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Highways England highlights enforcement business

First publishedin ITS International
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Enforcement policies need to start focusing much harder on business users, says a new initiative from Highways England. Geoff Hadwick reports on what this could mean for cutting work-related injuries and incidents

Employers should be encouraged to adopt and implement procedures for developing road safety management systems to help reduce work-related road injuries and incidents, says a new national campaign with international implications. “Road safety is not just a matter for government and the public sector,” says UK transport minister Jesse Norman. “It is an issue that requires support from the private sector, and that means businesses making sure they are compliant with current legislation.”

Speaking at the recent TISPOL European Traffic Police Network conference, Stuart Lovatt, strategic road safety lead at Highways England, said: “The [UK’s] Transport Safety Commission now recommends that employers should be encouraged to adopt and implement procedures for developing road safety management systems to help reduce work-related road injuries and incidents.” The campaign is called Driving for Better Business (DfBB).

Highways England is responsible for 4,400 miles of the UK strategic road network (mainly motorways and A roads). According to Lovatt, the aim of DfBB is to improve the awareness of work-related road safety, of employers’ duty of care and of employees’ own responsibilities. “The ambition is to bring about a radical change in how organisations think about work-related road safety,” he said. “And the mission is to improve the levels of compliance for all those who drive or rode for work and to demonstrate the dramatic business benefits of managing work-related road safety more effectively.”

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 Enforcing effective work-related road safety across a big and busy economy like the UK is going to be a challenge, said Lovatt. However, it has to be tackled, because: “At least one-third of road traffic collisions in Britain involve someone at work and every day, more than 150 vehicles driven on business are recorded in an injury collision.”

In essence, the driving for better business campaign will hinge of getting the following principles embedded in the UK’s daily working routines: “The company must not do anything that puts drivers at risk; the company’s work-related driving activities must not endanger other road users; directors must put appropriate policies and procedures in place to ensure this is so; all employees must follow those policies and procedures at all times; and drivers must follow the guidance in the Highway Code.”

And nothing will change unless the country’s enforcement professionals get businesses to comply. Highways England has therefore been working on a new approach to compliance.

But, in the future, Highways England thinks that it might get better engagement from the business sector if it can see the following model put into practice.

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 A campaign website offers business leaders a range of free resources, tools and ideas … along with useful advice and a seven-step process to help users get it right. Highways England has worked with six UK companies to trial its new business enforcement ideas in the field. The results have been encouraging, with companies reporting drops on such measures as incidents, fuel usage and insurance claims.

For Lovatt, the DfBB initiative is a best practice and guidance model that organisations in all countries can use. He believes it can “expand horizons; improve compliance stats; reduce costs; and lead to fewer road incidents”. It is also about changing behaviour: “There is no need for more legislation,” he told TISPOL’s senior police delegates. “We have enough: we need to collect intelligence, and then follow up with education and enforcement.”


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