Professional drivers constitute the occupational category that reports the most workplace accidents in relation to the number of employed persons according to the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s Report 2018:1. However, there are a number of smart tips that can be used to reduce these workplace accidents along with laws which promote a safer workplace on the roads. We have listed 3 simple tips to help increase your safety on the roads and the safety of your fellow road users.
For a job to get done properly, the driver is the most important factor. Without professional drivers, essential transport comes to a standstill. Therefore, the wellbeing our professional drivers is paramount and safety in their work environment must be given top priority. To promote a safe and healthy workplace, legislation is in place which dictates driving times and the use of telecommunications devices. Let’s take a closer look at the stricter legislation on mobile phone use while driving that came into force on 1 February 2018 in Sweden.
When working as a professional driver, it can be quite lonely in the driver’s cab where communication with colleagues and customers takes place via telephone or digital devices. However, this poses a number of problems from a safety perspective.
Mobile phones, GPS receivers and tablets are all useful tools that form a natural part of modern life for most drivers, both privately and in the workday. These tools are a natural and fully integrated part of daily life, and research shows that, on average, we pick up our smartphone every ten minutes and spend approximately three hours per day on our mobile devices. Picking up a phone or searching for alternative routes on the GPS is not always a conscious action; it has become a matter of course and a habit, and habits can be difficult to change. However, according to the legislation mentioned earlier, using a mobile phone while driving has been made a punishable offence, which means we are forced to change our habits so as not to break the law.
The previous legislation was not as strict as the updated and tightened traffic regulation. The updated traffic regulation states that the use of mobile phones or other hand-held telecommunications devices is prohibited while operating a motor vehicle. The penalty for infringement is a fine or the suspension of your driver’s licence.
A survey conducted among professional drivers shows that Sweden’s truck drivers look at their mobile phones an average of 3.3 times per hour while driving. Even though checking your inbox, entering a new address on your GPS or dialling a number can be done quickly, your attention on the road is lost – whether you like it or not – and this can have serious consequences.
At a speed of 40 km/h, you travel a distance of 22 metres in 2 seconds. A lot can happen in those two seconds and, if you’re operating a heavy truck, the consequences can be dire if something unexpected occurs. So leave your phone alone while driving,” warns Anders Wallstenius, Motor Vehicle Specialist from Länsförsäkringar.
VBG wishes you a wonderful summer on safe roads. Drive carefully and take care of yourself and your fellow road users – safety above all!
If you would like to read more about the key factors that contribute to a safer and healthier working environment for you as a professional driver, download our guide “5 Tips for Thriving in the Driver’s Cab”.