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Driver Protection

Monday, 20 July 2015

According to a violence-prevention project at First Leeds (published by the Health & Safety Executive), the fear and very real risk of violence is a constant presence in the modern-day driver’s cab.

And these dangers are potentially lurking everywhere: From fellow motorists (road rage attacks), angry commuters (particularly during rush hour), drunken passengers or those exhibiting anti-social behaviour, through to criminals targeting vehicles and drivers for cash on board or insurance pay-outs.

All of these risks and dangers affect drivers physically and emotionally, with knock-on effects for staff wellbeing, attendance and perception of the profession overall.

As a result, operators throughout the UK are tackling the issue of driver safety pro-actively, and considerable progress has been made to make drivers feel safer at their place of work.

To prevent violence in the cab and to protect drivers, operators have been making organisational changes, including better training and reporting policies. However, there are actions that can be implemented at equipment level in order to mitigate dangers on the road: 

  • CCTV and alarms can be very effective at deterring violence, capturing evidence and, most importantly, put the driver back in control. 
  • Forward-facing and flank cameras show pedestrians and capture collisions with other vehicles, catching cases of deliberate crashes with the aim of insurance fraud (“crash for cash”). 
  • Saloon cameras capture and deter anti-social behaviour on board, audio recording (integrated into the CCTV system) can document verbal abuse, while a camera facing the driver can show threatening behaviour and the driver’s reaction to an incident.
  • To make sure evidence is secured for future use, a write protect button can be installed, which is pressed by the driver during an incident or a minor event that they think may develop into a dangerous situation. This ensures footage will be saved from the incident, before the incident and after the incident and will not be overwritten if needed in the future. 

While there have been some initial reservations on the side of drivers against the introduction of CCTV in the cab, this is changing fast as more and more drivers are cleared of spurious claims and accusations. Together with an operator attitude that places driver as well as passenger safety at the heart of everyday operations, onboard technology can make the driver’s cab a safe place to work.