Posted: June 2020
Over the last few decades, there has been a significant commitment to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on the road nationally. As a result, the UK now has one of the best road safety records in the world. Together with the EU, it has introduced a number of initiatives to improve road conditions, protect vulnerable road users and prevent collisions. Through studying and researching the causes of collisions, successful road safety strategies have been developed resulting in the implementation of a variety of road safety legislations for different sectors.
Safety in the workplace is always a huge concern for any company, including those operating road-going commercial vehicles. A recent report by the European Transport Safety Council has revealed that 25% of road deaths in the EU involve a goods vehicle. Furthermore, HGVs are seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash on minor roads compared with any other vehicle.
Understanding the different types of safety legislation for commercial vehicles in the UK and Europe is critical to ensure operators can continue safely and legally. Here we have put together our guide to the different types of legislation, how they might impact you and the safety solutions you will need to meet and surpass these regulations.
FORS is a voluntary accreditation scheme for fleet operators which aims to raise the level of quality within fleet operations, and to demonstrate which operators are achieving exemplary levels of best practice in safety, efficiency, and environmental protection.
There are three levels of attainment for FORS: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Operators will be audited by providing evidence of systems, procedures and documentation and must meet the specified minimum standards set by FORS in order to achieve the relevant FORS standard. These are regularly repeated to ensure the level is maintained or improved.
Vehicle safety equipment and the specification that equipment should meet is pivotal to attaining each standard. This includes fitting close proximity sensors, such as Brigade’s Ultrasonic Obstacle Detection to alert drivers when objects or other road users are in the vicinity.
Whether you operate in the UK or you are transporting goods from Europe, the recently introduced Direct Vision Standard applies to any vehicle over 12 tonnes driving into Greater London.
Vehicles will need to meet a minimum standard for direct vision to comply or upgrade to comply with the Safe System. This includes the installation of extra devices for indirect vision such as a sensor system to alert the driver to the presence of vulnerable road users on the nearside of the vehicle, audible vehicle manoeuvring alerts to warn vulnerable road users when a vehicle is turning and a fully operational camera monitoring system. The good news is, if you’re already compliant with FORS Silver or above then you will automatically meet the requirements of the DVS Safe System.
WRRR is a freight safety initiative aligned with Transport for London’s Vision Zero, including the Direct Vision Standard and its association with the minimum FORS Silver standard. However, unlike Direct Vision Standard, which focuses on vehicles over 12 tonnes, WRRR applies to vehicles 3.5 tonnes and above. In order to comply with WRRR, fleet operators need to have achieved FORS Silver or FORS Gold accreditation. More information about WRRR can be found at Transport for London’s website.
The CLOCS standard is the direct result of a collaboration between the construction and fleet sectors to address shared issues. It draws together evolving and applied best practice from a number of standards, policies and codes of practice to provide one industry standard that can be implemented by regulators, clients, principal contractors and fleet operators.
For fleet operators, this means maintaining road safety by ensuring all vehicle journeys are compliant with the CLOCS standard. Ultimately, this is meeting the minimum requirement of being FORS Silver accredited.
For UK companies operating vehicles on the continent and vice versa, there are a whole new set of challenges to ensure fleets remain compliant while both at home and abroad.
Currently, standards vary from country to country, with some countries operating more stringent legislation than others. This includes Germany’s regulation Abbiegeassistent (Turn Assistant), which recommends that trucks over 7.5 tonnes are fitted with a side camera and a side sensor warning system to alert the driver to objects and people in the nearside blind spot – particularly when the truck is turning right. While this is a voluntary initiative, it is likely that this will change in the coming years especially with the introduction of EU legislation changes in 2022.
This new legislation will make vehicle safety systems mandatory on vehicles operating in Europe. These include devices that reduce dangerous blind spots on trucks and buses, such as Brigade’s best-selling Backeye®360.