Commercial vehicle road safety challenges revealed in new IRU report

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Commercial vehicle operators globally are taking their responsibility on safety seriously but financial resources and cost-benefit ratios are the biggest barriers to continued investment in road safety.

Commercial vehicles are involved in less than 3% of road accidents, of which 85% are caused by human error (25% due to the professional driver, 75% due to the other road user)

That’s according to new report from the International Road Transport Union (IRU) that sets out for key ways that the industry, regulators and other road safety stakeholders to work together to boost road safety investment.

Based on research among 949 mobility and logistics operators across 26 countries in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States region, the research finds logistics and mobility operators are already investing heavily in road safety and 80% will continue to strongly invest in the future. Within this, investment currently favours vehicle technology (41%), with 31% directed towards human elements and 28% to operational safety measures

Although operators see a clear commercial benefit in investing in road safety practices, they are driven first and foremost by a strong sense of social responsibility.

But despite this, the report says persistent barriers are preventing mobility and logistics operators from investing more in safety. As such, it identifies four areas to boost safety investment: culture and awareness, business incentives, training and certification, and international standards

These include work to create a stronger safety culture – the private and public sector must work together to build a stronger culture of road safety, sharing best practice and learning from one another.

It also says governments need to better target incentives so that the wider mobility/supply chain and societal benefits of improved safety are taken into account in operators’ cost-benefit analysis of purchase decisions, making it more viable for them to invest in safety.

In addition, training must be more broadly enforced, with a focus on cultural as well as technical factors, with clear reporting requirements and, where feasible, mandatory certification schemes.

The report also calls for authorities need to introduce smarter and more harmonised standards at an international level, in order to enable lower innovation investment costs and more streamlined measurement and reporting in the long term. Nine out of 10 (90%) operators say they prioritise increased driver safety standards

Umberto de Pretto, secretary general at IRU, commented: “The single biggest factor affecting road safety today is people. We need to push further investment in the human elements of road safety – from certification schemes and better driver monitoring through to general awareness campaigns to drive a stronger safety culture.”

The full report is available to download here.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.