WITH a record volume of traffic on our roads, a key question is ‘Are your commercial vehicles safe?’ There have never been so many commercial vehicles on the roads of Britain.
The latest figures show that the number of vans has topped four million for the first time – with these vehicles covering about 45 billion miles a year. Commercial vehicles themselves are said to cover 61 billion miles a year, with 3,000 tonnes of goods on the road every single minute, proving their status as the backbone of British business.
Mike Hawes, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive, recently pointed out: “Commercial vehicles have never been more important to the British economy, transporting vital goods and services using the latest low emission technology.”
With their importance at an all-time high, so too is their safety. Businesses need to protect their hard-working vehicles, the drivers behind the wheel and, of course, the goods they carry. Here’s some safety factors to consider:
You need to have a rigorous maintenance policy in place to look after your vehicles. Every one needs a regular service and every fault needs to be fixed at the first sign, before it develops into a bigger issue. Keep a proper record to stay on top of this and ensure drivers take responsibility for walking round their vehicles and having a check before they set off.
Safety doesn’t just cover the time your vehicles spend out on the road. Invest in safety measures to ensure your vehicles cannot be stolen by thieves – with gates, fencing and CCTV cameras all worth investing in. Your vehicles are an expensive asset and they should be treated as such.
Many logistics firms are now able to track their vehicles’ every move through satellite navigation technology. This allows drivers to be kept informed of any roadworks or, for example, any hazardous driving conditions on the route ahead that they can then avoid. Drivers too can rely on sat nav systems to map out their route without needing to take their eyes off the road for a second.
Communicating about potential hazards or, indeed, passing on any other instructions to your drivers is much safer thanks to developments in in-vehicle technology. In particular, Bluetooth technology means that drivers can make and receive calls through their dashboard controls, avoiding any dangerous distractions.
Large commercial vehicles can be tricky to drive. It’s all too easy to get involved in a collision by not spotting a person or vehicle in a blind spot. By adding cameras or reversing alarms – such as these from Brigade Electronics – companies can equip their drivers with the technology they need to eliminate their blind spots.
Ensure your drivers are all fully trained and have regular refresher sessions wherever necessary. The vehicles are only ever as safe as the people handling them. Make sure they know how to use any bits of new technology you install, understand where and how to report maintenance issues and are up to date with any changes in the law or driving regulations.