Safety

Road deaths in the UK: when it comes to speeding, let’s spell out the facts

November 16, 2023

Philip van der Wilt
Philip van der Wilt

Vice President, EMEA

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One thousand, seven hundred and eleven (1,711) people died on British roads in 2022 — an increase of 10% on figures from 2021.

Of those, three hundred and three (303) people died because drivers were travelling above the speed limit — an increase of 20% compared to the year before.

A further twenty-eight thousand and thirty-one (28,031) people suffered serious injuries due to road accidents in 2022 – up 8% on the previous year.

These are the numbers — spelt out in full — that provide a sobering reminder about the dangers of travelling by road. And yet most of us rarely give it a second thought when we hop in the car to nip to the shops, take our kids to school or drive to work. 

It’s part of the reason why Road Safety Week — run by road safety charity Brake — has become such a focal point for campaigners.

UK Road Safety Week

Speed is one of the major causes of road deaths and injuries

This year, the theme is  ‘Let’s talk about speed’ — one of the ‘Fatal 5’ causes of serious injuries and deaths on our roads. As Brake puts it: “Five people die on roads every day, so why do we still think it’s OK to speed?”

Although the campaign is aimed at all drivers, Samsara’s position in the world of transport and physical operations — and our ongoing drive to make the world a safer place — means Road Safety Week is firmly on our radar.  

Safety — along with efficiency and sustainability — is one of the three core pillars of what we do as a company. Our technology is designed specifically for commercial fleets with the simple aim of keeping people — both inside and outside of our vehicles — safe. 

Our onboard dashcams — augmented with artificial intelligence (AI) – can spot and alert drivers using mobile phones or not wearing seatbelts. 

Our Connected Operations Platform can identify harsh braking, speeding and aggressive driving — and feed that back to managers — so that it can be used to coach people to become better, more thoughtful drivers. 

And in the event of an incident, the technology embedded in the vehicle immediately alerts managers so they are aware — in seconds — of what’s happened.

Technology has a role in keeping people safe

Having our technology on board creates a safety lifeline between drivers and their managers so they know they are never on their own. 

And it’s not just the technology that’s important. Our customers use these systems to keep their drivers — and other road users — safe, forming the basis of ongoing driver coaching programmes and initiatives that reward safe driving. 

One such UK logistics business is driving major gains in driver safety and service quality across its business units, thanks to the improved telematics and camera technology from Samsara. Its drivers have embraced the gamified safety scoring to such an extent that they even print out the leaderboard each week to see how everyone is doing.

As its driver puts it: “The real-time data helps us to improve our driving habits and creates safer roads for everyone.”

Ultimately, though, despite all the training, coaching and technology, the decision whether to speed or not is down to the person behind the wheel. Being road-safe — whether you’re commuting to work or driving for a living — is about personal responsibility. 

After all, exceeding the speed limit is a decision only a driver can make. So too is using a mobile phone. Or driving aggressively. In fact, breaking any of the ‘Fatal 5’ is a conscious decision. A personal choice. 

And those that do so are guilty of not only breaking the law but of engaging in a selfish act.

It’s something that’s recognised within fleets up and down the country. And the ones with the best safety records are those that use everything at their disposal — technology, coaching programmes and awareness campaigns — to keep people safe. 

M Group Services Plant and Fleet Solutions (MGSPFS) is an award-winning business that is constantly pushing the boundaries to keep people safe. It’s recently been recognised for its industry-first collaboration that integrates Samsara's Connected Operations Cloud with a 360-degree camera solution that warns drivers if a vehicle is being overloaded or if cranes, booms, or stabilising legs are not stored correctly.

It’s an outstanding solution that has rightly drawn praise from across the industry. But that’s not all. Like any responsible business, it’s also pushing the boundaries in terms of its messaging. And that’s encapsulated in its values-driven Making the Right Choice mantra.  

It applies to everyone across the business including office staff, maintenance teams and, of course, drivers.   

It’s such a powerful — and yet simple concept — but one, that taps into the idea of personal responsibility, especially in relation to Road Safety Week. 

As such, I’m more than happy to share this message —  not just among Samsara employees — but among our customers whose staff drive for a living. In fact, I’m happy to share it with anyone who’ll listen. 

And rather than talk about people who speed as being selfish, inconsiderate or reckless, I want to flip this message on its head. 

My personal contribution to Road Safety Week is this: Don’t be selfish. Do something selfless today. Cut your speed. You may just save a life. 

If we want to see a reduction in the number of deaths and accidents on our roads, it’s down to us to make the right choice — every day.

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