The Department of Transport manages road traffic legislation in the UK. Their purpose is to ensure that anyone using the public highways complies with this legislation.
Both the police and Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) take the lead in enforcement by maintaining a roadside presence, as well as stopping and checking vehicles and driver’s are compliant. This includes checking that all necessary documents and licenses appropriate to heavy goods vehicles are current, authentic and valid, including HGV insurance.
Carrying hazardous or dangerous goods have increased risks of being involved in accidents or incidents which can have potentially disastrous consequences, such as tanker fuel explosions.
Hazardous goods are classed at different levels; there are regulations which deal specifically with the carriage of dangerous goods. These regulations place duties on all involved with the carriage of these types of goods to ensure they know what they have to do to reduce the risks. It is the haulage company’s duty to inform HGV insurance companies the nature of the goods they are carrying in order for accurate assessment and insurance policies which will typically include Employer’s liability insurance and Public Liability insurance.
There will always be risks associated with driving. Carrying out regular risk assessments on all vehicles, employees, loading and unloading areas is seen to be a very proactive way to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries which HGV insurance companies look favourably on.
Employers have responsibilities to their employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act to maintain their safety and reduce as many risks as possible. This includes driving time, as well as riding in a vehicle while at work whether it is in a company, hired or personal vehicle.
Driver tiredness is thought to be a major cause of road traffic accidents involving HGVs. The number of fatalities due to sleep related accidents is three times higher than other accidents as drivers fail to swerve or apply their brakes.
Hard hitting advertising campaigns have been launched by OSA to bring people’s attention to the risks of sleep disorders. One particular visual image is that of a young girl wearing a t-shirt with the slogan ‘Daddy used to drive a big lorry, then he fell asleep’ in bold lettering across the front. For the haulage industry HGV insurance premiums continue to pay huge amounts of money for road accident claims, screening drivers for sleep related conditions is encouraged to try and reduce the number of accidents involving HGVs on the UK’s roads.
Up-dating driver training is a pro-active safety measure which may help reduce the risks associated with driving a heavy goods vehicle. Insurance companies will be happy to help you find the most suitable and applicable training and re-training for your truck drivers. Some HGV insurance companies will reward such positive steps and offer generous discounts for those who care and look after their drivers.
Driver training can also be a cost effective way to help reduce fuel and vehicle maintenance costs. Training drivers to reduce excessive breaking and be less heavy with their right foot on the accelerator can not only help reduce the risks of accidents and HGV Insurance claims, but save your company money!