Sheriff makes recomendations after Glasgow bin lorry tragedy – part 2

This is part two of two of an article that originally appeared in Freight in the City’s sister publication, Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe and get 12 issues for just £12?

The recommendation that non-driver crew members should be given basic training in how to stop a refuse truck in an emergency, aimed not just at Glasgow City Council but at local authorities across the UK, will happen in Glasgow according to the council’s spokesman.

“We only got the recommendation on Monday so we’re still looking at exactly how that’s going to work, but we certainly will implement it.”

He suggests that while there is no targeted training that he knows of in the road transport industry at present, local authorities are likely to have the capacity to conduct it in-house.

“We have various pieces of available training for the operatives. So it will be something that we’re able to do in-house, because we have driver trainers, too, who are experts in the vehicles that we have.”


Campbell says that while the sheriff’s call for the training was aimed specifically at Glasgow City Council, it is likely that authorities across the country will take heed of the message.

“I’m sure local authorities will jump on the idea that if you’re in a crew situation, it makes a lot of sense for everyone on board to have some basic understanding of how to stop the vehicle in an emergency.

“We’ve all got to listen and learn from what’s happened here. I think it will have an effect across the country, because all the local authorities now will be thinking ‘Oh my goodness, I don’t want that happening here’, so they’ll have to look at what’s come out of the court to see if there’s anything in their operations they can change to avoid it.”

Sheriff Beckett called for a possible change in legislation around the freedoms doctors have to report concerns about drivers’ health directly to the DVLA, or even an obligation to do so. The DVLA said that it was “carefully considering the recommendations in the report”.

While it remains to be seen whether the transport secretary will sanction such a change, there remains the worry that drivers will be dissuaded from going to see a doctor at all if they feel unwell. “They need to keep their licences because they have to feed their families,” says the RHA’s Campbell.

“But at the same time, no driver wants to be involved in something like what happened in Glasgow. So if there’s something they can do to prevent that happening, I think they’ll do it.”

Sheriff makes recomendations after Glasgow bin lorry tragedy – part 1

Aside from the six lives lost in the Glasgow bin lorry accident, perhaps the saddest fact is that, according to the results of the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) into the tragedy, it could quite possibly have been avoided.

In the report on the five-week inquiry, released last month (December 2015), sheriff John Beckett QC placed the majority of the responsibility for the accident on driver Harry Clarke’s decision to cover up his history of blackouts.

Clarke, the report said, “repeatedly lied in order to gain and retain jobs”. This has prompted the call for a change in legislation around the communication between doctors, drivers and the DVLA when it comes to licence permissions.

The report outlined a series of recommendations to a variety of bodies, including Glasgow City Council, to avoid similar accidents in the future. But just how realistic are these suggestions, and when are we likely to see them implemented, if at all?

On a technical level, the sheriff called on Glasgow City Council to ensure all of its vehicles are fitted with Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS). This would mean any new vehicles must have the system in place while older vehicles without AEBS (including the Daf involved in the accident) should be retrofitted. While EU legislation has mandated AEBS on all new HGVs, “special purpose vehicles”, bin lorries included, are exempt from the ruling.

The system, the FAI report explained, would probably not have prevented the accident if it had been in place in 2014. “The legislative requirement is for AEBS to be able to detect a saloon car,” it said and added that “AEBS on Daf trucks will detect passenger cars, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, or any kind of object which reflects the AEBS radar beam.”


However as the report said that it is not possible to pin down the minimum size of what the vehicle would detect, it seems unlikely the pedestrians hit by the bin lorry in the accident would have triggered the system.

The report confirmed that it is indeed “difficult” for pedestrians to be detected by the system, however, “depending on the reflective quality of their clothing it may be possible for them to be detected by AEBS on Daf trucks”.

The sheriff’s recommendations are to be adhered to all the same in this instance, and a spokesman for Glasgow City Council says that the change is already under way. “As it happens, we’re in the midst of a procurement exercise for some refuse trucks at the moment and they will be fitted with the system, so that’s ongoing,” he says.

He adds, however, that retrofitting the current fleet is not as easy. “It wasn’t an option when we bought the vehicles, and the manufacturer has said it’s not possible to retrofit them.

