The safety of staff, assets and the wider public is the number one priority in the freight and commercial vehicles sector. This is not only because of the human cost of accidents, but also makes financial sense for companies. The cost of replacing drivers, repairing trucks and compensating clients is substantial and reducing these is a priority for the industry. This objective has been greatly helped by ITS. Through better sharing of information and technological aids to monitor vehicles and drivers’ behaviours, it is now possible to catch a large number of potential incidents before they occur.
ITS offers substantial benefits ranging from reduced costs to lives saved by averting accidents. Technology development continues in an attempt to reach a “Vision Zero” goal – where no lives are needlessly lost as a result of collisions and incidents involving commercial freight vehicles.
Worldwide, nearly 3,400 people die on the roads every day, with tens of millions of people being injured and disabled according to the World Health Organisation. In Europe, which has some of the safest roads, there were approximately 40,000 deaths as a result of road traffic accidents in 2007 and 2008. In the United Kingdom, although HGVs only account for 4% of traffic, they are involved in over 45% of all collisions with cyclists. In the United States between 4,000 and 5,000 people have been killed by trucking accidents every year since 2002, and 6.5% of truck accidents result in open flames. ITS in-vehicle safety devices help protect pedestrians and cyclists, whilst emergency response teams benefit from better information about vehicles, their location and cargoes.
Everybody has an interest in reducing the number of incidents, collisions, injuries and fatalities on the road. Specific bodies have particular interests – such as national health and safety bodies, insurance companies (who offer lower premiums to companies with better safety records), safety lobby groups, road users and operators. This includes:
Safety solutions (delivered through an application of intelligent transport systems) can usefully be considered in three different groups: