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HGV drivers travelling less miles before a crash – how training can reduce risk

11 July 2024

Data from Geolab, experts in road transport telematics, reveal that in 2023, the average miles trucks travelled before experiencing a collision dropped by 180,000 miles. For a major operator with a fleet of around 1,000 HGVs, this equates to 20 additional collisions annually. This concerning trend coincides with a 6% rise in fatalities from HGV crashes, reaching 220 deaths last year. Notably, one-third of all road accidents in the UK involved drivers on work-related journeys.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) attributes 95% of road accidents to human error. Key factors include incorrect reactions, failure to observe, distractions, and inexperience.

In a well-timed move, the AA has recently prepared a report (yellow paper) on how fleets can make driver behaviour safer and more predictable. The report suggests Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) as crucial for preventing and mitigating severe injuries in crashes. Despite this, many drivers find features like ‘lane assist’ bothersome, with 41% opting to disable them.

To tackle the alarming statistic of someone being killed or seriously injured on UK roads every 16 minutes, the AA recommends implementing risk management systems, embedding safety through training, and prioritising driver wellbeing. Ensuring drivers get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise can help reduce poor decision-making on the road. Mental wellbeing is also crucial, necessitating regular check-ins with drivers.

Annual Driver CPC training can include courses on safe driving, risk awareness, city center driving, the Highway Code, and hazard awareness, all available online through Driver Hire Training. For those operators seeking practical driver training and tailored risk reduction programmes, Driver Hire Training offers comprehensive Fleet Training services.

“Despite the onward march of technology, improving safety on our roads, is still led by drivers,” says John Keelan-Edwards, Director of Driver Hire Risk Management. “It’s clear that human beings play a huge role in whether a crash happens – or doesn’t. Ongoing regular training wrapped up with meeting your Driver CPC requirements is a good way of reducing the current 30,000 accidents that occur annually on our roads.”