use.

The new vehicles will be fitted with roughly 30 life-saving technologies. Some examples are listed below:

  • Intelligent speed assistance to make a driver aware when exceeding the speed limit
  • Driver drowsiness and attention warning
  • Advanced driver distraction warning to help keep attention on the traffic situation
  • Emergency stop signal in the form of a light, signalling road users behind the vehicle that the driver is braking suddenly
  • Reversing detection system to avoid collisions with people and objects behind the vehicle, with the help of a camera or a monitor
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system warning the driver when a loss of pressure occurs
  • Alcohol interlock installation facilitation allowing aftermarket alcohol interlock devices to be fitted
  • Event data recorder to register relevant data shortly before, during, and immediately after a road accident

There will be some safety innovations for passenger cars and LCVs which will be obliged to adopt some of the safety features that are already in place for buses and lorries such as an emergency braking system and an emergency lane-keeping system.

As for buses and trucks, the new safety features earmarked for them are quite sophisticated: direct vision features, for example, enable the driver to more easily spot vulnerable road users; there are also systems to help detect pedestrians and cyclists in close proximity to the vehicle.

The statistical projections behind this dramatic overhaul of vehicle safety are quite compelling: the new technology could prevent more than 25,000 fatalities and 140,000 serious injuries leading up to 2038. One statistic is especially convincing: human error accounts for 95% of all road traffic accidents.

The EU has made public an infographic highlighting the statistical breakdown of road fatalities by country:

Vehicle safety technologies: 30 new items to be mandatory in newly manufactured vehicles

It clearly demonstrates that thousands of people are killed or severely injured every year on EU highways. But it also demonstrates that from 2001-2007 technological safety advances and social attitudes reduced road fatalities by 57.5%. Unfortunately, the figures also indicate that this pronounced reduction in road deaths is slowing. Sadly, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania did not have a good road safety record in 2017, while Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK were the safest countries for that year.



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International Worker’s Memorial Day 2019: safety in the workplace and on the road

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 30, 2019 9:06:00 AM

Memorial_Day_Logo

Last Sunday was Worker’s Memorial Day for 2019: Workers’ Memorial Day is an international occasion that is commemorated on the 28th of April every year. All over the world workers and their representatives hold events, demonstrations and a whole host of other activities to commemorate the day.

According to the TUC (Trades Union Congress), “Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don’t die of mystery ailments, or in tragic ‘accidents’. They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn’t that important a priority. Workers’ Memorial Day (WMD) commemorates those workers.”

This is why a special day is set aside in the calendar year (April 28th is the anniversary of the date the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 went into effect), so that everybody concerned with health and safety at work—trade unions, employer groups and individual organisations across the world—can remember all those souls who were injured or have died in work related incidents.

With driving being one of the riskiest work activities, the event has taken on particular importance for drivers and fleets. It represents an opportunity to, in the words of the commemoration’s motto, “Remember the dead: fight for the living” and unions have been asked to not only reflect upon all those killed at work but also consider how to ensure such tragedies are not repeated. That can best be done by building strong trade union organisations, and campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health & safety laws. Events have been organised in Ireland bearing the slogan, “Remembering the past for a safe and healthy future!” and also in the UK to tackle workers’ health and safety.

“Work is to earn a living,” said Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal Secretary, “not cause death”. On work-related road deaths and suicides, Lynch added, “We know that a large proportion of road deaths are work-related, and with the digital economy there is an increase of people delivering goods by road. We need those platforms who create the conditions to be responsible and take actions to protect workers and prevent work-related road deaths.”

 

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1.7 million drivers admit to speeding: what about your drivers?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 16, 2019 9:01:00 AM

1.7 million drivers admit to speeding: what about your drivers?

It has been proved that there is a strong correlation between speeding and collisions. This, according to the WHO: in high-income countries, speed contributes to about 30% of deaths on the road; while in some low-income and middle-income countries, speed is estimated to be the main contributory factor in about half of all road crashes. This knowledge has surely created a social stigma with regard to speeding, meaning that, apart from the immediate dangers involved and the potential sanctions, the awareness of speeding as inherently antisocial should be an added incentive for drivers to refrain from doing it. But according to the latest research data shared by HPI Ltd on Fleet News, this actually might not be the case.

According to the study, more than 1.7 million drivers actually admit that they do practice speeding on every journey they undertake—accounting for a worrying 5% of all motorists. Two thirds of the interviewed (68%) admit that they speed during some of their journeys and a quarter of the total admits that they speed on at least half of them.

In addition, a general lack of knowledge regarding the Highway Code has been revealed by the survey: 72% of the respondents did in fact answer, “I don’t know” when asked about the speed limit of a single carriageway road—possibly another contributory factor to speeding.

