There have been many incidents recently where HGVs and their drivers have not been painted in a positive light by the media. Whether that’s because a driver has been involved in an accident or reporting on the national shortage, HGVs are rarely reported in a positive light. But these accidents don’t happen as often as the media likes to claim, thanks to the extensive safety controls in place on all HGVs. So today, we want to talk to you a bit about what safety controls are in place and how much emphasis is placed on safety at every stage of an HGV driver’s career.
Limits On Driving Time
One of the biggest causes of accidents on the road is tiredness. On average, it kills more drivers per year compared to alcohol, drugs or bad weather combined. Unsurprisingly, professional drivers are most at risk for tiredness, so measures need to be put in place to make sure they aren’t ever driving overworked or overtired. Thankfully, there are a variety of rules in place that regulate how long a driver can be behind the wheel for or doing other ancillary delivery work. At the forefront are the EU Drivers Hours Regulations, which dictate that a professional driver cannot drive for more than:
- 9 hours in a day (this can be extended to 10 hours twice a week)
- 56 hours in a week
- 90 hours in any consecutive 2 weeks
In order to ensure these rules are followed, all driving activities must be monitored and recorded using a tachograph. This machine is attached to every HGV and helps drivers track/manage their working hours and employers to monitor their drivers.
If you’ve ever driven behind an HGV before, you may have noticed a speed limit sign on the back. They often look like standard speed limit signs and have writing underneath. These signs mean that the vehicle’s engine has been physically limited to that speed – it cannot go over it. So even if the driver wanted to, the HGV couldn’t drive at dangerously fast speeds. This means the driver is always in control of the vehicle and it’s stopping time.
Along with the traditional safety features you would find on a car, HGVs come equipped with a range of state of the art safety technology. This includes:
- Rear View Cameras
- Reversing Cameras
- Vehicle Radars
- GPS Tracking
- Digital Video Recorders (DVR)
- RFID Technology
- Auto Braking Systems
- Mirror Monitor
- General vehicle safety equipment (similar to what you would have on a car)
This wide range of safety features can be found in any commercial HGV and are designed to help drivers keep their vehicles as safe as possible. Systems such as reversing sensors and mirror help HGV drivers make difficult manoeuvres without causing accidents, from side swiping on motorways and generally from causing accidents on the road or in loading.
And of course, every HGV driver has to undergo long and rigorous training before they are awarded their licence. Because they are driving such a big, heavy and potentially dangerous vehicle, safety is paramount within their training. Not only are our trainees taught the nuts and bolts of driving and maintaining their vehicles, but they are taught all facets of safety on and off the road. With this training, the operator can safely operate the vehicle from loading to unloading, without incident. To find out more about how we train our drivers, get in touch with us today.