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Relaxation of drivers' hours must not have safety cost

28 April 2020

The Government has announced an extension to the relaxation to both the EU and GB driving-hours rules for the goods sectors. These initially commenced at 00:01 on Monday 23 March 2020 and will now run until 23:59 on Sunday 31 May 2020.

This may have come as a surprise to many given the fact that there are many fleets currently off the road. Unfortunately, we are living in very strange and extremely difficult times which require extreme measures to be in place to keep the food supply chain running from the producer to the warehouse to country’s supermarkets.

Therefore, while the country relies on the ‘Logistics Heroes’ to deliver our food supplies, the extension to these temporary changes should not mean a relaxation in a fleet operators’ driver safety management. It should not be an opportunity to squeeze as much out of the drivers at any cost. If anything, it should be quite the opposite, with driver safety being front and centre every day and managed more robustly then every before, due to their increased exposure to risk while on the road.

This may sound strange given the considerably reduced amount of traffic on the roads. However, the very nature of relaxing the drivers’ hours regulations implies those drivers still working, will be working longer hours, leading to an increased likelihood of suffering with fatigue and sleep issues. This could easily lead to added stress being away from home and family for longer than normal.

It is a fine line to get the balancing act right. Fleet operators need to utilise their expert skills to keep their fleets on the road and make sure their drivers are fit to drive at all times.

Data management from vehicle telematics is a valuable tool which will help fleet operators identify changes in a driver’s usual driving habits. Make sure they are not ignored as they will help open up communication with drivers. At which time a driver’s physical and mental ‘tell-tale signs’ may well be noticeable.

If there are any issues for concern, this is the time a fleet operator needs to act decisively and take the driver off the road. Not just for the well-being of the driver but for the reputation of the fleet operator and the safety of all other road users.

If, as a fleet operator, you have so many other things going on at the moment and need help in this area, please contact me direct. I will be more than happy to support you during this difficult time.

Author:
Andrew Drewary
Road Safety Consultant at Road Safety Smart
Contact: 07817 043821 or
andrew@roadsafetysmart.co.uk

 
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