Other findings of the study carried out by HPI concern the hours when drivers mostly tend to speed. It seems that it is between 4.00-5.00am that drivers are most likely to speed, while the least likely period is between 4.00-5.00 pm. The morning rush hour also seems to attract more speeders than the evening rush hour, by a small margin: 50.1% of the interviewed are morning rush hour speeders, versus 46.7% who speed in the evening. In addition, 65% of those who speed are caught in most cases by a speeding camera.

The HPI team has disclosed some surprising and worrying results from their research. With so many drivers and vehicles on the road nowadays, it is not easy to accept that people do not abide by the rules governing speed limits and that their conduct also contributes to such increased risks. Ignoring speed limits, either deliberately or through ignorance, should not happen and reducing speed should be a top priority.

 

 

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Topics: Road Safety, News, Stats & Facts, fleet safety

Stay safe on the road this Easter: some tips and forecasts

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 11, 2019 8:59:00 AM

  Stay safe on the road this Easter: some tips and forecasts2

Easter is nearly upon us and with it comes a period of celebration where people typically gather together or take advantage of the upcoming bank holidays to travel. Unfortunately, experience indicates that the intensification of road traffic this time of year inevitably leads to an increase in collisions, some of which have proven fatal in the past.

In line with the international targets of reducing incidents globally, some of the road safety authorities have already shared data referring to forecasts for the Easter break as well as recommendations to be followed. This obviously does not apply only to those who travel for pleasure, as there will still be professional drivers on the road fulfilling their obligations and providing services.

The Road Safety Authority of Ireland shared some data on collisions and fatalities in 2018, revealing a total of 140 fatal collisions resulting in 147 fatalities on Irish roads. The months of April, June and November were particularly dangerous—the spike in April and its connection with the Easter break is immediately apparent—and there is a general appeal to reduce speed and follow the warnings from An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority and their partner organisations.

As far as the UK is concerned, the expectations, according to the RAC, are 14 million road users taking leisure trips during the Easter break; this is aside from the usual commuter and commercial traffic. As temperatures appear to be dropping again, the RAC are making extra recommendations to drivers; they urge motorists to check over their vehicles before they set out. This is especially valid for those who are planning to drive long distances. Professional drivers are reminded to do their usual walkaround checks and to pay special attention during this time.

There are three essential reminders for those planning to drive over Easter, whether for pleasure or work:

  • The importance of planning ahead. Make sure your planned route allows for a realistic timeframe in order to complete and also takes into account the likely traffic conditions. If you are a professional, follow the recommendations of your fleet manager and pay attention to the hints your gps tracking system makes with regards to traffic and efficient choice of route.
  • Slow down. Do not succumb to the temptation of speeding if you have been caught up in traffic during an earlier stage of your journey; your speeding may be a contributory factor in a potential collision and might very well decide its outcome.
  • Drive defensively. Try to predict what is going to happen on the road and be attentive to it. Avoid distractions. Stay alert, leave enough space between your vehicle and others, and adjust accordingly to any dangerous situations.

 

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Can advanced driver assistance systems be a source of distracted driving?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Mar 5, 2019 9:02:00 AM

  Can advanced driver assistance systems be a source of distracted driving

Advanced driver assistance systems have been created to make vehicles safer and enhance human driving. ADAS, as they are known, were developed to reduce road fatalities by minimising human error. Some of them include adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance systems and driver drowsiness detection systems. There have often been discussions as to whether some of these continually modified applications are really necessary, with current research only fuelling the debate.

IAM RoadSmart, a UK charity that educates drivers and creates greater sensitivity to the importance of road safety, recently issued a whitepaper on the challenges and solutions of distracted driving, examining the following factors: the wandering minds of drivers (making them more prone to inattention), the trend of “nomophobia” (the fear of being out of mobile phone contact) is common among business drivers and the four forms of driver distraction —mental, visual, manual and audible.

According to the IAM publication, ADAS might tempt us into inattention while driving and take back control at a later point. The increased sophistication of this type of technology was obviously meant to improve safety, but an unexpected consequence is this lack of vigilance and the added attention required for drivers to address ADAS technology alerts or features while driving.

In 2017, according to the UK department of transport, 4639 casualties were attributed to in-vehicle distractions. Autonomous vehicles are still far from the finished article that is supposed to make our lives safer and easier.

