FTA Ireland (FTAI), which is committed to improving road safety standards, has welcomed the inclusion of specific key actions following the launch last week by transport minister Leo Varadkar of the Road Safety Strategy for 2013-2020.
The Department of Transport will undertake within the next twelve months to review its policy on the licensing of road transport operators to assess if own account operators should be included. At present only those vehicles operated by the hire or reward sector are required to hold a commercial vehicle operator's licence, yet around 80 per cent of all commercial vehicles on Ireland’s roads are operated by own account companies.
The association, whose member companies represent all transport sectors, believes that all businesses have a moral and legal obligation to their staff, including delivery drivers, to provide a safe working environment. It is therefore reasonable for every vehicle operator to respect high standards of road safety and also to contribute towards road safety enforcement through being required to hold a transport operator's licence. This will also go a long way towards raising the image of the transport industry in the eyes of the general public.
The Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020, referring to 'work related safety', quotes "good examples of organisations that have developed road safety interventions resulting in better vehicle maintenance, lower fuel costs and reduced insurance premiums." FTAI members that have been independently audited through the FTAI accreditation scheme have already felt the benefits of this culture change, which improves their businesses by making road safety a high priority as well as delivering major cost savings.
The accreditation scheme, which has been formally recognised by the Health and Safety Authority and the Road Safety Authority, will go a long way towards helping with the aims and objectives of the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020, especially as enforcement resources are scarce in the current economic climate.
Tom Wilson, FTA Ireland's General Manager said:
"FTA Ireland believes that it is only fair and reasonable to expect the same rules and regulations to be applied to all commercial vehicle operators.
"We have been in contact with the Department of Transport and the Road Safety Authority to encourage them to progress this initiative, which will help towards making our roads safer for all road users."