Highways England Van Summit - Silverstone

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IOC Chairman Carl Lomas with Highways England camera vans at Silverstone Van Summit IOC Chairman Carl Lomas with Highways England camera vans at Silverstone Van Summit

Van drivers – the silent professionals

One in ten vehicles on the road is a van - 4 million vans

Vans equal £56bn pounds of the UK economy

IOC at Silverstone to look at how we can address the challenge of safety on our roads with Highways England.

Highways England Van Summit 11th September at Silverstone, a shared showcase of all things road from cone trucks to speed camera vans.


IOC focus was on the van summit, seminar room full and standing for a full house. Highways England boss Jim O'Sullivan keynoted,

Since 2010 there has been a substantial increase in the number of vans under 3.5 tonnes operating on the Strategic Road Network. Circa four million vans on the road today, that’s one in ten vehicles on the road. This growth in traffic on our network has led to a corresponding increase in the involvement of vans in road traffic collisions. In 2017: 46 fatalities, 292 serious injuries (18.2 % of all fatal and serious injuries) and 2773 slight injuries in collisions where a van under 3.5 tonnes was involved.


Safety at the heart of Highways England event - a safety moment started the Silverstone van summit, ‘Fatigue, not regulated in vans is a moral responsibility. Don’t let tiredness creep up on you.’


Challenges of vans on the Strategic Road Network

Jim O’Sullivan Chief Executive at Highways England, ‘I learned to drive in a Ford Escort van.’

Roads are complex, we work with many users, we are adult to adult, vehicles should be roadworthy, it should have enough fuel, we will provide journey information and roadwork information. We have worked with HGV trucks to motorcycles. 500,000 people out there driving vans, approx 56 billion pounds of contribution to the UK economy. I would like to see company names on working vans. Our motorways are amongst the safest roads in the world, they are ten times safer than urban roads. Accident numbers are matched between smart and conventional motorways. One in ten mortalities happen on the hard shoulder. The hard shoulder is not a place to relieve yourself or stop for a child to be sick. 14% of motorway breakdowns are vehicles running out of fuel. Things that reduce cost and improve safety are a no-brainer. There are drivers out there that do not understand their company driving policy, there is an opportunity to work with leaders in this room to engage with drivers.

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Pauline Reeves Deputy Director, Change Directorate, Department for Transport

We need to work together on work-related road safety. Safety is dear to my heart, employee wellbeing is important to the workplace, 'driving for better business' programme has identified the hidden cost to the business can exceed by thirty times the cost of the vehicle damage. We want to understand what causes accidents. July this year my dept delivered a new plan for work-related road safety, those who drive for work should not be marginalised.


Nina Day Transport Policy Adviser, Health & Safety Executive,

18 years as a senior investigator on the roads, no-one sets out to kill someone, but often road incidents are avoidable. The transport and storage sector has a rate of fatal injuries around double the national average. Risk can be deceptive, you can't assume that what you do is safe because you have done it the same way for a long time. Your risk resets every day, you are at risk as much today as you are tomorrow. Training is really important, the training must be relevant, training to load the van, understand what the van can carry and training that plans for things that go wrong.


Sarah Bell Traffic Commissioner, South East and responsible for road safety. ‘The message today is that compliance pays'

TC Sarah Bell talked four letter words

I am going to talk four-letter words – Tell – Know – Safe - Stop . ‘I am passionate about road safety. I am an honorary fellow of the Institute of Couriers, was awarded that honour for work on the London Olympic Games freight delivery and road safety. We have a legal duty to keep people safe, it's not always what we do, sometimes it is inaction that causes issues. 95% of accidents are caused by human error, this is a known known. In terms of risk, the first duty is to control risk. Your drivers are one of your biggest assets and at the same time your biggest risk

Four letter words, Tell, if you hold an O licence you have to tell the Traffic Commissioner bad news. The next four letter word is Know. You are deemed to know all the advice and guidance in the public domain. That’s a big task, road safety documents are in the public domain. it means there is no defence to say ‘I did not know’ you can also adapt HGV material for vans, think about walk-around vehicle checks you can use for vans, simple tricks and tips. We often hear the term, 'go home safely', do you ask 'are they safe?' when they arrive back at work? Safe is my next four-letter word, ‘I hear a lot of why.’ Audit trails are there to protect drivers, if you have robust systems and you follow them, when something goes wrong you are fine. Final four letter word, STOP, take some time stop and review.

