POWER OF DATA BLOG

Lorry Driving: one of the UK’s riskiest jobs

Changing Driver Behavior
Aug 21/2018 Published by: Lytx Lytx Telematics

A number of studies in recent years have identified the riskiest professions in the UK.  Among the jobs you might expect to be dangerous – such as sea fishing, agriculture and construction – there is also lorry driving, which consistently ranks the top ten most dangerous jobs in the country.

Most of us take driving for granted; it is a modern necessity that we don’t think twice about.  It rarely occurs to us that many of the people we share the road with are undertaking a high-risk job.  It’s so risky, in fact, that it is the number-one killer, in terms of total numbers, of workers in the UK.  According to figures from the GMB workers’ union, there are approximately 54,000 accidents on the UK’s roads each year that involve work vehicles – the equivalent of 150 per day.  The GMB estimates that one-in-four road fatalities involve a driver at work.

Why is lorry driving such a high-risk job?  GMB’s National Health and Safety Officer, John McClean says it’s due to “long hours of working drivers, a lack of regular breaks and unnecessarily tight deadlines.”  Human nature and the competitive nature of the industry mean such factors are likely to remain – placing increased emphasis on driver behaviour.

The ultimate goal of any fleet is to operate safely.  Besides the human impact of an accident, companies face the financial losses associated with insurance claims.  The costs of Vehicles being repaired, a driver off work, reduced load capability and potential compensation claims can all mount up.  The average cost of a serious injury accident (including human and vehicular costs) on UK roads is an astonishing £216,203, according to the Department for Transport, and the average for all severities of accident is a not inconsiderable £71,885.

In any given fleet, a proportion of drivers will show risky behaviours that could remain unknown to a fleet or health and safety manager until it’s too late.  Being able to monitor exceptional events caused by risky driver behaviour is invaluable when it comes to reducing the risk of costly collisions. This is also a good means of rewarding drivers that show exceptional driving; for instance, avoiding a potential collision or demonstrating low instances of risky behaviour.

It should be the goal of every single heavy vehicle operator to reduce their accident rate to zero by adopting the tools and tactics that will put an end to lorry driving’s unwelcome place in the top ten of risky jobs in the UK.


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