Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Two thirds of HGVs are fitted with hands free kits, known to increase crash risk by four times

Despite the risks only 4% of HGV operators use apps to prevent phone use on the move

Two thirds of HGVs  and four in five car fleets are fitted with hands free kits, while only 4% of companies use technology to stop lorry drivers using mobile phones at the wheel, research has revealed.

The online survey, by road safety charity Brake and the Licence Bureau (a licence-checking company), received responses from 138 fleet managers, covering 26,000 vehicles and 40,000 employees, 59 of which had HGVs.

While much research has shown hands free calling is a significant distraction to drivers, companies largely weren't making use of apps that prevent mobile phone use behind the wheel. According to the survey 42% of company cars is fitted with lane departure technology, but just one in ten lorries.

Brake's senior researcher, Dr Tom Fisher, said employers need to do more to improve fleet safety.

“It is disappointing to see that so many are not taking full advantage of new safety technologies on offer,” said Dr Tom Fisher, senior research and communications officer at Brake.

“Blind spot devices and safety management kit like telematics have huge potential to reduce crashes and casualties, and bring down associated costs for the operator,” he said.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), the use of a mobile phone while driving, whether hand held or hands free, increases the risk of crash by four times, as well as reducing reaction times, increasing likelihood of tailgating and risk-taking, i.e. squeezing through unsafe gaps, and failure to maintain proper speed and lane position.

Lorries, which are only 5% of traffic on roads, are involved in 23% of cyclist deaths and 13% of pedestrian deaths, with blind spots the second biggest contributory factor. Concerns are increasingly raised that there are too many demands on lorry drivers' attention from mirrors and sensors and alarms designed to compensate for the vehicles' designs, which haven't changed for decades, leaving large blind spots.

Of companies surveyed, 51% used telematics (cameras and sensors), with 62% of those used in cars, 81% in their vans, and 97% in HGVs. The survey showed no correlation between fleet size and the use of cameras on HGVs.

Les Owen, compliance consultant at Licence Bureau, said: "Surely, it is obvious that the cost of a crash makes it sensible to consider fitting some of the safety technology items.

"One serious crash or fatal collision can lead to a lifetime of problems for drivers and managers alike so doing more to avoid them is a no-brainer.

"Implementing good policies, which are reviewed with drivers to provide learning opportunities and reminders of company objectives, is good practice. Writing a policy and not doing anything with it is just as bad as not having one."

Latest Comments

  • Dr Winston 1 sec ago

    I had this discussion elsewhere (BTW you missed Caruso off your list). The only thing I can think of is that they want to have a decent team in...

  • Sam3 5 min 59 sec ago

    If you are around people and needing to ring bell, you're probably on the hoods, manoeuvring ...and without enough time to take one hand off and...

  • Philh68 15 min 39 sec ago

    March in the bike lane, obviously. I can hear them already: "what do we want, more traffic. When do we want it, now!"...

  • wycombewheeler 42 min 51 sec ago

    Hunt wheels are suitable for centrelock rotors which I prefer to 6 bolt, I don't see how a centre lock rotor could not be compatible. Perhaps you...

  • Nigel Garrage 1 hour 7 min ago

    I'm delighted to set the record straight for you - safety reasons were given as the underlying factor for being on the pavement, but the cargo bike...

  • TheBillder 1 hour 59 min ago

    Underrated, Dave. He also invented working with a shyster financier to repackage invoice factoring into "possible invoice if we actually had this...

  • biker phil 2 hours 8 min ago

    The 911 clip isn't a near miss, the driver did attempt to pull out, yes. But as soon as the driver clocked the cyclist, they stopped.

  • TheBillder 2 hours 21 min ago

    Nigel, as you know, luck does not come into it. If you can't afford to subscribe to the Telegraph (Belfast?) then obviously you don't work hard...

  • hennie 2 hours 29 min ago

    I'm waiting for a June delivery but only paid early May. Having now read the reviews (why didn't I do that before?) I think it's more likely to be...

  • Dave Dave 3 hours 27 min ago

    I haven't been to Bath in years. I'm amazed to find out it hasn't been closed to traffic by now (at least to the standard of central Cambridge and...