“What we’re doing now is checking if there’s anywhere else that it could be retrofitted [by another fitter] – it’s not immediately apparent that it is but we’re just checking.”

While the sheriff’s recommendation was mostly for the “larger vehicles” owned by the council, the spokesman says the council was looking at the possibility of installing AEBS across the entire fleet.

The RHA’s director of policy for Scotland Chris Campbell says he thought the recommendation, made towards local authorities across the UK, would be well met.

“But it should be considered that emergency braking systems could also cause problems, if the vehicle locks up and skids,” he adds.

Camden Council introduces safety spot checks across contractors’ HGVs

Camden Council has introduced spot checks on contractors’ vehicles working on its sites to ensure they meet strict safety standards and do not pose a risk to vulnerable road users.

The checks mean that any contractor working for the council must meet a minimum level of work-related road risk standards (WRRR). These include:

  • Accreditation to at least Fors (or equivalent) bronze level, to demonstrate legal compliance;
  • Driver training relating to vulnerable road users and the challenges of driving in an urban environment;
  • Ensuring vehicles are fitted with additional safety features to reduce the blind spots that are present on most large vehicles, reducing the chance of a collision;
  • Driver licence checks and collision reporting and analysis.

To ensure the standards are followed, a monitoring and enforcement procedure has been developed, which incorporates spot safety checks of contractors’ vehicles. Where any issues are identified, the contractor is obliged to rectify the issue within a set period of time.

Camden’s own vehicle fleet is compliant with the WRRR standard and has achieved Fors silver accreditation. It is also currently working towards achieving gold accreditation.

The council is also a champion of the Clocs standard, which is now a planning requirement for all private developments in the borough, as well as a requirement for its own construction projects.

Councillor Phil Jones, cabinet member for regeneration, transport & planning, said: “In Camden, we take a proactive role in improving the safety of large vehicles travelling through our borough and London.

“We have also used the opportunity to introduce changes to our procurement practices to include stringent road safety requirements, as well as via our planning process to ensure safer vehicle operation on construction projects in the borough.

“This means we are the first borough to monitor and spot check compliance for safety equipment on large vehicles as well as driver training and accreditation.”



TRL launches road accident investigation course for fleet managers

The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) has today launched a new CPD-accredited vehicle accident investigation course for fleet, operation and health and safety managers.

It is designed to equip those responsible for fleet management with the skills to address issues arising from incidents involving company vehicles and staff.

The two-day course will teach attendees to understand, investigate and assess vehicle accidents.

Participants will be given the introductory skills required to analyse physical evidence and produce conclusions about the circumstances of an accident, with topics covered including: health and safety considerations, injury causation, vehicle examination, reconstruction methods and report writing.

Upon completion of the course, TRL said attendees will be able to:

  • Capture potentially critical short live evidence from incident scenes;
  • Investigate, understand and take corrective actions following an accident;
  • Support the staff disciplinary process with evidence if necessary;
  • Advise the company’s legal position following an accident;
  • Base future vehicle safety policies, investment and actions on facts.

Individuals attending the course will also gain 11 CPD hours, which can be allocated to their professional development record.

“The course is not about teaching fleet managers how to manage their fleet effectively,” said Helen Cotton, safety and technology group manager at TRL. “It’s about arming them with the skills needed to investigate and gather facts from accidents. This not only helps to facilitate decision making and corrective actions, but can inform an organisation’s legal position and help reduce insurance costs.”

“Even minor injury accidents can result in stress, lost productivity and criminal or civil litigation, so it’s imperative that businesses understand the appropriate steps to take to mitigate these risks,” she added.

The next training course is scheduled to take place at TRL’s offices in Wokingham on 11 – 12 November 2015. For more information on the course, availability and booking details please contact at or 01344 770137.

HGV safety a key topic at Freight in the City Expo seminars

Expert speakers at last week’s Freight in the City Expo discussed in depth the strides already taken, and new initiatives and technology being developed, to make HGV movements on urban roads safer.

Steve Summerskill, senior lecturer in product and industrial design at Loughborough Design School, presented research into HGV blind spots, commissioned by TfL. It studied 19 models, including some of the latest low-entry vehicles to provide a comparison with standard configuration designs.

While results showed much variability between blind spots on standard cab designs, low-entry vehicles were shown to have superior direct vision, both at the sides and the front of the cab. It was also identified that variables, such as better window design and driver positioning in standard cab configurations could also help reduce blind spots.

