Posted on 24th Mar, 2017 by Dominic Benabda
Laws and regulations on HGVs are changing all the time. There are a number of reasons for this – foremost amongst them is a need to consistently reflect high standards of safety, not just for HGV drivers but also the road users around them. Sometimes these changes have been implemented over a period, whereas others have been introduced in direct response to disasters on our roads. This week, we’re taking a moment to look at some of the lessons we’ve learned from HGV accidents.
As with any road accident, the disposition of the drivers plays a major part. Almost all HGV drivers are safe and responsible, but even with the best of intentions, tiredness is still a major problem for many. This is not just a personal issue, but a more deep-rooted problem. Many haulage companies place the completion of the job as a priority over the proper procedures with which to do so. This can be due to poor scruples, or – far more often – simply just stretched resources. As a result, some HGV drivers can find themselves rushing through long hours to get the job done. This has been identified as a leading factor in thousands of road accidents a year, and the industry is working hard to tackle this problem with several high-profile campaigns.
The problem of cyclist fatalities on the road is an ongoing issue for HGV drivers, especially in major city centres. This is frequently a size issue, as cyclists are small and easily missed. Meanwhile, HGVs are large and heavy, and their size means they have significant blindspots. The huge difference in masses involved means that HGV drivers may not even be aware they’re in a road collision even as it’s happening. The statistics so far indicate that these collisions most often happen in the tight confines of city centres, where vision is even more limited for HGV drivers as they have to navigate tight corners. Currently, activists in London are proposing to limit HGVs to driving at certain times of day in order to cut down on these accidents. In the meantime, our cyclist safety products like TurnAware are specifically designed to negate the blind spots that drivers have to deal with, drastically improving the safety of surrounding cyclists.
In the wake of the tragic accident in Glasgow in 2015, in which six people died and fifteen more were injured, the following inquiry found that the crew of the vehicle couldn’t have acted any more decisively to stop the crash once the driver became incapacitated. Neither had any driving knowledge, and though they could have potentially reached the handbrake, the effects of applying it were unpredictable. The experts asserted that the crew of the vehicle had as little as five seconds in which to react, and did as well as they could have done under the circumstances, given the limited control they had over the situation. The inquiry suggested that emergency stop systems could be fitted to vehicles in future, in order to stop a tragedy on that scale from happening again. We take these sorts of incidents very seriously here at Vision Techniques, and preventing their occurrence is a guiding principle of our entire organisation.
We’re passionate about saving lives, and that’s exactly the function that our StopSafe system is intended to perform. In the event of driver illness or injury it allows the crew to apply the brakes using a single one-touch button, thereby reducing the likelihood of runaway vehicles. If you have any questions or need any advice about any of our products, you can call us on 01254 679 717, and our friendly members of staff will be only too happy to help.
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @visiontechniques