The road safety charity, Brake, has appealed to employers this week to do more to prevent the deaths and serious injuries of pedestrians and cyclists.
The plea comes after recent government statistics show six people are killed every week while walking or cycling, and a further 157 are seriously injured. The Department of Transport figures therefore prove that pedestrians, cyclist and motorcyclists are our most vulnerable road users, accounting for 59 per cent of all UK road deaths and serious injuries.
Since at least 24 per cent of road deaths and serious injuries involve a vehicle being used for work, it is essential that employers take steps to educate and train staff to improve their understanding of road safety.
A Brake and Licence Bureau report released earlier this month - which surveyed 228 companies operating commercial vehicles, company cars and vans, or with employees who use their own car for business purposes - has found that many companies do not currently have adequate road safety procedures in place to protect pedestrians and cyclists.
The report found that 54 per cent of employers surveyed provide no education to employees on how to protect pedestrians and cyclists; 68 per cent do not instruct drivers to slow to 20mph around schools, homes or shops; 89 per cent do not instruct drivers to plan routes to avoid schools and residential areas; 80 per cent do not use blind spot sensors; and 45 per cent do not use telematics to monitor driver speed, and therefore have no way of knowing if employers are routinely putting others at risk by speeding.
It is clear from these statistics that a lot more can be done by employers to reduce risk. A simple first step would be educating their employees in the area of road safety, including instructing them to slow down in residential areas and avoid these areas altogether when possible, especially during busy times. Employers could also place less pressure on their drivers by allowing realistic time to complete journeys, so that employees never have to speed and put lives at risk.
Furthermore, large commercial vehicles should always be fitted with wide-angle mirrors; front, rear and side sensors; reversing alarms; and blind-spot cameras to minimise the risk to vulnerable road users in particular when high-risk manoeuvres are taking place. Just 5 per cent of road traffic in the UK is made up by larger vehicles such as trucks, yet they are involved in 23 per cent of cyclist deaths, which proves the importance of fitting large vehicles with technology to assist drivers in dealing with their blind-spots.
Lastly, monitoring speed with vehicle telematics can drastically reduce risk. Speeding is particularly dangerous, and with the UK having one of the lowest levels of cycling in Europe, speeding on highly congested roads is extremely dangerous for all road users, but especially the few who have been brave enough to cycle. If employees know their speed is being monitored at all times by their employer, they will obviously be far less likely to speed.
For specialist personal injury claims advice in Scotland, including advice on claims for injuries suffered in a road traffic accident, contact us today: click here to make an online enquiry or call us on 0131 516 9180.