The university is looking to define a standard for direct vision from truck cabs, which it would like to see adopted across the EU. It will also look at driver cognitive overload. “Is it reasonable to expect a driver to use six mirrors and three or more windows to look for vulnerable road users?” asked Summerskill.

Nick Blake, head of engineering at Mercedes-Benz Trucks, spoke of rapid advancements in vehicle technology, such as blind spot detection systems, automatic braking and autonomous vehicles being developed at manufacturer level, adding that often “technology is moving ahead of legislation”.

Blake urged the industry to rethink the type of delivery vehicle used in cities for all types of distribution, and not only focus on construction lorries. “Should we be using the same vehicle trunking up and down the motorway very successfully for delivering goods in an urban environment? I would suggest not.”

Sean McGrae, senior manager national transport, Tarmac, said the company’s focus on safety had paid dividends with reduced blameworthy incident rates, lower insurance premiums, increased customer confidence and contracts won based on its safety credentials.

Tarmac took the decision to not only fit Clocs standard equipment on its own-account fleet, but also fund the cost of safety gear across its subcontractors’ vehicles. “We funded the underruns and side sensors and audible alerts, and we’re now funding their Fors membership and compliance.”

The company also fits alcohol-testing interlock devices on its own vehicles as well as a telephone system that will not allow calls to be answered while the ignition is on.

McGrae stressed that vulnerable road user safety training for drivers was the key to ensuring all the initiatives were effective.

The final session in the HGV safety seminars saw the launch of an exciting new competition for students by TfL – the Future Truck Design Awards – with youngsters encouraged to design the ultimate safety truck for modern city environments.

Freight in the CIty Expo took place on 27 October at London’s Alexandra Palace.


ECO Stars joins forces with Route Monkey to boost operators’ fleet efficiency

ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme is partnering with Route Monkey to help freight operators make their fleet operations more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Members of ECO Stars – a voluntary scheme that provides guidance and recognition for operators striving to the reduce fuel consumption and harmful emissions from their fleet vehicles – will now be able to access Route Monkey’s optimisation software, which the company said can shave up to 20% off fleet running costs.

Ann Beddoes of Barnsley Metropolitan Council, the scheme manager for ECO Stars, said: “We are delighted to be working with Route Monkey – a company whose services align perfectly with ECO Stars’ objectives – and we continue to seek out partnerships with organisations to enhance the benefits of the scheme for our members.”

Colin Ferguson, CEO of Route Monkey, said: “ECO Stars is a fantastic initiative that has a fantastic membership of public and private sector fleets. By working closely together with ECO Stars we can deliver even greater efficiency savings for these members.”

ECO Stars was created in 2009 in South Yorkshire and has since expanded to 18 schemes across the UK, with more in the pipeline. It is open to fleets of all sizes and types of operation.

Route Monkey’s optimisation system uses algorithm-based technology capable of making millions of calculations in a relatively short space of time to help eliminate unnecessary fleet mileage and improve vehicle utilisation.

The company has also developed unique algorithms for identifying where and how ultra-low carbon vehicles can be deployed, and has been working with local authorities in Scotland to help them explore if electric vehicles could work in their fleets.

Both Route Monkey and ECO Stars were exhibitors at the Freight in the City Expo, which took place at Alexandra Palace in London on 27 October.


New safety braking system to prevent runaway HGVs to be launched at Freight in the City Expo

Vision Techniques is launching a new safety system at Freight in the City that will prevent an HGV from rolling away if the handbrake has not been applied.

VTBrakeSafe automatically applies a vehicle’s handbrake if the driver has forgotten to use it, as well as providing an audible alarm.

Technical manager Nigel Armstrong said the company recognised the need for a failsafe system to prevent incidents of rollaway accidents affecting freight vehicles, and began working on the design earlier this year.

“We’re very proud to be the only provider of a system that will stop a vehicle automatically without driver interaction, essentially taking away the risk of unexpected movement,” he added.

The company said the new system has been installed onto fleet vehicles at Craven Council in Skipton.

Craven Council fleet manager Steve Parkinson said: “It’s a simple solution to a potentially devastating problem. Having a failsafe like this on a vehicle is a health and safety necessity. We’re really happy VT came to us first with this system.”

