future fleet awards
Fusce auctor, ultricies Best road safety initiative Biffa’s campaign to stop dangerous driving on pavements won the Best Fleet/Road Safety Initiative at the 2018 Future Fleet Awards. Biffa municipal health and safety coach Dave West tells LAPV how the scheme has evolved and is now moving beyond the waste sector. Lotte Debell reports.
Biffa's DRoPS campaign results have been felt beyond simply an increase in prosecutions. The key to solving the problem is changing behaviour, and simply making people aware of just how dangerous their actions are can sometimes be surprisingly effective.
hen Biffa said 'enough is enough' and started to tackle the problem of drivers short-cutting on pavements to get around waste collection vehicles, little did the company realise that its pilot scheme would turn into a multi-award-winning, sector-wide campaign with the support of 22 police forces across the UK and backed by councils, competitors, and trade unions. Drivers shouldn’t need to be told not to drive on pavements, but according to figures from the Department of Transport, there are around 2,500 accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians on pavements every year. This problem is particularly acute for waste collection crews. When frustrated drivers stuck behind waste collection vehicles take to the pavements to continue their journey, they put bin crews and pedestrians at risk. And it happens far more frequently that you might think – up to 1,000 times a day, according to Biffa’s research. No wonder around 10% of vehicle-pedestrian incidents occur on pavements. The DRoPS (Driving Recklessly on Pavements) safety programme began life in the Isle of Wight in 2010 when Biffa put cameras on its
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RCVs and realised the scale of the problem for the first time. The company’s contract managers started using the CCTV footage to help identify drivers who were mounting the pavement, and the initiative grew from there. For Dave West, regional municipal health and safety coach, DRoPS has become something of a personal mission, and it’s not just about the physical safety of staff or pedestrians but the impact on staff wellbeing. ‘Our staff are abused physically and verbally when they do their jobs and it affects them, even if they won’t admit it. Some of our people still think this is just part of the job, and it’s not. It’s not right. This campaign is all part of getting staff engaged with the job and demonstrating that we value their wellbeing.’ In 2015, Biffa set up its first pilot project in Staffordshire. With the help of local MP Gavin Williamson, now Defence Secretary, and South Staffordshire Council, Biffa secured the backing of Staffordshire Constabulary and worked with the police to develop a simple reporting structure that would enable the company to quickly and easily report the most serious incidents and allow police to respond without adding significantly to their workload.