Road deaths up!

New figures have revealed that the number of deaths on our roads rose by seven percent in 2021. The provisional figures have been revealed in a recent Department of Transport report.

They also show that:

• There was an estimated 1,560 reported road deaths in 2021, a reduction of 12% from the 2017 to 2019 average
• There was an estimated 27,300 killed or seriously injured casualties in 2021, a reduction of 13% from the 2017 to 2019 average
• There was an estimated 127,967 casualties of all severities in 2021, a reduction of 21% from the 2017 to 2019 average
• There were increases in casualties of all severities in 2021 compared with 2020, though pedal cyclists showed a reduction in fatalities (20%)

The report says that the road casualty stats have been impacted by the national Covid restrictions implemented from March 2020. That means the figures above are probably lower than they could have been, because there was less traffic on the roads.

Despite that the numbers are frightening. 1560 roads deaths in one year. That’s 1560 families and friends devastated.

According to the Road Safety charity Brake, 1.35 million people die on the world’s roads every year – the eighth highest cause of death for people of all ages, and the number one killer of those aged between five and 29. More frightening statistics that are difficult to compute.

And we don’t mean to scare you but we don’t want you or your staff to become a road casualty statistic either.

That’s why we do what we do.

Our training courses are designed to keep you and your staff as safe as is humanely possible when driving on the roads. Find out all about our training courses here:

And don’t forget more than a quarter of all road safety incidents are work-related so having a good driver risk management programme in place is really important, I can help you with this too, check out my website for details on how I can help you.

If you are interested, here is a LINK to the full accident stats report.

Pedestrians have priority at junctions

May is: ‘National Walking Month,’ and with the weather getting better – more and more of us are donning our walking gear to get some fresh air and some exercise.

Did you know though that changes made to the Highway Code this year affects pedestrians/walkers? If not our latest blog will help explain.

Back in January something called the Hierarchy of Road Users was introduced to the Highway Code.

The hierarchy places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision (e.g. pedestrians/walkers) at the top of the hierarchy. Having said that it doesn’t remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly including pedestrians.

Before the new rules were introduced drivers had to give way to pedestrians who had started to cross, now the rules go a lot further.

It states that at a junction the motorist should give way to pedestrians crossing or WAITING to cross a road into which you are turning into or from.

In a nutshell:

• The rule applies to drivers entering or leaving a junction
• Drivers will need to anticipate the potential of a pedestrian crossing the road they are entering or leaving
• Don’t leave it too late and make sure you’re aware of the driver behind – if you brake too late you risk having a shunt/prang

Adrian says: “The rules might sound a little confusing but essentially the Code prioritises the safety of vulnerable road users. Not understanding the rules isn’t a defense. It’s important that all road users are aware of the Highway Code and what it means, they’re considerate to other road users and understand their responsibility for the safety of others. Remember, pedestrians are at the top of the hierarchy.”

For more information please go to: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/introduction

Beware as Councils set to fine drivers

When it comes to getting behind the wheel, we’ve already seen lots of rule changes this year already.

Last month we saw a clampdown on the use of mobile phones while driving and earlier this year we saw real changes to the Highway Code. If you missed it or want to find out more simply click on the text to check out our previous blogs on both subjects.

And now in around six weeks’ time we’re going to see more changes. From June 1st 2022 Councils will actually be given powers to fine drivers for certain traffic offences rather than the Police.

Local authorities across England and Wales will be able to apply for powers to issue penalty charge notices.

It means councils will be able to fine motorists for breaking certain rules including:

Currently, these kinds of offences, outside of the English and Welsh capitals are managed by the police but not always enforced. We are told the aim of this change is to improve road safety and cut congestion.

Under the new powers councils could issues drivers with fines of up to £70 for offences which are likely to be reduced if they’re paid within a certain time limit.

Petrol & Diesel – “the only way is up…”

Over the last few weeks and days the media has been full of stories about rising petrol and diesel prices.

Only today there are headlines saying that petrol and diesel costs have reached a record high as global oil prices soar yet again.

According to the RAC the average price for unleaded is £1.67 a litre and it’s worse news if you’re filling up with diesel as that’s risen to an average of a whopping £1.78.

Most businesses run diesel vehicles, so it’s bound to hit their operating costs. And with rising fuel bills, council tax increasing and inflation on the up that all means one thing – less money in our back pockets.

Tuning your heating down, or off, using your washer and tumble dryer less can all make a small difference to the energy you use, but is there anything we can do to save on the amount of fuel we’re using.

