Many employers with vehicle fleets are not taking advantage of new technologies to protect vulnerable road users, a new report by Brake, the road safety charity, and Licence Bureau has found.
Despite the potential to help drivers see pedestrians and cyclists and reduce casualties, only one in five HGV operators surveyed (20%) have rear-facing cameras on all vehicles, one in 12 (8%) have side-facing cameras on all vehicles, and one in eight (12%) have side sensors on all vehicles.
The report found HGV safety technologies that are mandatory under European law, such as underrun protection and wide-angle lenses, are present on almost all vehicles. Therefore, Brake is calling for more comprehensive regulation to ensure the widespread take up of technologies such as automatically moving mirrors, side-view cameras and side sensors, which can be of benefit in preventing needless death and injuries yet are currently only present on a minority of vehicle fleets.
With at least a quarter (24%) of road deaths and serious injuries involving a vehicle being driven for work, there is a clear need for employers to do more to improve the safety of their vehicles, says Brake. HGVs specifically make up only 5% of vehicles on UK roads, yet are involved in a quarter (23%) of cyclist deaths and one in seven (13%) of pedestrian deaths. In 2013, 78 people on foot or bike were killed by HGVs.
“Employers whose staff drive for work have a duty of care both to their own employees and other road users,” explained Dr Tom Fisher, senior research and communications officer at Brake. “While not a panacea, technology can play a big part in helping them improve safety and exercise that duty, so it is disappointing to see that so many are not taking full advantage of new safety technologies on offer.”
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