Technological advancements are in the future for HGV drivers

Technological advancements are in the future for HGV drivers

Technology has unquestionably changed the world for the better with a range of new and innovative solutions being launched on an almost monthly basis. This includes in the Road Transport industry, in which technology has constantly been pioneering advances in safety, speed, haulage networks, and delivery infrastructure.

Last month saw an announcement by the Mayor of London for the latest version of his safety proposals for Heavy Goods Vehicles. The proposals are thought by many to offer a huge leap forward for the safety of the city's road users. This has been supported by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), who likewise feels it is a positive development.

The proposal will be introduced across the UK capital city from 2020 for all HGV operators. It will include allowances for technological solutions such as sensors and in-cab cameras. These will be used to improve the safety of the vehicles, their drivers, and the people operating vehicles around them.

It will also see the introduction of regulations that govern visibility standards for HGV cabs. These will be a requirement that must be met by drivers. This will be known as the 'Direct Vision Standard' and will involve a star rating ranking how good an HGV driver's level of vision is from his cab on a scale of 0 to 5.

There is still work to be done to iron out some concerns over the new changes. For example, Natalie Chapman, who works for the Freight Transport Association as their Head of Policy for London, believes there is a lack of clarity regarding which vehicles will be able to operate under this new scheme. She feels there is still some uncertainty over what equipment will be needed, and what type of transport will be eligible.

Although less supportive of the Direct Vision Standard, the FTA are supportive of the new proposals regarding technology, commenting that "In the long-term, the really significant road safety improvements that we want will be delivered through technology... we are glad that this point... is now being listened to." However, they have been demanding further clarity to ensure the proposal comes into place throughout the capital without problems, and so businesses can plan effectively.

There are a number of ways in which technology is being seen as a way of helping drivers to improve their skills and build on their overall safety. It is hugely important given that there are 1.25 million road fatalities across the world annually. While not all come through driver error, having the technology to support or prevent what has happened can often save lives. It is thought that without noticeable action, roads are headed towards becoming the 7th leading cause of death worldwide by 2030.

Technology can help prevent speeding, aid in reversing or prevent collisions, warn of sharp corners or over-acceleration, remind users about seatbelt usage, record what has happened to either be used after an accident or to help businesses train drivers and incentivise safe driving, and score-carding through real-time driving data. On-board cameras can also ensure bad behaviour and poor driving doesn't go unpunished.