With prices predicted to reach a staggering £2.50 per litre, we thought we’d give you a few tips – and drivers who adopt fuel-efficient driving styles can save between 8% and 15% of fuel. Bet you’re reading on now:

  • Use the vehicles ‘stop-start,’ technology, or switch the engine off when you’re waiting for long periods, at traffic lights or a railway crossing for example.
  • Don’t carry unnecessary weight in the boot (do you need all that equipment for this particular journey?)
  • This might sound odd but unless you need to, don’t fill your tank right up, fuel is heavy!
  • Try and avoid repeated stop-starts, anticipate the road situation, and adopt a ‘slow-to-flow,’ style of driving and by that we mean, swapping ‘jerky,’ for ‘smooth,’
  • This one’s obvious but is worth remembering, the higher your speed, the more fuel you burn – take your foot off the gas. Driving at 60mph rather than 70mph reduces fuel consumption by around 20%!
  • Keep your tyres at the correct pressure, underinflated tyres can increase the amount of fuel you use.
  • Avoid travelling at peak traffic times if you can, you are more likely to waste fuel in queues – waiting half an hour and avoiding the rush hour or school run traffic can make a difference.
  • Develop a ‘light right foot,’ easy on the accelerator and brake, makes for better fuel efficiency.

Businesses should also think about considering driver training. Why?

  • Did you know there’s a legal duty to train staff under health and safety law?
  • It demonstrates an investment in staff safety and they’ll learn much more about driving safely and efficiently, helping you keep staff safe and they can help you save money as well.
  • Like we said before – drivers adopting fuel-efficient driving styles can save between 8% and 15% of fuel.

Our Eco-Safe driving course for car drivers, or our Safer Van Driving course for van drivers contains a wide range of safety and fuel-efficient driving tips. To find out more about our courses please click on this LINK or drop us an email at adrian@adrianhideconsultancy.co.uk

Ringing in the Changes with New Mobile Phone Law

This year has already seen big changes in the Highway Code (check out our blog – if you missed it) and now there’s set to be changes to the mobile phone law too.

Come 25th March, the law tightens up on those drivers who use their phones to video, text, access music or anything else that sees them messing with their phone while behind the wheel.

But what do the changes mean as it was already illegal to text or make a phone call using a handheld devise – (unless in an emergency?)

Essentially anyone caught using a hand-held device for any purpose at all (including taking photos or videos, scrolling through playlists etc), whilst behind the wheel will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence. You can also lose your licence if you passed your driving test in the last two years.

The only time you can use a handheld device is if you’re safely parked up or you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.

Some media reports have suggested that you can be fined for using your mobile to pay for tolls or when you’re going through a fast-food drive-through but that isn’t correct – it will still be legal to use a phone to pay but the vehicle must be stationary.

The change brings the mobile phone law into the 21st century and recognises that mobile phones now do so much than they did when the laws were brought in.

Drivers can continue to use a hands-free device if it’s secured safely in a cradle and Bluetooth, voice command and built-in sat-navs are all still fine to use but people can still be charged with an offence if police find that they are not in proper control of their vehicle.

For more information about the changes in law please click HERE

MDEL appoints Adrian Hide as their driver risk management partner

Background

MDEL Fleet Management is an independent fleet management company based in Chesterfield. Founded in 2017 they manage more than 500 vehicles for clients across the UK and Ireland.

Challenges Faced

MDEL needed an expert to support their clients with their driver risk management services, things like risk assessments, driver safety policies, driver safety handbooks, and training as they didn’t have the resource or expertise in-house.

Requirement

MDEL needed someone they could trust and rely upon to deliver the right support, advice and expertise to their client base.

How We Helped

Following a recommendation from someone they had worked with previously, MDEL brought in Adrian to support their clients.

Adrian has now been working with MDEL since April 2020, supporting their clients with all aspects of driver risk management, helping them to introduce a robust driver risk management programme, which includes the provision of online training for any staff who drive as part of their work and for Line Managers, a special face-to-face workshop designed to help them understand and manage their driver safety responsibilities on behalf of the business.

Managing Director Mike Cuckson said: “Adrian is now essentially an extension of the MDEL team. He’s filled a gap that we didn’t have the expertise in-house to deliver. He’s been working with a number of our clients and that number is growing. We’re really pleased he was recommended to us; he’s been fantastic to work with and the feedback we’ve had from our clients has been fantastic. We look forward to working with him in the future.”

Adrian added, “It’s been a pleasure to work with Mike and his team at MDEL and of course his clients. It’s refreshing to work with such a forward-thinking business, Mike totally understands the merits of good driver risk management and his clients positively embrace all of the recommendations we put forward, I’m very much looking forward to supporting Mike and his clients during the coming year”.

Former Police Officer’s view of our Eco-Safe online course

We’ve spoken to lots of companies about why they brought us in to support them and how we’ve helped them.

We wanted to give you a real picture of what it’s actually like to complete one of our courses, so we’ve started 2022 by doing just that – by speaking to one of our course attendees.

