If your business has a fleet of commercial vehicles, safe driving is essential. It keeps costs down, protects your company’s reputation and keeps your insurance premiums lower. Good driving also reduces wear and tear on vehicles and improves fuel economy, lowering your costs.
To help drivers stay safe on the roads, it’s a good idea to look at regulations such as TfL’s Work Related Road Risk (WRRR) requirements. All TfL contractors have to adhere to these guidelines, and they give us a great insight into what TfL believes causes drivers to be unsafe on the roads.
In this post, we use WRRR to summarise some of the key ways drivers can be unsafe, and what you can do to improve their safety.
Licensing and training
It goes without saying that drivers have to be properly licensed for the class of vehicle they drive, but when was the last time you checked your drivers’ licences? If you don’t, WRRR will be closed to you.
Driving skills can also fade, and drivers may not be aware of new driving techniques and best practice. That’s why the WRRR regulations insist that drivers of vehicles of all sizes undergo Continued Professional Competence training, including a Safe Urban Driving course recognised by the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS). These courses have a focus on sharing city streets with the most vulnerable road users, including cyclists – and even include practical cycle training so driver’s can experience the roads as a cyclist.
Training of this kind helps drivers to avoid unsafe behaviour on the road and drastically reduces the likelihood of accidents.
Additionally, to gain WRRR approval, fleet operators must hold Bronze FORS accreditation. This underscores your commitment to safety and demonstrates that you have the policies and procedures in place to make safe driving core to your work.
WRRR insists on a range of safety equipment for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes – and if your vehicles don’t have it, you can’t be awarded a TfL contract.
These safety features include:
- Class VI mirror to eliminate blind spots to the front of the vehicle
- Close proximity sensors, to alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians and cyclists
- Sideguards, to prevent cyclists being dragged under the vehicle’s wheels
- Front mounted, rear facing CCTV or Fresnel lens to give visibility behind the vehicle.
- Warning signage to alert road users to blind spots or other dangers.
Remember, these safety features are a minimum. You are more likely to stand out as a trusted contractor if your vehicles have other safety features like telematics and GPS, which can alert drivers to hazards and prevent phones being used while the vehicle is in operation.
Environment specific risk
The more risky the environment, the more important it is to avoid unsafe driving. Each site under WRRR is assessed for risk factors including proximity to cycle routes, incident rates related to the site, the number of deliveries to the site within 24 hours and the ratio of lorries to vans using the site.
While these are beyond your control and that of your drivers, another factor that is risk assessed is supplier profile. The more known you are as a supplier to TfL, the less of a risk you will be considered – so it’s important to demonstrate you adhere to all WRRR requirements.
As we’ve seen, WRRR sees safe or unsafe driving as being influenced by three main areas – driver competence and training, vehicle safety, and environmental risk.
WRRR is also just one of many different standards and regulations imposed by major companies, legislators and local authorities. Others include the Safer Lorry Scheme, Euro 6 and Euro VI emissions standards, London’s up-and-coming Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) and a range of similar schemes in other UK cities.
To comply with them all, the key is to use the newest and most modern vehicles available to you. Adapting an existing fleet can be expensive (or impossible if vehicles are old), which is why many contractors are turning to commercialvehicle hire specialists – it makes maintaining a modern fleet affordable and ensures vehicles meet or surpass standards, helping to make sure valuable contracts don’t slip between your fingers.
To learn more about the different regulations your fleet now needs to comply with and to get ideas for safer driving and vehicles, take a look at our infographic: . It’ll help you achieve fleet compliance and avoid unnecessary fines and lost contracts.