Taking no chances on pedestrian safety

6 April 2018

Don’t walk: safety slogans are shown on Cemex vehicles

Cemex is following up its highly regarded cyclist safety campaign by launching a similar initiative aimed at pedestrians.

“Don’t Chance It…” is a new safety campaign aimed at pedestrians which is being spearheaded by Cemex. The building materials giant ran a successful cyclist safety campaign which started in 2009 and has made a significant impact on the safety of these road users – and it has similar goals for its latest initiative. 

In the last 18 months, three Cemex drivers in London have been involved in fatalities involving elderly pedestrians. While all three were found to be non-culpable, Dave Hart, director of logistics at Cemex, says: “It’s been devastating for all concerned, including the drivers. On all three occasions the pedestrians stepped out in front of the truck in slow-moving traffic and assumed the driver could see them.”

As with its cyclist campaign, the new Cemex pedestrian campaign is taking an industry lead and aims to educate vulnerable road users about the dangers around heavy goods vehicles, such as blind spots, as well as highlighting key road safety messages. But the audiences are bigger and more difficult to reach.

Leaflets are spreading the word

And the roads are busier than ever before. The Department of Transport reports an increase of 2.2% in 2016 compared to 2015, with over 323 billion miles driven on UK roads in 2016.  Pedestrians account for a quarter of all road fatalities – in London it’s a shocking 53%.

In 2016 the numbers killed rose by 10% compared to 2015, the largest increase after motorcyclist fatalities. Nearly a third of pedestrian fatalities involve people over the age of 60.

Launched on 1 January, the first step looked at how to spread the message. With around 900 Cemex vehicles on the roads delivering aggregates, cement and readymix concrete, and covering around 39 million miles every year, the firm decided to make use of the considerable space on the sides of its vehicles.

The “Don’t Chance It…” message has been applied to aggregate tippers in London and the north west, with similar designs agreed for cement tankers and readymix trucks. It plans to roll this out further across its fleet.

As well as messages on trucks, a road safety leaflet is about to be printed and two videos produced. These highlight a number of other road safety messages, such as always using a crossing, ensuring that pedestrians are visible and keeping looking out and listening.

“The campaign has to start with the message ‘Don’t Chance It’ for pedestrians out and about crossing roads, using the different channels available to us – videos, leaflets and the trucks – but we also need to engage our drivers and, as with the cyclist safety campaign, the drivers will undergo specific training related to this group of vulnerable road users,” says Hart.

“Our vehicles have additional safety features that will help them detect and hopefully see pedestrians – for example, camera systems, additional mirrors and sensors – but pedestrians have to play their part in staying safe,” he adds.

Investment will continue in the latest technology and vehicles to help ensure safer roads. One development has been the introduction of low-entry cabs for vehicles operating in urban areas. 

“These vehicles come into their own in an urban environment where the increased visibility of around 90% plays a huge part in the safety of vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians,” says Hart.

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