And it’s not every day you get someone as experienced as Mick Tafano taking part. Mick is a former police officer with 31-years’ service under his belt, ten of which was with the traffic police, policing major roads across Staffordshire including the M6.

After retiring from Staffordshire Police in 2008 Mick became an Education Welfare Officer before joining Peak. They have four registered independent day schools in Cannock, Gailey, Stoke-on-Trent and Audley and also have six activity water sports and activity centres in the Cheshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire area.

Mick is one of the 160 staff there who drive as part of their job, transporting up to 100 pupils a day to and from the various locations.

Mick said: “Every member of staff who drives for Peak has completed Adrian’s Eco Driver Safety Course, myself included.

I was an advanced police driver and as a PC, Sergeant and Acting Inspector policed the roads in Staffordshire for a decade so you can imagine the crimes I’ve seen and the accidents I’ve attended – some of which never leave you.

“But despite my experience I still learned from Adrian’s Eco-Safe Driving course. You’re never too old or experienced to learn and this course was a great refresher.

He added: “It’s really well put together, informative and very interesting. For me if gives you that basic awareness that you need to help keep yourself and others safe. One of my colleagues who also did the course has told me how useful she found it and it makes you think about the “what ifs,’ etc, – what if I hadn’t have spotted that, what if that child had run out into the road etc, which is really important, in terms of awareness. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and would definitely recommend it.”

Highway Code Changes

You will have no doubt seen in the press that from January 29th the Highway Code is updating its rules for all types of road users. Here Adrian answers your questions about what those changes mean.

Why has there been a change?

The changes follow a public consultation into a review of the Highway Code to improve road safety for people walking, cycling and horse riding.

Previously the Highway Code guided all roads users to be considerate to each other – essentially placing the same emphasis on drivers and vulnerable road users e.g. cyclists. The new rules have changed that emphasis and have been brought in to help improve road safety for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

I’ve seen the term Hierarchy of Road Users mentioned – what does that mean?

The new rules have brought in a: ‘hierarchy of road users.’

What that means is – that those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in a collision or accident, like an HGV vehicle, bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others.

This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, cars and motorcycles. 

It also means that other more vulnerable road users have a responsibility to reduce danger to pedestrians who are walking.

How many changes are there?

There are eight key changes in the following areas:

  1. The hierarchy of road users which I’ve mentioned
  2. People crossing the road at junctions
  3. Walking, cycling or riding in shared spaces
  4. Positioning in the road when cycling
  5. Overtaking when driving or cycling
  6. People cycling at junctions
  7. People cycling, riding a horse and driving horse-drawn vehicles or roundabouts
  8. Parking, charging and leaving vehicles

Click HERE for detailed information on the changes.

In a snapshot – what are the main changes we will see?

  • The rules give people walking across and people cycling going straight ahead priority when turning in and out of junctions
  • You need to leave at least 1.5 metres when you overtake people cycling at speeds of up to 30mph and give them more space when you pass at higher speeds.
  • Driving at speeds under 10mph and allowing at least two metres of space when passing people riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle
  • Allowing at least two metres of space and keeping to a low speed when you’re passing a person who is walking in the road
  • Encouraging people driving vehicles to open their doors with the hand furthest from the door, to help them look over their shoulder behind them to see people cycling or walking nearby – it’s actually known as the Dutch Reach method.
  • People may now cycle right in the centre of the road or side by side for their own safety, while allowing others to overtake when it’s safe for them to do so

I would encourage people to revisit the Highway Code in full though so they can see the changes in detail, it’s so easy these days, you can access an up-to-date copy of the Highway Cone online, click HERE for the link.

What happens if drivers don’t stick to the rules?

Many of the rules are actually legal requirements so people could of course face fines,

points on their licence or be disqualified.

What would your advice be to road users?

Familiarise yourself with the new Highways Code and try to understand the new rules – if you need any clarification or have any questions we would be happy to help.

Did you know?

Here is a link to the main changes to the Highway Code

Datim Ltd introduces a robust driver risk management programme

Background

DATIM is a long-established, growing, family business, which specialises in architectural Doorsets and Ironmongery for commercial, education, Government, healthcare, industrial, leisure and retail projects.

Challenges Faced

The company has a number of high-mileage drivers and DATIM recognises that driving is a high-risk activity.

Requirement

As a responsible employer, DATIM wanted to do everything possible to keep their staff safe on the road.

How We Helped

The company’s vehicle fleet is managed by MDEL Fleet management. Working in partnership with them Adrian has helped DATIM to introduce a driver risk management programme, which included:

•          An audit on the businesses driving activities

•          Production of a risk assessment and driver safety policy

•          Help with the programme’s roll-out

•          Provision of a Driver Safety Handbook

Adrian has also delivered his Line Manager course to DATIM’s senior management team in Chesterfield. The half-day workshop has been designed to explain Line Manager responsibilities for managing driver safety in the workplace. Car and van drivers at DATIM are also undergoing on-line driver training.

