Fleet managers looking to introduce the latest life-saving technologies will benefit from new guidance published by the Global Fleet Champions campaign.
Vehicle procurement for safety: Passive safety systems urges organisations that employ people who drive for work to put safety first and introduce the safest vehicles into their fleets.
The guidance guides fleet managers through choosing and fitting their vehicles with passive safety systems – internal and external safety features that reduce the risk of death and serious injury in the event of a road crash.
Common examples include seat belts and airbags – which hold vehicle occupants in place, physically preventing them from hitting the interior of a vehicle in a crash. Others include seat belt reminders – electronic systems that use sensors and alarms to remind vehicle occupants to belt up – and ‘forgiving’ vehicle structures, that prevent people outside the vehicle from being hit by a single rigid component, thereby reducing the risk of injury.
The latest report from the Global Fleet Champions campaign features expert advice from key players in road safety, including Jolyon Carroll, vehicle safety and technology consultant at TRL. Jolyon advises fleet managers to consider the benefits of passive safety systems for the protection of people inside and outside the vehicle, before buying, leasing or hiring any vehicle. He also recommends that fleet managers should learn which passive safety systems are already fitted to their vehicles and ensure they are being used correctly.
Richard Frampton, senior lecturer in vehicle safety at Loughborough University, advises using the information provided by independent crash test initiatives, such as the NCAPs, to help determine which vehicles provide the highest levels of safety while remaining fit for purpose.
The European Parliament has given the green light to a new package of safety measures that will come into force from 2022. Experts believe the new safety standards could save 25,000 lives in 15 years.
Measures soon to be mandated include full-width frontal occupant protection crash test, improved seat belts for cars and vans, and safety glass to prevent serious injuries from shattered windscreens.
One study from the USA suggests that pedestrian deaths caused by road crashes could be reduced by 27% if all vehicles were installed with state-of-the-art passive protection measures . European estimates are more conservative, but estimate that in similar circumstances serious injuries to pedestrians could be reduced by up to 12% .
A recent study by Brake found that half of UK drivers aged 18-24 admit to being in a car with someone who wasn’t wearing a seat belt in the past year. According to the World Health Organization, wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of death among drivers and front seat occupants by between 45 and 50% .
Sarah Plumb, senior fleet operator at road safety charity Brake, said: “It is vital that fleet managers prioritise safety and introduce the safest vehicles available into their fleet. This guidance report is a valuable resource for any professional with responsibility for at-work drivers and vehicles.”
1. Moran, D., Bose, D. & Bhalla, K. (2017), Impact of improving vehicle front design on the burden of pedestrian injuries in Germany, the United States and India. Traffic Injury Prevention 18(8), 832-838
2. Hardy, B.J., Lawrence, G.J.L., Knight, I.M. and Carroll, J.A. (2006), A study in the feasibility of measures relating to the protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users – Final 2006 (UPR/VE/045/06). TRL, UK
3. World Health Organization (2018) Global status report on road safety 2018