‘Rushed and under pressure’: Drivers working on the road struggle to keep up with demand

THINK! Road Safety release key country driving tip

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Those most affected include delivery drivers, taxi and private hire drivers and those working in nightlife. The analysis shows employers often have a lack of policies when it comes to dealing with those who are pushed too hard.

The safety group is calling for urgent changes to support drivers such as introducing new policies, advice and procedures.

This included education and guidance on avoiding driver fatigue and an evaluation of the policies on driving day and night shifts.

IAM RoadSmart also believes further change is needed through increased prosecution of liable companies.

It says one-third of road safety deaths come from people driving for companies.

The experts have called for a review of the resources available to drivers such as motorway service and roadside facilities.

Many drivers are deterred from stopping for rest due to the heavy prices of doing so.

Tony Greenidge, chief executive officer at IAM RoadSmart warned drivers could be more rushed even after coronavirus.

This was because there could be “more pressure” on employers to help “recover the lost ground”.

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However, he warned “the facts cannot be ignored” as the organisation pushes for more action to help protect those behind the wheel.

He said: “What COVID did was expose what in many cases was already there.

“Individuals involved in driving for work were already rushed and under pressure.

“Post-COVID they probably will be more so because there’s more fear about job security and more pressure on employers to recover lost ground. But at least now we are discussing it.”

He added: “People long for everything to go back to normal. The problem is, for many drivers normal wasn’t such a good place.

“The facts cannot be ignored and now is the time for CEOs and leaders to act.

“COVID-19 has significantly impacted an area already under immense strain.

“Drivers’ and riders’ safety cannot continue to slip through the net unnoticed.”

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Road Accidents (RoSPA), fatigue is a serious problem on the road.

It claims driver fatigue may be a contributory factor in up to 20 percent of all road accidents and up to one-quarter of fatal and serious accidents.

It warns these types of crashes are about 50 percent more likely to result in death or serious injury as they tend to be high-speed impacts.

RoSPA added: “Sleepiness increases reaction time (a critical element of safe driving). It also reduces vigilance, alertness and concentration so that the ability to perform attention-based activities (such as driving) is impaired.

“The speed at which information is processed is also reduced by sleepiness. The quality of decision-making may also be affected.

“It is clear that drivers are aware when they are feeling sleepy, and so make a conscious decision about whether to continue driving or to stop for a rest.

“It may be that those who persist in driving underestimate the risk of actually falling asleep while driving.

“Or it may be that some drivers choose to ignore the risks (in the way that drink drivers do).”

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