According to IAM, fleet policies and correct training might help drivers adequately prepare for the use of ADAS technologies so they can fully realise all the advantages in a way that makes sense and is legal. A robust company structure able to educate drivers and detect risky behaviour can definitely help leverage advanced safety technology. If you wish to furnish your team with a sound fleet policy, have a look at our sample. You can use it to update your team’s current policy or contact us if you want to get started with a comprehensive system able to detect risks within your fleet.

 

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Driving at night: help your drivers to stay safe in the dark

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 28, 2019 9:03:00 AM

Driving at night: help your drivers to stay safe in the dark

When we think about fleets and staff who are expected to drive as part of a night shift, we automatically assume they are the only drivers working in the hours of darkness; but the truth is that during the winter, many drivers working regular hours will be operating, at least in part, at night or in darkness.

If driving already represents a risky activity, night driving increases the risks for a number of reasons: there is not only the darkness to contend with and decreased visibility of course, but also the fact that at night we are more likely to feel drowsy or sleepy. This isn’t just because some drivers might have worked during the day, but also because the body never completely adapts to the nocturnal pattern even if sleep is taken during the day.

It has been estimated that driving at night is three times riskier than driving during the day. Despite night shift drivers accounting for 3% of the workforce, driving at night or in the dark is dangerous for everyone as 40% of crashes happen at night despite less drivers being on the road.

What then can drivers do to minimise the risks and have a safer journey if they have to drive in the dark or at night?

Here we summarised four points you might want to share with your driving team.

  1. Everyone else’s day is your night time. If you are working on night shifts, it is important you get at least eight hours of sleep before you start working. Getting proper rest is important; while it might take some time to adjust if it is your first time working a night shift, it helps to sleep in a dark room and avoid people coming in or any other type of interruptions.

  2. Make sure you see and are seen—essential during the day and especially at night. Make sure your vehicle can be seen and lights are working properly when driving during the hours of darkness to ensure full visibility; but this also applies when stationary or parking by the road. Make sure you don’t skip eye tests (something you should do if you are a driver, even if you do not usually work at night).

  3. Increase your safety distance. Around 90% of a driver’s reaction ability relies on vision, and visibility decreases dramatically when operating at night. Not only that, it also seems harder to judge the distance between vehicles at night, plus people tend to drive more erratically. If you increase your safety distance, you have an increased margin in which to react if anything unpredictable happens.

  4. Adapt for changing weather. Winter weather can further reduce visibility and make things more challenging. Ensure vehicles are adequately prepared and tyres are at the optimal pressure to guarantee the best grip on the road surface. Your vehicle should be clean, both on the inside and the outside; with worse road conditions, and even snow in some areas, a windscreen gets dirty quickly and reduces your visibility.

 

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New fleet safety and sustainable fleet management campaign: Global Fleet Champions

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 21, 2019 9:02:00 PM

New fleet safety and sustainable fleet management campaign: Global Fleet Champions

A considerable percentage of the 1.3 million yearly road deaths involve vehicles driven for work. Sustainable driving—with the emissions targets that have to be met and the focus of world governments on reducing pollution—is somewhere all drivers, including those driving professionally and their employers, should be heading.

Global Fleet Champions, a new campaign cantered on fleet safety and sustainable fleet management, has recently kicked off to sensitise the relevant parties to the importance of safety when driving for work and also the environmental impact. The thrust of the campaign, promoted by Brake, a road safety charity based in the UK, is to help reduce road incidents and pollution through the promotion of best practices, that will eventually not only help the efficiency of professional drivers and their companies but also improve road safety overall. Becoming a Global Fleet Champion is a matter of calling for safe and healthy fleet policies that can benefit businesses and all other road users. Responsible organisations put these concepts into practice to secure continuous improvements for their businesses and communities.

According to the Global Fleet Champions initiative, there are five pillars around which fleets should focus:

  1. Vehicle procurement and maintenance: Global Fleet Champions should make sure this important area becomes a focal point—properly and regularly maintained vehicles have a positive impact on drivers, fleets and road users’ safety and reduces environmental damage.

  2. Community outreach: Global Fleet Champions should work at a local level to promote safe and eco-friendly driving, both at company level and beyond.

  3. Incident analysis and intervention: Global Fleet Champions should focus on post-incident management prioritising safety and trying to analyse the causes leading to such incidents, in order to establish corrective actions and prevent similar eventualities.

  4. Journey routing and modal choice: routing as an integral part of work practices held by Global Fleet Champions can help reduce risks along with the carbon footprint.

  5. Driver behaviourKeeping tabs on driving style helps fleet drivers and other road users stay safe on the road.

The Global Fleet Champions website is offering a collection of resources that help fleets promote safe and eco-friendly driving, concluding with a section dedicated to online and offline events on fleet safety and fleet management essentials.

 

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