On The Road


Opportunities behind the wheels of Britain’s haulage and passenger transport fleets are both numerous and growing.

Adapted from Civvy Street Magazine, September 2013. Words: Paul Fletcher

Although it might be more Eddie Stobart than Ice Road Truckers, driving large goods vehicles (LGVs) and passenger carrying vehicles (PCVs) in the UK is both a good way of seeing the country and earning a decent wage, with salaries regularly exceeding £30,000.

What’s more, the sector offers careers well suited to numerous Service-leavers, given the central role of logistics in the Armed Forces and the variety of substantial vehicles they deploy.

Moreover, it’s a growth industry – according to the latest government figures, for example, road haulage currently accounts for 68% of all goods moved in the UK compared with 53% in 1980, and now employs 220,000 people. The bus and coach sector meanwhile employs 212,000 people.

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Cutting Road Safety Initiatives ‘False Economy’

A range of initiatives have resulted in a ‘spectacular’ 50% reduction in the number of deaths on Britain’s roads during the last two decades, according to a new report by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

The UK is now top of the world’s road-safety league table, with half the number of road death rates in Austria, Belgium, Portugal and Luxembourg.

Fewer deaths doesn’t just reduce the number of grieving families, given that each fatality can cost the UK economy £1.79 million in lost output, health care, pain and suffering. Avoiding 31,000 in the last two decades has saved around £50 billion.

IAM Director of Policy and Research, Neil Greig, said: “The IAM calculates that achieving similar targets for road deaths by 2020 would save society 2,500 lives and the economy over £4 billion.”

“These staggering figures prove conclusively that investing in saving lives on the roads saves the country money, so funding being taken away from this area is a false economy,” he added. “Public bodies have more freedom than ever on where to spend their resources and we urge them to focus on the benefits to all road users and to the economy of investing in road safety education and awareness, training for younger drivers and riders, and targeted safety improvements to roads.”

Britain’s roads have never been safer, particularly compared with the bad years in the 60s and 70s when the death toll was between 6,000 and 8,000 a year. Since 1970, road traffic has increased by a factor of two and a half, but road deaths have fallen by more than two-thirds.

Rural roads are still the most dangerous, accounting for two-thirds of fatal and serious casualties, but have also shown a 40% reduction in deaths during the last 10 years. Motorways remain the safest roads in the UK.

Young drivers remain the most at-risk category. “With changes to the theory and practical parts of the driving test underway, and an ever-increasing focus on the risks faced by younger drivers, we hope that this number will continue to fall,” Greig added.

More: www.iam.org.uk