Petition for increased roadside safety
Each year, across the industry, thousands of vehicles are attended at roadside following breakdowns or accidents.
Behind that assistance are the many faces of recovery operators, sometimes risking their own safety to ensure that of other road users.
At TruckEast, we operate both a local recovery operation and a fleet of mobile Scania Assistance vehicles. Working day and night, 365 days a year, our technicians’ clock up the hours across all weather conditions and with each day brings new locations and new challenges. For us, their safety is always front of mind. The challenge now is to raise further awareness of the hazards faced by the industry and make the UK roads a safer working environment for all.
Stan Gallears, recovery driver within our fleet and chairman of the Professional Recovery Drivers Club (PRDC) is calling for more focus on roadside safety. In a bid to both raise awareness and make a difference, he has launched a petition for more laws around roadside safety when recovering and assisting vehicles. Get involved and sign the petition here.
Roadside safety is increasingly a hot topic and over the last five years has been key on the agenda for the Department of Transport who in 2015 placed responsibility on Highways England to reduce those killed or seriously injured by 40% by the end of 2020 (against 2005-2009 average baselines).
We have seen various steps introduced including the launch of smart motorways, where through upgrades to the strategic road network more than 472 extra lane-miles have already been added. Over the next three years alone a further £3 billion is being invested to upgrade existing smart motorways. Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling states that recent evidence shows the extra lanes added to the busiest motorways has reduced the rate of crashes.
According to October’s (2017) report from the Department for Transport, the statistics support this showing a 5% decrease in casualties. That being said, there was still a total of 176,500 casualties across all severities on UK roads (year ending June 2017) and the number of incidents involving workers is still a cause for concern, with 2 deaths and 51 major injuries reported last year.
A recent trial to increase safety for breakdowns includes the introduction of the emergency refuse areas on smart motorways. A bright orange boxed area off the hard shoulder – it is designed to be easy to spot and deter drivers from parking in a non-emergency situation. A step in the right direction, but what is next?
The rise in the UK’s population, topping its largest ever at 65.6 million in 2016, has led to further development of towns and cities and with it a 1.4% increase in motor traffic. Current projections forecast this will reach over 74 million by 2039 which will certainly see increased congestion on the roads. As well as investing in the roads infrastructure to cope with this rise in volume, we need to see further safety measures introduced.
Step in ‘Slow down, or move over’ - bringing awareness to the public about roadside operators and the hazards they face on a daily basis. What’s more the team behind it are pushing for change. Within a week of launching the petition with parliament, it reached its first milestone of 10,000 signatures. But the hard-work now ramps up – 100,000 signatures is the magic number, so please show some support and make a difference.
To sign the petition and increase safety measures on all UK roads, please click the link above.