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November 21, 2023

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driver safety

Top three areas to improve driver safety revealed in study

Skill decay, stress and performance, and attention lapses and distractions are the top three areas that need work to improve driver safety, a study has revealed.

The areas were identified as the most important aspects of driver behaviour in a study by Dr Lisa Dorn, Associate Professor of Driver Behaviour at Cranfield University and Founder of PsyDrive – a company that specialises in accredited training for road safety professionals, research, assessment and interventions for improved road safety.

Dr Dorn said: “It’s perhaps no surprise that when we have something on our mind, performance is affected, and as this study shows, stress causes distraction and can impact driver safety.

“Attention lapses and distractions are a significant cause of crashes.

“The research also concluded that without practise, people experience skill decay, and cognitive skills like decision-making are particularly vulnerable.

“This has implications for safety when driving for work.”

The research was commissioned by Travis Perkins plc to help their drivers, who often drive specialist vehicle types including LCVs and HGVs.

Further reading: Take a look at our driver safety hub here, including articles, e-books, webinars and more!

“Encourage a cultural shift”

The study involved a comprehensive literature review of existing research, consideration of studies in other industries such as aviation, emergency services, marine, military and the rail industry and a review of learnings, adapting them for use with the Travis Perkins plc’s fleet and the wider driver community to improve safety.

Richard Byrne, Travis Perkins plc Safety Director, said: “We will use these findings to guide our driver strategy; informing areas, such as policies, intervention, training, recruitment and wellbeing.

“Nothing is more important to us than safety, and so as members of several key transport forums, and the leading partner to the construction industry, we will also consider how we can share these learnings more widely, to breed best practice and encourage a cultural shift where drivers feel able to come forward to discuss any life challenges they may be going through, and promote more regular training beyond compliance requirements.”

The results of this study were first presented at the recent Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Annual Safety Forum Conference, in the company of CILT patron, Her Royal Highness Princess Royal, and other distinguished guests.

Driving for Better Safety - Free eBook download

This eBook will guide you through some of the key understandings you need to be able to manage driver safety effectively and, at the end, provide a series of free resources you can access to help you ensure your own driver safety management system is robust, legally compliant and in line with industry-accepted good practice.

Download this eBook from Driving for Better Business and SHP to cover:

  • Why do we need to manage driver safety?
  • Duty of care – a shared responsibility;
  • Setting the rules with a driving for work policy;
  • Managing driver safety;
  • Ensuring safe vehicles;
  • Safe journeys and fitness to drive;
  • Record keeping;
  • Reporting;
  • The business benefits of good practice;
  • Additional resources

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