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Gordon Macdonald Head of Enforcement Policy at DVSA, Compliance in the LGV van world, We find 72% of vans stopped are overloaded

There are many more LGVs on the roads today, we believe over four million LGVs are on the road compared to five million HGVs. There is no driver hour regime for LGV vans. I ask you to think about vehicle maintenance systems and drivers hours on vans. Our resources are limited and focused on HGVs. Brakes, suspension, tyres and overloading are the main issues we deal with. We find 72% of vans stopped are overloaded.’ Gordon talked about the Van Challenge. ‘How do we reach out to van users? We have You tube clips on walk round vehicle checks, how can we get the message out? 85% of what DVSA inspectors find should have been picked up at the vehicle walk round check.


Roger Barrowcliffe, Clean Air Thinking. The increasing use of electric vans on the fleet networks, a story about air quality.

Dealing with source of emission, dealing with the emissions of vehicles, LGVs, vans, there are a lot of them, 4 million registered vans , half are company-owned, 96% are diesel. Van use is rising more than any other category of vehicles. How do we get fleet managers to switch to electric? Vans are predominantly used in urban environments, not on the motorways. How could we persuade you to switch to electric in urban areas? Experience so far is electric vans have been well-received and drivers find them easy to drive.



INSPIRING OTHERS at the Highways England Van Summit.


Richard Leonard Head of Road Safety, Highways England introduced a van operator focus group of speakers from tyre to training with a keynote from national express final mile operator DPD delivering five million parcels a day in Europe.


David Winchcombe Head of Transport, DPD Group UK, 5 million parcels a day in Europe

David talked Eleven and a half thousand vehicles, five thousand vans, in peak as many as seven thousand vans in the UK.

At DPD we deal in honesty, our DNA is to understand every accident. A new driver at DPD completes a Business start course. Safe loading, daily vehicle checks, driving techniques, service & repairs and accident reporting. We focus on driver engagement, a service champion group exchanging good practice, looking at driving assessments, load weights, speed and vulnerable road users.

David talked about using a QR code to identify vehicle and specification and exchange data with partners.

NIRVANA, means peace and tranquillity and it has VAN in the middle, this is our DPD programme for process & procedures, we have fleet ambassadors to look at and check vans, report quality & make daily checks. At DPD we want a clean safe van at every delivery.

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Stuart Jackson Chairman, TyreSafe, The UK's leading tyre safety charity.

We deal with legislation and fact, cause and effect, as many as one in five have never checked their tyres. Safe tyres save lives. Top three vehicle causation factors, tyres, brakes, suspension. Poor tyres remain a recurring failure. 24,134 LGVs encountered at roadside, 48% found non-compliant. These could have been identified in a vehicle walk-round check. 26% of tyres changed are already illegal at change.

Stuart discussed the move from 2 mm legality to 1.6 mm of tread,

the cost variance to a change of 0.4 mm is fifty pence, do not wait until 1.6 A word on part-worn tyres: there is no history on a second-hand tyre, where has it come from? and why did the original owner change that tyre? Many second-hand tyres are found to be ten years old or more. The compound degrades over time, how has it been stored?


David Higginbottom Chief Executive Officer, Driver First Assist,

Improving post-crash response is what Driver First Assist is all about. We were created in association with the emergency services, our task is training to provide effective first response at a road traffic incident. Our aim is to reduce fatalities at the roadside. First minutes in a road traffic incident are about clearing airways to save fatalities. Emergency response time average is eight minutes. It takes only four minutes to die from a restricted airway. First responders can make a difference while waiting for emergency services to arrive. Driver First Assist skills are about saving lives at scenes of road traffic accidents.


Mark Byard Health, Safety and Wellbeing Director, Highways England closed the summit,

the silent professional is key; the unliveried van. I ask you to make a difference, get home safe and well.


Last modified on Wednesday, 11 September 2019 21:48