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Films highlight ‘typical’ safety failings of van operators

Monday 5th June 2017

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has produced a series of ‘thought-provoking’ videos designed to highlight the importance of safety and compliance in van operations.

‘One Fateful Day’ tells the story of a male van driver, distracted by using his mobile phone as he talks to his office. He is also subsequently found to have been taking drugs and to be driving a defective vehicle – all of which have ‘catastrophic consequences’ for the driver, operations manager and company owner.

The videos are the brainchild of Mark Cartwright, the FTA’s head of vans and LCVs, who says the story about a fictional gas fitting company, 'Paradise Gas Heating', illustrates some of the typical failings seen among van operators.

The five films show the police explaining the circumstances of the crash (see above), then interviewing the driver, his manager and the company MD, before concluding with a local news report detailing the court case and sentencing.

Mr Cartwright is recreating the scenario at a series of ‘Van Excellence’ operational briefings being held across the UK this year to raise awareness of the issues of driver distraction and compliance.

The FTA’s Van Excellence scheme provide a baseline code of practice for operators to ensure they are meeting safety standards, and an opportunity for FTA members to share good practice.

Mark Cartwright said: “This film has been a few years in the making but I wanted to create something that would really hit home and resonate.

“The story we’ve used illustrates some of the typical failings we see amongst van operators who think they’re compliant but are only paying lip service.

“HGVs are strictly regulated... but all too often van operations are overlooked, compromising safety and putting drivers and the public at risk.”

All of the films can be viewed on the FTA’s YouTube channel, while a longer ‘standalone’ version with a voiceover explaining the whole story, can be downloaded free of charge via the Van Excellence website. The FTA is encouraging its members to share it as widely as possible to spread van safety messages.


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Although primarily aimed at the fleet operator and their responsibilities, the actual collision itself and the factors which led up to it are valid for any everyday collision which can happen to a private motorist in a hurry, not paying attention and speeding and who would be solely responsible for their own actions and where a third party's responsibility and failings are not applicable.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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