Home truths – Brigade shines a spotlight on safety in the home delivery industry

We live increasingly in an on-demand economy, where products are bought online and delivered rapidly, often within a matter of hours.

While the convenience of internet shopping cannot be doubted, there is a price to pay. The UK’s fleet of delivery vans and light goods vehicles is growing every year – in 2016, the number of vans topped 4 million for the first time. Van traffic growth has outstripped all other vehicles, recording the largest percentage increase of all vehicles in the Department for Transport’s latest figures, published in December 2017.

Van drivers are under increasing pressure to deliver within specified time slots, resulting in heavier road congestion and the risk of accidents as they attempt to fulfil their busy schedules. Negotiating narrow residential streets and reversing into unfamiliar spaces can pose hazards for even the most experienced of drivers. The dangers include:

  • Reversing accidents due to the rear blind spot
  • Nearside blind spots causing cyclist collisions in urban areas
  • Collisions due to manoeuvring in tight spaces
  • False insurance claims for damaged vehicles or property

Thankfully, fleet managers recognise the necessity for stringent safety measures to protect not just their drivers, but the vulnerable road users and pedestrians around their vehicles.

Indeed, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty of care to carry out driver risk assessments and protect their staff. Safer driving courses and safety upgrades on vehicles are two key measures that best-practice employers have implemented as standard.

Brigade Electronics supplies cameras, rear sensors and reversing alarms to many of the UK’s major supermarket delivery fleets. We’re proud of the fact that every day, our superb safety devices help to prevent collisions while protecting workers, pedestrians and cyclists.

Our reversing alarms use multi-frequency broadband technology, creating a ‘ssh-ssh’ sound which is gentle on the ear and dissipates quickly, meaning the alarm can only be heard in the danger zone. As an alternative to traditional ‘beep beep’ alarms, Brigade’s bbs-tek® White Sound® warning alarms eliminate noise nuisance while still providing the ultimate in safety.

Rear sensors, such as Backscan® ultrasonic obstacle detection are similarly invaluable in the quest for improved road safety, giving an audible and visual warning to the driver in the case of a moving or stationary obstacle around the vehicle. In addition, camera monitor systems and mobile digital recording all have a part to play. For example, in the event of an incident, camera footage can provide incontrovertible evidence, protecting drivers and companies from false accusations and insurance claims.

Home delivery is only set to grow over coming years. In the grocery shopping sector alone, the UK currently represents the world’s third largest online grocery market, behind South Korea and Japan, and there’s no sign of an end to the boom. Drone delivery has been much talked about, but it’s likely to be decades before the technology is ready for wide-scale delivery (throwing up numerous new safety issues in the process). While our research teams work tirelessly to counter future safety implications, we will continue to develop present-day solutions that make our roads and pavements safer for all.

For further information about Brigade and our van safety products, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.