We all know someone who thinks they’re Lewis Hamilton, driving too fast every time they get behind the wheel. Can you honestly say that you’ve never exceeded the speed limit to get somewhere on time, to make that extra delivery or ensure that you get to an important meeting?
Excessive speed is often a major factor in road traffic collisions. It’s sobering to realise that the chance of survival for a pedestrian hit by a car increases from 10% if the vehicle is travelling at 40mph to 90% if it's doing 20mph. But what are the implications for transport operators if their drivers regularly speed or cause an accident while breaking the speed limit?
Cost is one area to explore - travelling at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than driving at 70mph. Speeding due to the pressure of work causes driving stress and this can lead to employees being off work, either through illness or because of a road accident, let alone because of damaged vehicles, so effective driver management is important. Prior planning of routes and delivery patterns can go a long way to ensuring that speed can be controlled – don’t make excessive demands of your staff.
Technology can play a big part. Vans can be limited so that exceeding the speed limit is not possible, and telematics can be used to monitor and manage a driver's performance. And perhaps there's an argument for vehicles to be limited by default when they come off the production line? After all, what other piece of industrial equipment is sold equipped to break the law?
Financial penalties for speeding have recently increased and drivers could find themselves with big fines relating to their weekly earnings as a consequence. Business owners who turn a blind eye to speeding are also at risk under Health and Safety at Work legislation. New sentencing guidelines put greater emphasis on the culpability of senior managers and owners. An evidence of speed can be gathered from management systems on modern vans, even when no telematics are fitted.
Driving at speed can have a significant effect on the way a vehicle handles on the road, making accidents more likely to occur. And it is worth pointing out the effect that constant acceleration and deceleration can have on the life of a vehicle – much better to drive at a steady, controlled pace, keeping within the speed limit. All in all, driving in a proactive manner, at an appropriate speed, is something that we should all be doing, week in, week out – that extra 5mph really isn’t worth the potential problems it can cause.