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Why investing in road safety is worth every penny

Why investing in road safety is worth every penny

If you think safety is expensive, try an accident.

Those were the words of Easyjet founder, Stelios Haji-Ioannou when recalling his implication in the Troodos Shipping Co accident where six lost their lives and over 50,000 tonnes of crude oil were spilt into the Mediterranean Sea in 1991.

The same applies to road safety. Stelios’s quote will resonate with fleet and compliance managers across the transport industry and many would agree that an accident which causes a fatality or serious injury is the most dreaded scenario in the business. For drivers, the thought of being involved in a collision with a vulnerable road user will strike fear into hearts nationwide and particularly into the hearts of those who operate commercial vehicles.

In 2015, 100 cyclists were killed on Great Britain’s roads – a 12 percent drop from 2013 however since 2008, approximately 100 annual fatalities have now become somewhat of a distressing ballpark figure.

Last year Transport for London introduced its Safer Lorry Scheme which aimed to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads. The scheme now outlines that all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes were fitted with Class V or Class VI mirrors, giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicles. In addition to this, vehicles must be fitted with side guards to prevent cyclists being dragged under its wheels in the event of a collision. At the end of last month, London Mayor Sadiq Khan then announced that he intends to introduce a 0 to 5-star rating system, which will categorise HGVs on the level of direct vision the driver has from the cab.

As part of the Direct Vision Standard initiative, it has been proposed that vehicles with a zero star rating will be banned from the English Capital by 2020 and by 2024, only those achieving three stars or above will be permitted entry.

According to cycling blog ‘Beyond the Kerb’, there have been 15 known cycling deaths involving HGVs between January 1st and November 1st 2016. Despite the safety of cyclists becoming increasingly important over the past few years, HGVs have still been involved with 14% of all cyclist deaths in 2016 to date. These statistics paired with Sadiq Khan’s new proposal will almost certainly require fleet owners to invest in road safety technology that increases visibility among commercial drivers.

The dangers posed by HGVs to cyclists isn’t acceptable and although it’s a definite step in the right direction, initiatives such as replacing side panels with glass are expensive to implement and will almost certainly require government incentives to be adopted on a wider scale. Multi-cam systems are a much cheaper method of increasing visibility around the entire vehicle and are one of the most effective tools for protecting vulnerable road users. This allows for a view around the entire vehicle, rather than at the front left of the cab alone.

Systems such as the E82 multi-cam system allow for up to eight cameras to be fitted to a vehicle. The system also allows for a monitor to be fitted inside the cab in order for drivers of commercial vehicles to have a live view of cyclists, vehicles or pedestrians that are travelling on their nearside.

In addition to the E82 system’s nearside camera, fleet and compliance managers are able to fit a camera to the rear of the vehicle in order to assist in reverse manoeuvres, which many sites have now made mandatory to increase the safety of staff, visitors and vehicles. A camera can also be fitted into the vehicle for ensuring drivers are concentrating on roads and not using a mobile phone.

The monitor’s view can be determined by the vehicles actions, for example, if travelling forward, the screen will show what is on the front left of the vehicle, and when reversing the monitor will show the area directly behind it.

The multi-cam solution gives fleet managers and drivers the peace of mind that visibility around vehicles is at its optimum level without forking out thousands for costly new cabs. For those vehicles travelling inside of London, installing cameras could be the affordable way for hauliers to increase road safety and reach the three-star threshold Direct Vision Standard initiative will require.

For more information on RoadHawk cameras, visit www.roadhawk.co.uk or call +44 (0)1208 269 159.

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