DATIM’s Managing Director Garry Hughes said:

“Adrian’s knowledge of driver risk management is extensive. He guided us through every step of the process, from design to implementation. The Line manager workshops were essential as we know how important it is that everyone understands their responsibilities when it comes to driver safety. Adrian’s course has given us the knowledge and confidence to ensure our driver risk management programme is properly managed. He also went the extra mile by delivering an online webinar to one of the managers who was poorly on the day of training which made sure no one missed out.”

Don’t get caught the ‘morning after’

Even though we are in challenging times, we can’t escape the fact that we are heading into office party season and inevitably, alcohol will play a part at such events.

Most people are responsible and accept that drinking and driving is a definite no no, however, there is a small sector of society who for one reason or another will take to the road and drive after having consumed alcohol, I’m not going to attempt to discuss this, but I am more concerned about the person who ‘might’ drink and drive through lack of knowledge.

Many Police forces have already announced the commencement of their drink-drive campaign and we can expect to see the Police conducting breath tests in the morning, this catches out the unsuspecting driver who was out the night before drinking and did the sensible thing and made alternative arrangements to get home, however, they perhaps didn’t consider the amount of alcohol being consumed and the possibility of being over the limit the following day!

To help avoid getting into the ‘morning after’ scenario, we need to understand drinks as units of alcohol consumed, not the strength of the drink. That’s because it takes the body on average one hour to get rid of one unit of alcohol, it’s a process that we can’t speed up.

Before we go too far into this blog, there is a question we always get asked, ‘how much can I drink before I go over the limit’? This is an impossible question to answer because we are all different, and for some, even a small amount of alcohol impairs their ability to drive safely, even though they may not be over the limit, so, if you are going to drive, absolutely no alcohol is by far the best policy.

So then, how do we know how many units of alcohol are in a drink? That’s simple for bottled and canned drinks, just look at the label on the back, there is a symbol of a bottle or can and a value, if it showed say 1.5, that’s how many units of alcohol the drink contains, meaning that it will take our body one and a half hours to get rid of all that alcohol, remember, one unit per hour.

If we are consuming drinks served in a glass, then it is all about volume and strength. There is a very simple formula to work out how many units, you take the drink volume in ml, then multiply it by the % strength, then divide by 1000. Let’s look at an example, a medium wine (175ml) at 12.5% strength. The calculation is 175 X 12.5 = 2187.5 If you divide this by 1000, you get 2.1875, round this up to 2.2, this is how many units of alcohol that drink contains.

Here are some typical drinks and units:

  • Pint of ordinary strength beer – 2 units
  • Small wine – 1.5 units
  • Standard wine – 2.2 units
  • Large wine – 3.1 units
  • Spirit (25ml measure) – 1 unit

Here’s a shocker – three large glasses of wine is actually the entire bottle, and at an average strength of 13%, that’s 9.75 units, nine and three-quarter hours to get rid of!

Working on the assumption that we may have more than one drink, we would need to tot up all the units consumed over the session, then convert units to hours, so, if you’ve had say 9 units, not a heavy session, it would take 9 hours to get rid of the alcohol!

Although your body will begin to process alcohol straight away, well, usually within 30 minutes or so, it’s likely that you will be adding units faster than you are getting rid of them and it’s impossible to keep tabs and work out when all of the alcohol will have left your body, so, the best option is to calculate the total units in hours, and wok forward in time from when you finished your last drink.

If we take our 9 units as an example, and say we finished drinking at 11:30 pm, around 8:30 the next morning we can safely assume all the alcohol will have gone.

Here are some poignant questions though; what if you drank more, far more, and finished later? And, you had to drive to work the next morning? Is it possible you could still be over the drink-drive limit? If you got pulled in for a spot check by the Police, you might just find the answer to that question the hard way!

The penalties are tough:

Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

You may get:

  • 3 months’ imprisonment
  • up to £2,500 fine
  • a possible driving ban

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

You may get:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a driving ban for at least 1 year (3 years if convicted twice in 10 years)

Setting the penalties aside, drink-related collisions have an immense impact on society, they devastate lives in an unimaginable way, so please, if you do like a drink, think about the morning after, you now know how to work out when it will be safe for you to drive, doing the maths will enable you to work out when to stop drinking.

Business leaders, please inform your staff about the dangers of drinking and driving and in particular, the morning after scenario and, if you are interested in making sure your staff know about this kind of thing, and a whole load of other driver safety topics, could I tempt you to take a look at my driver training courses, especially the online options, here is a LINK to my training page.

Happy Christmas everyone, stay safe out there.