As the handbrake system has been developed in-house by Vision Techniques’ own technical team, VT BrakeSafe will integrate with other safety products such as recording or telematic systems to provide data and statistics to fleet managers.

Armstrong added: “We are in the process of installing trials with some of our biggest customers and we’re proud to bring new innovation to our customers, once again leading the way in vehicle safety.”

VT BrakeSafe is being launched at Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday 27 October, alongside the new cyclist-detection system VT TurnAware. Why not register now to attend the urban logistics event of the year!

Transport for London’s road safety actions recognised at European level

Transport for London’s (TfL’s) efforts to improve road safety in the capital have been recognised as outstanding at a European level.

TfL has received the Preventing Road Accidents and Injuries for the Safety of Employees (PRAISE) award for a rigorous safety programme, which has improved the standards of its own drivers and throughout its whole supply chain.

Every driver working for or on behalf of TfL is required to undertake vital safety measures, with risk assessments, training and requirements for accreditation to best-practice schemes, such as Fors, helping to boost driver safety throughout the capital and beyond.

TfL said it has achieved this by both mandating all directly employed drivers to require these, and writing Work Related Road Risk (WRRR) requirements into all contracts. Businesses that fail to keep to the clauses risk contract termination.

Ian Wainwright (pictured), head of freight and fleet at TfL, said: “Road safety is a shared responsibility. We help others improve their road safety, but it is vital we lead the way. That’s why we are so pleased to be recognised at a European level for this comprehensive work. We are committed to improving the safety of our own fleet and every driver working on our behalf. The methods we have used are transferable. Any business or organisation can help us all have safer roads.”

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), said: “Road safety is everyone’s business. But organisations, large and small, have a pivotal role to play by putting road safety considerations at the heart of their operations.”

The ETSC cited the importance of Fors and Clocs in driving improvements throughout supply chains.

Operators must meet best practice standards such as accreditation to Fors and drivers must be trained in approved courses, such as Safe Urban Driving, to be WRRR compliant.

TfL said the Fors standard ensures that all vehicles have close-proximity warning systems and blind-spot mirrors and that a programme of progressive training for drivers exists.

It added that WRRR requirements are an effective way for all organisations to proactively reduce risk of serious accidents in supply chains, and it encouraged other organisations to use their buying power to improve road safety for all road users.


Vulnerable-road-user detection a key focus from exhibitors at Freight in the City Expo

With cyclist numbers on the rise in the UK’s towns and cities, it has never been more essential to assist commercial vehicle drivers and ensure they are able to detect vulnerable road users in close proximity of their vehicle.

Freight in the City Expo at London’s Alexandra Palace on 27 October will bring together a number of leading cyclist-detection specialists to showcase the latest technology on the market for urban fleets.

Amber Valley will be focusing on blind-spot elimination with its Indicator Alarmalight, an audible and visual warning system. Triggered by the indicator, it warns the pedestrian or cyclist of the potential dangers.

The system mutes itself if the hazard lights are in operation to avoid confusion, as well as dropping to half volume during out-of-hours deliveries to avoid disturbing residents in built-up areas.

A speed module is also available, which switches the unit off over a pre-determined speed.

Backwatch Safety Products offers a comprehensive range of commercial vehicle safety technology, including bespoke blind-spot-detection systems and multi-camera digital video recording.

Working with customers, the company helps to select the most appropriate technology to meet compliance requirements and gain maximum benefit from the systems they choose.

A Backwatch spokesman said: “We are delighted to be exhibiting at Freight in the City, having worked closely in partnership with Fors, TfL and Crossrail since inception. Backwatch Safety Products is passionate about championing initiatives that can improve safety on our roads.”

Brigade Electronics will be exhibiting its range of vehicle safety systems including: camera-monitors, white-sound reversing alarms, ultrasonic and radar sensors, and mobile digital recording.

The company has a network of business service partners that provide high levels of service and support nationwide.

Brigade will be showing Backeye360 – an intelligent camera-monitor system designed to assist low-speed manoeuvring. Backeye360 provides the driver with a real-time surround view of the vehicle in a single image, eliminating blind spots.

