New data from the UK shows that 22 per cent of its commercial vehicle drivers spend more than four-and-a-half hours at the wheel, without taking a mandated rest break of 45 minutes.
According to a survey of fleet managers across the UK by Verizon Connect, it showed the extent to which commercial drivers in the UK are breaking road traffic safety regulations by failing to take appropriate rest breaks.
It also showed that fatigue is the cause of 18 per cent of vehicle accidents, second only to speeding with 19 per cent.
This begs the question, if a similar survey was put forward here in Ireland, would the statistics be any different to that of the UK? I highly doubt it.
Further research from Verizon Connect highlighted the challenges fleet managers face to ensure drivers remain safe and compliant. Driver fatigue is top (45 per cent), followed by speeding and harsh braking (44 per cent), and mobile phone use in vehicle (39 per cent).
The DVSA can hand out an on-the-spot fine of up to £1,500 to employers if their drivers are caught breaking these rules on the road.
The DVSA issued £7m in fixed penalties in 2018-19, a 75 per cent increase on 2017-18 (£4m).
Almost a third (32 per cent) of fleet managers spent four hours or more per week correcting and following up on mistakes in drivers’ tachograph data, Verizon Connect also revealed.
While the survey found that 72 per cent of fleet managers download their driver tacho data regularly, it happens on average 10 times per year – which does not comply with the legal requirement to download the data every 28 days.
Derek Bryan, VP, EMEA at Verizon Connect warned that safety must always come first. “Simple systems can cut down time spent on admin while ensuring compliance and driver safety,” said Mr. Bryan. “Fleet management systems can integrate tachographs so that managers can get near-real-time alerts when drivers are approaching their legal limits and ensure they take appropriate rest.”
He added: “Managers can also schedule to download driver tacho data remotely to automatically ensure compliance. The benefit is improved driver safety, compliance, and productivity, which lets managers reclaim time to focus on growing and improving the business.”