Highways England (now National Highways) was responsible for operating and maintaining England’s major A roads and motorways. This included gritting the roads to make them safer in icy conditions.
Every year, Highways England ran a campaign to increase awareness of gritters and how to act safely around them. This was because in 2018/19, 36 Highways England gritters were driven into, temporarily taking them off the road.
In 2018/19, Highways England stepped up its work around the gritters to improve safety for its operators and other people on the roads. It ran a mixture of practical changes to vehicles and a targeted communications campaign, focusing on the importance of giving gritters enough space and showcasing the journey that grit makes before it hits the road.
Over six months, Highways England produced 19 news releases, 54 interviews and 15 media events. This was accompanied by a social media campaign, with a dedicated staff weather advice page.
To ensure the campaign stood out, it liaised with a salt mine to produce a joint pitch for TV, securing coverage on BBC One. It also worked with the weather forecasting officials to provide forecast and safety advice.
Due to this campaign, the number of incidents involving Highways England’s gritters halved compared to the previous winter.
Highways England won the 2020 Public Sector Driver Safety Award at the UK Fleet Champions Awards.
See more previous winners.