WHITE VAN drivers and others who drive for a living are deliberately taking risks and not paying enough attention to the road.
Research by experts in Wales identified risky driving as the main cause of road accidents among this group of drivers.
And a new system, which aims to predict the accident risk of certain groups of drivers, has been developed.
The Roadmarque system combines the expertise of psychologists from Swansea University with the support of software engineers at Imagitech and will measure the risk factors in occupational drivers and provide specific awareness training.
Gabrielle Jerzembek, from Swansea’ University’s department of psychology, who is leading the work, said, “Road accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the UK yet much of the existing research is insufficiently detailed. This is changing with our study.”
More than 400 occupational drivers from four main groups – delivery drivers, HGV operators, drivers who make occasional work-related trips, and sales representatives – from a variety of organisations, took part in the Swansea study. In-depth interviews were conducted with 17 drivers and analysed.
A resulting questionnaire was then tested using a further 426 drivers, with the aim of identifying factors that predict accidents and overall risk of accidents.
These factors include previous accidents, points on licence, speeding tickets and other recorded offences.
Findings indicated that “deliberate risk taking and inattention” were the most important causes of accidents.
Dr Gerhard Manogg, from Swansea-based Imagitech Ltd, which helped to develop Roadmarque, said, “This study will enable us to build a comprehensive risk profile for each individual driver, together with driving history, knowledge and skill assessments, and inform training to help reduce road risk in occupational drivers.
“Further studies will analyse data collected through the ongoing use of our driver risk assessment package Roadmarque.”
Roadmarque, assesses individual driver risk, completes a full DVLA driver licence check, measures all road risk areas, reviews driving history, calculates carbon footprint and completes all administration and reports for various organisations which have fleets or vans, lorries or cars.
Dr Manogg added, “Managing occupational road risk is an increasingly important business issue in light of new legislation which comes into force this month which makes employers liable for the health and safety of those driving on work related business
“Around 1,000 people are killed and 80,000 seriously injured in work-related road accidents each year. In addition, one in 500 at-work drivers are driving whilst disqualified and one million drivers in the UK have nine points or more on their licence – facts which show the level of risk employers are facing.”
The research about predicting risk in occupational drivers was presented at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference, in Dublin, at the weekend.