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Brake's Road Safety Week 2019 scheduled for November 18th to 24th

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 13, 2019 9:02:00 AM

Brakes Road Safety Week 2019 scheduled for November 18th to 24th

Brake's Road Safety Week 2019 has been scheduled for the days between November 18th and 24th, 2019, with registrations for employers opened at www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk/organisations.

The event, which has taken place for 22 years, is a great opportunity to promote life-saving messages and show commitment to road safety to employees and their families, customers, suppliers and local community.

The initiative, which this year has been particularly promoted by the Department for Transport, is encouraging  support to the Global Fleet Champions scheme, which aims to prevent crashes and reduce pollution caused by vehicles used for work purposes, but also wishes to animate employers to take the lead in promoting safe and healthy journeys through policies and procedures in place that maximise road safety, reducing risk.

Employers can reigster for a free action pack to help them promote road and driver safety, including advice, ideas and resources linked to the 2019 theme "Step up for Safe Streets", such as guidance sheets, facts sheets, infographics and interactive tools for both adults and children.

According to Brake's Community Engagement Manager, Dave Nichols, “With far too many people still being killed and seriously injured on our roads, this Road Safety Week we want everyone to “Step up for Safe Streets” and learn about, shout about and celebrate the amazing design-led solutions that can help us end this suffering and create a safe and healthy future for all."

Employers can really take the lead on safe and healthy journeys and help get these vital messages out to drivers, families and young people, making a big difference to their local community."

The first event is going to take place on September 10th: the webinar scheduled will host companies that have previously taken part in Road Safety Week, that will contribute with ideas on running successful activities and communication campaigns in organisations and communities dealing with road safety and vehicle management.

 

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EC road safety plan  2021 – 2030: the main points

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 30, 2019 9:00:00 AM

EC road safety plan  2021 – 2030 the main points

At the beginning of the summer, the European Commission made public some of the safety strategies that will be looked into for the decade 2021-2030. The main points of their road safety program have been outlined in a document called Road Safety Policy Framework, presented at the ETSC Road Safety Performance Index Conference in June.

Data collection is going to be the focus of the EC road safety plan for the decade 2012-2030. The EC has developed what looks like a comprehensive range of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to be measured for road safety, linked to outcome targets to be developed in collaboration with the member states.

The list of KPIs currently includes:

#1 - Speed: the idea is to collect with exactitude the percentage of vehicles travelling within the speed limit;

#2 - Safety belt: collecting the number of vehicle occupants using the safety belt or child restraint system in an appropriate way;

#3 - Protective equipment: percentage of riders and road users wearing a protective helmet;

#4 - Use of alcohol: percentage of drivers driving within the legal limit for blood alcohol content;

#5 - Distraction: number of drivers not using handheld devices;

#6 - Vehicle safety: percentage of new passenger cars with a Euro NCAP safety rating equal or above a predefined threshold;

#7 - Infrastructure: distance driven over roads with a safety rating above an agreed threshold;

#8 - Post-crash care: time passed in minutes and seconds between the emergency call following a collision and the arrival of the emergency services.

By collecting these data, the idea is to see how well are the EU countries performing in terms of reducing risks and increasing road safety.

 

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DfT’s new safety action plan to reduce the number of injured and killed on UK roads

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 25, 2019 9:05:00 AM

DfT’s new safety action plan to reduce the number of injured and killed on UK roads

The UK’s Department for Transport has recently presented its new action plan to reduce the number of people killed and injured on UK roads.

The actions target different categories of drivers: fleet drivers, end users, young and old drivers and children, and actually focus on the essentials of road safety:

#1 – Use of seat belts. According to the CDC, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45%, and cut the risk of serious injury by 50%. Seat belts prevent drivers and passengers from being ejected during a crash. People not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash. According to ETSC sources, despite wearing rates of 98.6% for British car drivers, 27% of those who died in cars on the roads in 2017 were not wearing a seatbelt. These and other interesting figures have been published in the recent report “Seat Belts: the forgotten road safety priority”.

The new safety action plan will launch an initiative to increase the use of seat belts. Under the driver safety action plan, failure to wear a seatbelt could result in penalty points as well as fines, under new plans to reduce the number of deaths on the UK’s roads. This is one of 74 actions being considered to improve road safety.

#2 – Drink driving. Other measures under consideration include the use of ‘alcolocks’—devices which measure the alcohol in a driver’s breath and stop a vehicle from starting if the level is too high. The DfT has apparently invested in the development of roadside breathalysers too, which once finished, will enable suspected drink drivers to be tested directly at the roadside, without having to go back to the police station.

#3 – Incident data reporting via app. Part of the two year program taking place to see what works best in terms of strategies and enforcements, so as to maximise road safety at all times, consists in identifying gaps or improvement opportunities. In order to make sure this won’t be an additional burden on local police forces, DfT has rolled out a new version of the Collision Reporting and Sharing software and provided a smartphone app for existing police mobile devices. The app enables officers to accurately report crash data and locations on site, rather than having to return to a police station to duplicate paperwork on a computer.

According to Minister Michael Ellis, “This review will not only highlight where police forces are doing good work, it will show what more can be done to improve road safety.”

 

 

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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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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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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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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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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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