Transport for London toughens up supplier contracts following LCC's No More Lethal Lorries campaign

Driver training and safety equipment feature in new contractual conditions

by Simon_MacMichael   October 10, 2012  

London Concrete lorry and bikes (copyright Simon MacMichael)

Transport for London (TfL) and the Greater London Assembly (TfL) have implemented tougher conditions on companies they contract with regarding lorries and driver training. The move follows sustained pressure from the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), including the No More Lethal Lorries initiative, launched last year, which included a petition with more than 10,000 signatures.

New contractual terms imposed on suppliers by TfL and the GLA in an agreement named ‘Contract of Service (Generic)’ include a definition of ‘Approved Driver Training,’ which all drivers employed by the contractor must undergo if they have not done so within the previous three years.

The training must follow TfL’s TfL’s ‘Safe Urban Driving' module, which includes drivers taking to London’s streets on a bicycle. Drivers also have to complete a ‘Work Related Road Saftey Module’ or similar training every year.

Besides training, the new contractual conditions also cover issues such as driver checks, safety features that must be fitted such as class six safety mirrors, sideguards and cameras and sensors, plus a requirement to join the Fleet Operators Registration Scheme (FORS) and achieve bronze standard under it.

Should operators fail to meet one or more of the conditions, which are shown in full below, TfL’s potential remedies include terminating the contract.

Ensure that all vehicles:

A. have side-guards fitted, unless it can be demonstrated to the reasonable satisfaction of TfL, that the Lorry will not perform the function, for which it was built, if side-guards were to be fitted;

B. have a close proximity warning system fitted comprising of a front-mounted, appropriate CCTV camera (or Fresnel Lens where this provides reliable alternative), a Close Proximity Sensor, an in-cab warning device (visual or audible) and an external warning device to make the road user in close proximity aware of the driver’s planned manoeuvre;

C. have a Class VI Mirror; and bear prominent signage on the rear of the vehicle to warn cyclists of the dangers of passing the vehicle on the inside.

Also:

(i ) Before commencing to work on the contract each driver who works on the contract will have had a driving licence check with the DVLA and will have to have their licence rechecked on a regular basis.

(ii) All drivers are required to undertake the Approved Driver Training within 60 days of a contract start date, unless they have undertaken such Approved Driver Training in the last three years. Training that delivers the syllabus of TfL’s Safe Urban Driving, with on-cycles hazard awareness training, will be approved.

(iii) Each driver must satisfactorily complete a FORS e-learning ‘Work Related Road Safety’ module (or an approved equivalent safety module) at least every 12 months.

Charlie Lloyd of LCC, himself a former lorry driver, commented: "We're delighted Transport for London and the GLA have followed our advice and added tough conditions to contracts with all their transport and freight suppliers. Thanks to all our members and supporters who took action."

LCC points out however that there is still “a significant challenge” in ensuring that all lorry operators in the capital meet the same standards as those now being applied by TfL.

“We were disappointed only five borough councils have provided on-bike training for their lorry drivers, and some of these councils only provide it sporadically,” it added, saying that it had written to the leaders of all the capital’s councils “insisting they only use the safest hauliers, drivers and lorries.”

LCC adds that it will be publishing a list of which councils have signed up to what it calls a Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling pledge, as well as naming those that have failed to do so.