Fleet operators around the world are being asked to join a new global campaign to help tackle the rising epidemic of road deaths, injuries and poisonous air from vehicles. Launched this week by Brake, the road safety charity, Global Fleet Champions is a not-for-profit and partnership campaign that everyone can join to prevent crashes and pollution caused by vehicles used for work purposes.
The latest World Health Organisation report on the global status of road safety revealed that road crashes are the leading killer of children and young adults (aged 5-29 years) globally. The report also found that the total number of deaths from road crashes rose to 1.35 million in 2016, up from 1.25 million in 2013. Road crashes are now the eighth leading cause of death globally, surpassing HIV/AIDS and TB. Many road deaths involve a vehicle being driven for work, and vehicles driven for work also cause extensive pollution.
Global Fleet Champions is free to join and calls on all organisations that use vehicles for work purposes to prioritise safety and sustainability, through good leadership and by adopting robust policies and procedures to manage driver behaviour, vehicle standards and journey routing. The campaign also calls on governments to regulate and enforce the safe, sustainable operation of vehicles that move goods and people, through licensing and traffic rules, road policing and tougher penalties.
The campaign is underpinned by five pillars that support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Decade of Action for Road Safety and its 'safe systems' approach to road safety. The five pillars of Global Fleet Champions are driver behaviour; journey routing and modal choice; vehicle procurement and maintenance; incident analysis and intervention; and community outreach.
Organisations that join the campaign can build their capacity to manage road risk in each of these areas. All champions have access to a programme of free and low-cost events and a library of resources giving best practice guidance on key topics related to road safety and sustainability.
They can also enter the new Global Fleet Champions Awards, which celebrate best practice in safe and healthy mobility for fleets anywhere in the world, including in low- and middle-income nations where occupational road risk management is evolving more slowly than in high-income nations. The Global Fleet Champions Awards programme will be delivered alongside Brake’s well-established and prestigious UK Fleet Safety Awards and Australasian Fleet Safety Awards.
The Global Fleet Champions campaign is a partnership initiative overseen by a standards committee comprising individuals with extensive experience in fleet safety management, either commercially as fleet operators or suppliers, or through academic or NGO work. It is administered by Brake, the road safety charity.
Leading fleet operators and suppliers have also pledged financial support for the campaign. Allianz Insurance plc is sponsoring the driver behaviour pillar, while Arval UK has lent support to community outreach. Verizon Connect is sponsor of both the journey routing and modal choice and incident analysis and intervention pillars.
Global Fleet Champions replaces the existing Brake Professional membership service overseen by Brake.
Mary Williams, chief executive at Brake, said: "Road crashes caused by vehicles used for work purposes are a global catastrophe. Lorries and buses, in particular, are the largest and heaviest vehicles on roads and are involved in some of the most catastrophic and devastating collisions and extensive pollution.
The good news is that the safe and sustainable operation of all types of vehicles operated for work reasons can be regulated and enforced by governments, and managed by business leaders through risk management and environmental practices.
Global Fleet Champions is a campaign that anyone can join to stop deaths and injuries that are caused by vehicles being operated for work purposes. These deaths can be prevented through government action, through good policy that controls the management of organisations operating such vehicles on our roads, and by those organisations taking responsibility for safety and sustainability. Safe and sustainable operation of vehicles is good business; it saves money as well as lives and the planet. Global Fleet Champions is launched in memory of the millions of people who have lost their lives as a result of the movement of freight or mass transit of people on roads."
Catherine Dixon, director of technical at Allianz, said: "Allianz is delighted to support the driver behaviour pillar of the Global Fleet Champions campaign. It's imperative that companies are committed to improving road safety by having adequate procedures and policies in place to ensure employees driving, do so safely and legally. The insurance industry has an important part to play in promoting and supporting risk management initiatives. Effectively managing road risk translates into a reduced volume of collisions, which in turn supports lower business costs and safer roads for everyone."
David Lawrence, channel marketing manager - EMEA at Verizon Connect, said: "Verizon Connect is proud to sponsor the Global Fleet Champions campaign. Our commitment to the safety of field-based workers and the optimisation of their working day is an excellent fit for fleet managers looking to improve the quality of their environment and support more efficient operations."
Tracey Fuller, UK Head of CSR at BNP Paribas and Arval UK, said: "Arval UK, part of the BNP Paribas group, is proud to continue supporting Brake as sponsors of the Global Fleet Champions community outreach pillar. We have a lasting commitment, not only to our customers to help improve and manage their fleet safety, but to our employees and the communities we all operate in. We are excited to continue the work towards vision zero as part of Global Fleet Champions."