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Success For HGV Safety Perception

As professional drivers, our careers chronically face interrogation from the media and other motorists. Issues surrounding accidents, incidents, emissions and vehicle specification have the most volume amongst news coverage and encourage a negative perception of the drivers and the industry that they are tirelessly committed to. To some extent this concern is understandable; naturally every driver, professional drivers included, want each road journey they take to be a safe one, however, the ability of HGV drivers is generally scrutinised more than others, despite the efforts of many operators in promoting road safety. This creates an undeniable frustration, as professional driving occupations are a service centred upon the demand of societal needs.

Despite common discourses on HGV drivers, last month, the industry was met with some fantastic news that hopefully reflects a broader change of perspective and opinion towards professional drivers. According to WMB Logistics, lorry operators, based on a survey of 2,267 British motorists, are the safest drivers on the road due to the amount of time they spend travelling the country’s tarmac routes.

Throughout 2018, as always, the industry continued in its efforts to further improve the safety of both its vehicles and driver skills; this news is therefore a welcomed response to 12 months of hard work. The study found a substantial 22% of correspondents reported lorry drivers to be the safest road users, closely followed by parents at 21%, delivery drivers at 13%, coach drivers at 11% and new drivers at 10%. It is overwhelmingly positive to see that not only have HGV drivers been ranked so highly, but other logistic workers and LGV operators also fall within the top five. This faith in such professions hopefully signals a changing attitude towards our nation’s drivers, and during a somewhat hostile period as we defend our value (particularly in reference to road safety) in comparison to the likes of autonomous lorries, the news is well-timed.

In light of this news, here at Barnes, we wanted to seize the opportunity to briefly reflect on the efforts made by the industry over the past 12 months to improve road safety. In May of last year, Highways England launched a fantastic virtual reality training programme that aimed to increase awareness of blind spots using a smartphone app. Additional safety procedures were implemented by I_HeERO, who worked to install eCall systems within HGVs to alert emergency staff of the cargo the lorry is carrying in the event of an accident so that more efficient dispatch actions can be made by emergency responders. Stricter regulations surrounding the fining of exceeding driver hours were implemented, and a campaign partnership between the Road Haulage Association and Vision Express offering free eye tests to motorists was launched. Further efforts have been actioned in reducing vehicle emissions, bettering tyre pressure legislation and continually raising awareness of driver training courses. This is just a brief reflection of the actions taken by the professional driving industry, and we are confident that the next 12 months holds even greater efforts.

We want to congratulate everyone within the industry for their determination in increasing road safety and in practicing high levels of care and caution – it is because of our efforts and commitment to the industry that the sector has been recognised as the safest motorist category on UK roads. We’re positive that this title demonstrates the beginning of a change in opinion towards HGV operators.

Let us know what else we have achieved and what we should be working towards next in our road safety efforts by dropping us a tweet!

HGV Levy Changes: Is Tax Our Best Solution?

For those in the logistics industry, news of the new HGV Levy Tax has been unavoidable. In essence, in order to tackle emission levels in our country’s most polluted areas, from 2019 the Government will introduce additional tax rules aimed at HGVs which don’t meet the latest emissions standards.

 

Looking to tackle nitrogen oxide in particular, the Government claims that lorries make up for 5% of the country’s mileage, but produce around 20% of the total emissions in the UK. Those who do not meet the new standards will see a significant 20% added to their tax bill. But there is an upside – those who do meet the standard will be eligible for a 10% reduction in their road tax.

 

Of course, the protection of our planet is of the utmost importance. Here at Barnes Logistics it is a much discussed topicon our blog page, and one which – as a responsible business – we understand we have a significant role to play. There is no denying that HGVs produce larger amounts of emissions and this is a key factor to tackle in the battle for the future of our planet, but is a simple tax the best means of creating a better future for us all?

 

The main issue with the new HGV taxes are very aptly summed up by Christopher Snelling, Head of UK Policy at the FTA: “Over 90% of everything the public eat, drink, wear and build with travels on an HGV at some point in the supply chain.”

 

This poignant statement brings the Government’s previous 5% mileage and 20% emissions claim into a much broader perspective. Of course we must work towards a greener future where lorries are concerned, but the logistics industry is one which is weaved throughout the entire of the UK’s economy – it is not a merely internally benefitting business.

 

Almost every single business across all sectors rely on incoming deliveries of ingredients or parts, and outgoing distributions are necessary for finished products to be shipped to paying customers. So although HGVs may create a fifth of the country’s nitrogen oxide emissions, over 90% of the country benefit from the services provided by logistics experts. So why should drivers and logistics companies be the only ones punished?

 

Of course, we understand that a line must be drawn somewhere, and that taxing businesses for their use of logistics services is somewhat unachievable, and may impact small businesses in particular who may struggle to find the extra funds to cover the costs of their deliveries.

 

So what could be a more sophisticated alternative? Perhaps in the future, the taxes saved and made from these new laws could all be invested into the advancement of more eco-friendly HGV technology, and these technologies could be made more accessible to logistics businesses of all sizes. It would seem to us that the solution lies in creating more advanced possibilities for the logistics industry, as opposed to the relative simplicity of punishing one body for a service that is required by all. If the future of HGVs is lower emissions, more investment must be made into greener technology.

 

What are your thoughts on the new taxes, do you think that there is a better alternative?