Also on show will be Brigade’s white-sound reversing alarms. Bbs-tek is approved by the Noise Abatement Society for quiet night-time deliveries because it works effectively at lower decibel ratings and does not cause a noise nuisance. Bbs-tek only sounds in the danger area, so you only hear it where it matters.

Safeguarding fleets across many industries, Exeros Technologies specialises in the design and installation of specialist multi-camera systems and vehicle safety equipment to help eliminate blind spots for drivers.

The company said it fully supports cycle safety initiatives and awareness, as well as the recent launch of Safer Lorry Scheme, and its systems ensure vehicle safety compliance for Clocs, Fors and Crossrail.

On show at Freight in the City will be the Exeros advanced cyclist-detection camera, as well as the company’s turning and reversing alarms, which can be programmed for night-time mode to reduce noise pollution when vehicles are working unsociable hours.

Trailer Vision supplies 360º ‘look-down’ camera systems as well as simple-wired or digital-wireless, single-camera reversing systems.

The company said its products are designed for all applications, from the commercial vehicle sector through to on-board and reversing cameras for agricultural equipment, horseboxes, caravans and motorhomes.

Installation and support for either a single system or an entire fleet can be arranged at a time and location of your choice, including at your local dealership.

Vehicle & Machinery Safety and Security Group is a subsidiary company of Fuel Defend Global specialising in vehicle safety products to protect vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians.

It will be displaying a new 360º camera system as well as its SideSafe unit to warn of left-turning vehicles and a wide range of other urban-centric safety vehicle products.

Vision Techniques will be bringing its brand-new video analytics cyclist-detection system, VT TurnAware, to Freight in the City Expo.

Developed with Fors, Clocs and Crossrail in mind, this detection system can detect movement from the blind-spot-mounted camera and determine the direction a hazard is moving, meaning any approaching cyclist will be detected while any other objects are ignored – preventing any false alarming.

The cyclist safety product will be live on the stand alongside a 360º virtual reality experience of what it’s like to be a cyclist and a driver driving with the detection system.

It will also be demonstrating its audible and visual warning system, VT TurnAlarm, and an illuminated warning system, VT TurnSign.

  • Freight in the City Expo takes place at London’s Alexandra Palace on 27 October. More than 600 visitors with a vested interest in smarter urban freight deliveries have already registered to attend this one-day free-of-charge event. The day comprises a full seminar programme focusing on making freight deliveries cleaner, safer, quieter and more efficient, combined with an exhibition of the latest urban logistics vehicles and equipment. Book your free place today!

Licence Bureau to demonstrate how to keep fleet drivers safe and compliant at Freight in the City Expo

Licence Bureau will be talking to fleet operators at Freight in the City Expo about how its Compliance Managed Services (CMS) online portal can ensure its drivers are safe and legally compliant to operate vehicles.

The web platform allows companies to assess, check and improve the performance of their drivers quickly and efficiently online via alerts-driven exception management.

It combines the key services provided by Licence Bureau – Employee Audit, Driver Licence Checking, Owner-Driver Management and Risk Excellence Driver Assessment – into a simple, easy-to-navigate company dashboard.

The online display shows headline figures and risks, from where users can click through for more detailed reports and management information available.

CMS also enables automatic training sessions to be arranged. For example, a driver risk assessment and targeted e-learning may be appropriate for certain medium-risk employees, whereas a high-risk driver may qualify for on-the-road training.

London-based fleet operator Pimlico Plumbers runs a fleet of 160 Volkswagen Transporter vans and Golf cars navigating the streets of the capital 24 hours a day from its riverside HQ in Lambeth.

The company uses Licence Bureau to ensure its driver workforce is fully compliant at all times.

George Lusham, transport manager at Pimlico Plumbers, said “Our reputation is built on the quick and proficient service delivered by our engineers, and with Licence Bureau’s easy-to-use licence checking portal, we can focus on providing our clients with the high quality work they can depend on.”

Mike Reed, marketing director at Licence Bureau, said: “Licence Bureau’s service is designed to minimise the hassle and risk associated with checking whether your drivers are safe and legally compliant to operate vehicles at work.”

Reed will be at the show to talk to visitors on the stand as well as attending some of the highly topical seminars aimed at addressing common urban logistics challenges.

“I’m looking forward to the Time to Comply seminar that is a part of the ‘Safe’ stream,” he added.