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Commercial vehicle drivers not appropriately equipped for busy Christmas period

With Christmas looming just around the corner, the logistics industry is braced to deliver as the nation embarks on its festive shopping spree.

Truck and commercial vehicle drivers know all too well that this is the busiest time of the year – in early December the Road Haulage Association issued a warning about the “chronic lack” of drivers. Furthermore, retail analysts at LCP Consulting also warned that 17 million Christmas deliveries will arrive late this year.

We recently surveyed 500 UK commercial vehicle drivers (LGV to 7.5 tonnes) to discover how prepared they feel for the festive peak. When asked if are using navigation devices appropriate for their vehicle size, almost half (47.9%) of respondents said they were not. This is despite an overwhelming 92% reporting that commercial vehicle-specific navigation would improve safety in their job.

Almost half (47.9%) of the drivers surveyed however are not being provided with an appropriate navigation device for their vehicle size by their employer. As a result, over a third (36.7%) of truck drivers use a navigation app on their personal smartphone that is designed for use in a car.

Needless to say, this increases the risk of drivers taking a route that is inappropriate for their vehicle weight, size or load. The consequences include wasted miles and fuel, fines or, in extreme cases, accidents.

The findings that so many respondents are using inappropriate satellite navigation systems should be alarming to fleet managers. It is important that employers properly equip their drivers for the job, and that they understand the fundamental difference in the GPS navigation needs of the commercial vehicle driver compared to those of an average car driver. By providing employees with a truck-specific navigation solution, fleets not only help ensure the safety of their driver and the wider public, but can also substantially reduce costs.

The survey also delves a little deeper into the consumer expectations and pressures of the on-demand society. In today’s era of same day deliveries it is vital that drivers avoid making routing mistakes in trying to meet tight delivery schedules. Half (52.7%) of the drivers surveyed feel that the pressure of the job has resulted in their taking a route that is not appropriate for their vehicle.

37% of respondents added that tiredness was the greatest threat to safety, yet 38% don’t take the recommended rest break every two hours. In addition, the average break is just 27.03 minutes. The research also found that as many as 30% – 40% of accidents involving heavy trucks are caused by driver tiredness.

In addition, every year there are dozens of reported incidents in which truck drivers have caused severe disruption by using navigation systems meant for cars. It’s vitally important that employers address these issues, giving drivers the tools and training they need to carry out their duties safely. By embracing technology, fleet managers can solve many of these day-to-day challenges, improve punctuality, ease pressure as well as find a good spot to rest or to get a bite to eat!

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