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1 in 4 drivers expect motorway smash due to bloated lorry traffic

Drivers are increasingly anxious about their safety out on Britain’s roads after a sharp rise in the amount of freight being transported on UK motorways.

Government figures show that lorry traffic on motorways has increased by more than 15 per cent in five years, with lorries racking up a record high of 7.9 billion vehicle miles in 2017 alone.

In a survey from road safety group Brake, more than three-quarters of respondents reckoned that too much freight was being shifted about on Britain’s motorways.

This has sparked calls for further investment in railways to alleviate the pressure on UK roads.

More concerning was the survey’s finding that more than one in four drivers thought it was likely that they would be involved in a fatal or serious crash on a motorway or dual carriageway at some point in the future.

Lorries are bigger and heavier too

The government’s ‘Road Traffic Estimates: Great Britain 2017’ report also revealed that the size and weight of lorries is increasing.

Traffic of lorries with four or more axles increased by 44 per cent in 2017, compared to 1997, while lorries with less than four axles had fallen by 27 per cent.

Additionally, road safety campaigners have accused the government of prioritising capacity over safety after introducing truck platooning trials and all-lane running on motorways.

More than three-quarters of the motorists surveyed (77 per cent) deemed truck platooning as “frightening”, with the potential for “very high casualties” if the technology went wrong.

On the subject of all-lane running, only a third agreed that using the hard shoulder as a driving lane would improve safety.

Justified concerns

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said drivers were right to be so concerned over their safety on motorways.

“Drivers are particularly wary over the increase in freight traffic and it’s clear that trials of truck platooning will only exacerbate this concern,” he commented.

Mr Harris urged the government to prioritise safety over capacity once again and ensure that any changes such as all-lane running are robustly tested before being rolled-out.

Jez Strong, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “Freight companies can ensure their lorries are being driven safely by introducing telematics.”

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Gamification can help telematics-equipped fleets achieve real results

Fleet safety isn’t a game, but gamification could be key to engaging company drivers and making telematics a success.

That’s the view of Anthony O’Halloran, client partner EMEA at Verizon Connect.

Speaking to Fleet News, he explained that rewarding drivers for exceptional behaviour behind the wheel is a more effective approach than punishing shoddy driving.

“It’s about ensuring there is something in it for them. If we take the stick approach and just beat them with it, it’s never going to work,” Mr O’Halloran said.

Verizon Connect recently introduced a coach application that allows drivers to see their own behaviour style in a score card format. This way, they can compare their performance with that of their colleagues.

The very best drivers are named ‘driver of the month’ and can receive an extra day’s holiday or a cash incentive.

Mr O’Halloran continued: “The point is to make it a fun environment for them where there is some competitiveness but at the same time, they’re learning.

“It’s about empowering the driver to take responsibility for their own actions, so we give them the tools to do that.”

A fleet can introduce gamification by changing up the parameters every two to three months.

For example, if a company notices a speeding trend, they can focus on tackling that with an incentive or reward programme to reduce speeding. To keep things interesting, fleet decision makers could switch it up by focusing on fuel usage.

This advice makes a lot of sense because video games are the most popular form of entertainment in the world.

Gaming grew by 10.7 per cent in the past year, generating an estimated £86.92 billion in revenue worldwide, compared to TV’s £78.68 billion, according to Reuters.

Jez Strong, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “Your workforce might not seem the kind of people to spend an evening blasting away on Fortnite or Grand Theft Auto, but it’s easy to appreciate how adding a game element can add a fun layer for company vehicle drivers.”

Your business can benefit from affordable telematics with no hidden start-up fees or long-term commitments. Find out how at

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