2. Plan and manage journeys
You should make sure you plan journeys which are safe for your drivers and riders (‘safe journey’). Consider how long drivers and riders will be on the road for, where the work is, schedules, timing and the weather and put controls in place to manage any risks.
First, consider whether the journey is necessary.
When you are planning routes, choose the safest route for the type of vehicle. Motorways are the safest roads - minor roads can cause difficulties for larger vehicles.
Avoid restrictions, for example overhead bridges. Tunnels or level crossings may be dangerous for long vehicles.
Plan routes in consultation with drivers or their representatives, taking account of, for example the need for rest breaks and access to welfare facilities. Talk to your regular customers to ensure your drivers have access to toilets, washing facilities and rest areas.
The Highway Code recommends that drivers and riders should take a 15-minute break every two hours.
Avoid periods of peak traffic flow if you can and plan around seasonal variations on routes.
Reporting and investigating incidents
Implement a reporting system, for workers to report all work-related road incidents and near misses.
You should investigate incidents, monitor performance, make sure your policy is effective and that it has been implemented.
Investigate incidents to identify underlying causes, and to see if any controls or changes are needed. Also, regularly audit your performance, telematics is one way to do this.
It is also important to investigate dangerous occurrences or near misses and that you learn from them.
Vulnerable road users
The Highway Code has rules for road users requiring extra care, including pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists, other road users and other vehicles.
The time the journey will take
You should put controls in place to manage risks from the length of the journey. You should consider if journeys:
- are short or long haul
- are intermittent
- have routine or non-routine stops
- involve driving and stopping when it is dark
- involve long working hours
Eliminate or reduce long road journeys by combining with other ways of working or other forms of transport. For example, move goods in bulk by train and then arrange for local distribution by van or lorry, or arrange meetings using conference calls or video links.
When thinking about the locations your drivers and riders are visiting, check:
- whether instructions and signage are clear and in a form they understand
- parking and layover arrangements
- traffic management arrangements at the destination premises (including manoeuvring, arriving and departing)
- that vehicles and people are separated effectively
You should communicate with sites your workers are visiting.
Don’t rely on in-vehicle navigation systems, as the map data may not be up to date.
Work schedules and timing
Calculate journey times to allow safe driving and riding, within the speed limit. Consider traffic, red lights, road types and conditions when you are calculating how long a journey will take.
Make sure your company policy does not put riders and drivers under pressure and encourage them to take unnecessary risks, for example to exceed safe speeds because of agreed arrival times.
Journey times should allow enough time at pick-up and drop-off to complete administrative and customer-facing tasks.
Consider when riders and drivers are most likely to feel fatigued when planning work schedules. Sleep-related incidents are most likely between 2 am and 6 am and 2 pm and 4 pm. Make it clear to drivers and riders that they shouldn’t drive if they feel sleepy, even if this upsets delivery schedules.
If riders or drivers work long, irregular hours, assess the dangers of them driving home when they are excessively tired. Make sure drivers or riders are not being asked to work exceptionally long hours. Consider overnight stays to manage any risks.
Fit tachographs to vehicles where appropriate and check them regularly. Download your drivers’ data regularly, store it as required, and analyse it to make sure drivers are following the rules on how many hours you can drive and the breaks you must take.
Allow drivers and riders enough time to safely deliver or collect loads, including safely securing loads before departure.
If you use an app to provide work, it should allow breaks to be built in.
Poor weather conditions
Vehicles should be properly equipped to operate in poor weather conditions such as snow, ice and high winds. For example they could be fitted with winter tyres and with the correct windscreen washer fluid for freezing conditions.
Drivers and riders should understand what to do to reduce risk, for example drivers of high-sided vehicles should take extra care if they are driving in strong winds with a light load.
Don’t pressure drivers and riders to complete journeys where weather conditions are exceptionally difficult, particularly vulnerable road users and riders of two-wheeled vehicles.
Support drivers and riders if they need to cancel a journey because of the weather conditions.
Vehicle safety monitoring technology
Consider if vehicle safety monitoring technologies ('telematics') can help you monitor indicators of risky driver behaviours like excessive speed, harsh or erratic driving, distraction and drowsy driving. When you are choosing a system, consider the following.
Outputs from the system need to be clearly related to the risk being managed. Monitor the smallest number of indicators that will enable you to effectively manage your risks. A good minimum list would include speed, harsh braking or acceleration, swerving and cornering.
Management and coaching feedback are a critical part of the system. Don’t rely solely on in-vehicle feedback.
Choose a system that does not give excessive in-vehicle feedback that could distract drivers, for example flashing lights and loud sounds.
Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA) technologies are particularly effective to help people manage their speed and should be prioritised when choosing a system.
Where fatigue is a potential risk, drowsiness detection technology (which may require cameras) is likely to be effective, although this should not replace fatigue management policies such as proper shift scheduling.
Any system should be easy for drivers and anyone responsible for coaching their drivers to use, access data from and interpret.
Organisations that contract drivers through a 'gig economy' model should recognise their responsibilities in managing work-related road risks and ensuring the apps they provide to manage the distribution of work do not create additional risk.
Any telematics system should be implemented using a Plan, Do, Check, Act approach, supported by clearly documented policies and procedures.
HSE and the Department for Transport commissioned research on the potential benefits of safety technologies in vehicles.