Report shows uptick in truck collisions

1st December 2023 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

The 2023 Webfleet Road Safety Report shows a jump in collisions involving trucks this year, at 1 313 incidents, compared with 1 252 collisions in 2022.

The survey for the report was conducted between June and August, with responses from 54 people representing 7 948 trucks operating in South Africa.

“With the survey now presenting at least two years of data, we are able to identify persistent patterns, as well as one-off events,” says Webfleet South Africa sales director Justin Manson.

Webfleet is tyre company Bridgestone’s fleet management solution.

“This information needs to be utilised by all stakeholders so they can make choices that help to keep all road users safer on the roads,” says Manson.

“There have been some clear trends consistent with the first report, like the condition of road infrastructure and the effects of congestion on driver concentration and wellbeing.

“However, it is concerning to note not only high levels of road incidents, but also an increase in their severity.”

Out of the ten respondents who were worst affected by collisions, representing 87% of incidents, five stated that most incidents occurred at night, between 22:00 and 06:00.

When asked to rate the most prevalent causes of incidents, respondents identified other drivers, poor road conditions and criminal activity as the most common causes.

When asked to name the biggest challenges they faced in maintaining road safety, respondents identified road conditions (59.26%), driver behaviour (59.26%), compliance (44.44%) and cultivating a safety culture (31.48%) as the top concerns.

Other factors included fatigue management (24.07%), driver training (24.07%), vehicle maintenance (22.22%), budget constraints (14.81%), technological limitations (5.56%) and criminality.

“You could distil these into two or three factors, as they address the same objectives,” notes Manson.

“For instance, without a sufficient budget, an operator could not afford training, technology, or substantial programmes that drive a culture of safety.

“Chasing profits often leads to more driver fatigue and greater risk of injury to road users.”

About 80% of respondents called for increased government funding for road infrastructure development and maintenance.

Additionally, 51.85% wanted to see improved road signage and markings, and 50% wanted enhanced driver education and licensing requirements.

More than 80% of the respondents said using a fleet telematics system was effective in reducing collisions, and half said the impact of this technology in preventing incidents was significant.

“Although telematics technology can very quickly have a strong impact on a business . . . without proper training, maintenance of vehicles, and policies designed for driver wellbeing, even the best digital tools have their restrictions and limits,” says Manson.