The backbone of Britain

As the UK rightly applauds the heroic efforts given by the NHS workers, we must also acknowledge the unsung and unseen heroes helping to keep Britain moving.

As the majority of workers are forced to operate from home to help restrict the spread of Covid-19, it has become particularly apparent how much we rely on those delivering frontline and critical infrastructure services.

The media rightfully highlights the fantastic work carried out by our health service but there are also other industries, which don’t get the same level of accolade, who’s workers are operating day and night to keep our country going. For example, where would we be without industries such as transport and logistics, waste management and agriculture – whose staff work tirelessly to make sure goods are delivered (including essentials medicines and protective equipment), waste is disposed of and food arrives on our supermarket shelves.

The unsung heroes include people working as van and HGV drivers, technicians and mechanics, farmers, warehouse operatives, FLT drivers and transport managers – all helping to maintain supply chains, waste management services, utilities, food production and local delivery services. They make up ‘the backbone of Britain’ and their efforts are crucial at this time of national crisis – they not only keep the NHS supplied but ensure that our nation has the right provisions to enable it to fight this incredibly destructive pandemic.

It is saddening to hear reports of drivers being refused the use of toilets and other facilities and not being given the same level of support afforded to those working in other ‘essential services’, such as the NHS and Pharmacology. It is now increasingly important that we, as a nation, recognise how crucial these roles are to our survival and make sure they’re given the same prioritisation, protection and provisions as their counterparts in other essential areas.

With this in mind, we would like to show our gratitude to the unsung and unseen heroes of Great Britain.  We recognise and applaud your efforts to keep our country moving at this most difficult of times and ask that everyone spares a thought for and gives support to all those battling through adversity, seen or unseen, to deliver the services we require. You really are our heroes.

 

TfL has recently introduced a new standard for HGV’s over 12 tonnes (GVW) entering London which measures just how much drivers can see through their cab windows. It’s an important innovation that could help protect pedestrians & cyclists & motorcyclists, not to mention the drivers themselves.

The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) is a helpful assessment tool that measures the scope of an HGV driver’s vision and blind spots from the cab in relation to other road users and categorises them with a star rating system from 0-5 stars as part of the HGV Safety Permit.  Check your vehicle’s star rating here

The height of the cab from the road is a key factor in blind spots, for example a construction truck is, on average, 32% higher than other road users meaning that they need to be 3 times further away to be seen – especially dangerous for other road users.  Overall 70% of cyclist fatalities in the last few years throughout London involved HGV’s with high cabs.

From 26th October 2020, any HGV that has a zero star rating (that therefore contravenes the indirect vision aspect of the standard) will be banned from entering London unless the operator improves the safety of the vehicle by fitting safe system improvements such as cameras, sensors and improved class V & VI mirrors.

Full details of the Safe System improvements can be found here.

Long term, the plan is to introduce a ban on any vehicle with a rating below 3 stars will be introduced by October 2024 that doesn’t include additional safety systems.

It is highly recommended that you get your permits in place as penalty charge notices of up to £550 will be applied should you enter London without it and permits can be revoked or suspended for failure to adhere to the permit conditions.

AssetGo can help keep track of all your permits including the DVS, & HGV safety permit within its fleet management system, giving you peace of mind that your fleet is up to date with the latest requirements. To find out more and get a free trial click here.

As a professional driver, be it a driver of an HGV, a Coach, Van, Car or Minibus, ensuring your vehicle is safe to drive is your legal responsibility not just for your safety but also other road users.

The DVSA recommends that a responsible person should always undertake a daily walk around check before taking a vehicle onto the road. This also applies when a 2nd user takes over the use of a vehicle during a shift change for example.

Carrying out a daily defect walk around check ensures that you as a driver can show your compliance with regulations in the event of a roadside check. If a driver takes a vehicle onto the road that has serious defects that affect the roadworthiness of that vehicle, the driver can be held equally responsible alongside the operator and may be fined or prosecuted.

In terms of HGV & LGV, the DVSA sets out a standard list of general checks that a driver should undertake each day in their Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness. But for a majority of drivers there would be additional checks that their operator may require to be carried out – such as with specific load types, vehicle livery & cleanliness and additional requirements from other bodies such as FORS (who stipulate Fresnel lenses, left turn alarms etc as part of their accreditation). 

How AssetGo Daily Checks can help

This is where AssetGo can help drivers & operators alike with customisable checklists that can be created to suit any requirements. The customised driver’s daily checklist can be viewed within the AssetGo app and once completed the report is immediately sent back to the transport manager to be reviewed and any required repairs or issues can be actioned and tracked through to completion using the AssetGo workshop management suite of tools.

Find out more by getting a free trial of AssetGo here

The UK road haulage industry is one of, if not the most important industries across the UK today. Trucks & vans are essential for businesses and deliver everything we rely on in our day to day lives including our food, drink, shelter, work places and everything in-between. To put a value on it the UK transport industry generates for the UK economy approximately £125 billion.

There is quite often a stigma attached to lorries and of course the “white van man” but it is extremely unfair and more appreciation of road transport  as a whole may help to fill the increasing gap in driver numbers that is a concern, especially for HGV operators, in the industry today.

To give a true picture of just how important road haulage is to the UK, we’ve collated these eye opening facts & figures:

  • There are almost half a million vehicles over 3.5 tonnes registered in the UK
  • 98% off all food & agricultural products are transported by road
  • As is 98% of all consumer products such as TV’s, furniture etc
  • Employing over 2.5 million people the transport sector is the 5th largest in the UK just behind the manufacturing & banking / finance sectors

Regulators

There are a number of agencies that work with the road transport industry to facilitate safety and compliance.

These include the DVSA (Driver Vehicle Standards Agency), who implement various procedures and regulations to help keep this huge operation running successfully. These include drivers hours regulations, daily walk around checks and 6 weekly inspections

Whilst FORS implements a multi level accreditation for operating vehicles in London in conjunction with TfL (Transport For London) that increases safety for all road users with requirements such as left turn alarms and special Fresnal mirrors.

Highways England and their counterparts in Scotland, Northern Ireland & Wales also enforce compliance alongside traffic police and the Highways Agency.