Rise in gig economy drivers raises road safety concerns

Written by: Abaranji Sivakumar, Last updated:14th February 2022

Rise in gig economy drivers raises road safety concerns

Concerns have been raised over a lack of road safety awareness among so-called gig economy drivers.

Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of self-employed couriers or taxi drivers have not been given safety training on managing risks on the road, while 65 per cent are not given any safety equipment, according to research from University College London (UCL).

The study also highlights how mobile phones and time pressures are significant issues that could result in an incident.

It is estimated that 25 to 33 per cent of road casualties are work-related and, in 2016, work-related crashes resulted in 529 deaths and 5,269 serious injuries.

John Greenhough, fleet consultant at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said the research outlines why businesses should be providing their drivers with the proper training and resources, as well as information on the risks that could emerge when self-employed drivers simply don’t bother.

He labelled the study’s findings “worrying”, in light of the increasing prevalence of the gig economy, and suggests an increase in work-related accidents could materialise.

“This danger is highlighted by those surveyed as part of the research, more than 40 per cent of whom reported their vehicle had been damaged as a result of a collision while working, with one in ten saying someone had been injured,” Mr Greenhough said.

“This demonstrates the need, more than ever, for all employers to develop a systematic approach to managing occupational road risk that is appropriate to their business.”

RoSPA offers information on managing occupational road risk at rospa.com/occupational-safety/our-projects/morr/ and practical solutions at rospa.com/safety-training/on-road/driving-at-work/.

Jez Strong, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “Another effective way businesses can minimise road risk is by introducing telematics to their fleet vehicles.”