Dave Conway on Road Safety Week 2022

Road Safety Week 2022 is now upon as, and it seems a timely opportunity to update my occasional blog on Road Safety.

This year’s theme for Road Safety Week is 'Safe Roads for All' and it is hoped this will raise awareness of key areas of road safety the Government supports, including safe roads, safe vehicles and speeds, the new hierarchy of road users, and the importance of inclusivity to keep us all safe on the roads, no matter who we are, or how we travel.

I like to believe that FM Conway continues to set the standards for occupational road risk, and I have to say, it has been an absolutely incredible year for us in respect of recognition for our efforts. To date, we have collected four prestigious winner’s awards for our efforts in respect of road safety and we have another two shortlisted in the pipeline, which is just incredible. 

These are so important to me. 

Not only do we have the enormous pleasure of collecting the award, usually at some glittering ceremony, but there is also the great value that the recognition brings the business.

However, most importantly, these successes bring us a platform from which we may continue to spread the messages and values of our road risk philosophy and enables us to help others to achieve similar successes in managing their logistical activities.

I already participate in several road safety forums, and it has been nice that these have now resumed as face-to-face meetings. I feel so much more empowered to speak with passion and commitment in person. I have now been added to a forum of National Highways supply chain members, tasked with setting a standard for members in respect of road safety requirements, and am now again getting offered opportunities to present to various audiences.

Some of these are worthy of mention.

At the end of October, I had the pleasure of attending the Global Fleet Champions Awards in Manchester.

It was my honour to present the Kevin Storey Award for Commitment to Road Safety to this year’s joint winners. This was the only award where a speech was made as part of the presentation, so I was delighted to have five minutes to talk and then present the award to Anne-Marie Penny and Mark Cartwright from National Highways, who I work with on a number of committees.

As an added bonus, we picked up an award too… Company Driver Safety Award (Large Fleet).

I was also invited to speak at the Highways UK exhibition in Birmingham at the start of November.

I shared a panel with some key influencers in road safety discussing 'Planning, predicting and prioritising safety across the road network'. It was important to me to get across the message that when it comes to fleet safety, it is not simply about 'managing driver behaviour' and 'blame the driver'. Drivers are human beings and can make mistakes. It is up to businesses to ensure that we give drivers every possible aid and assistance to help them stay safe. 

We can tell drivers not to speed…make it a criminal offence…but still we speed.

…but there is technology to prevent vehicles from speeding.

We can say don’t use phones while driving… we can make it a criminal offence… but still phones get used.

…but there is technology to stop their phones working.

We can identify dangerous lane changing and tailgating as major causes of crashes… but still drivers do it.

…there is technology for blind spot detection when changing lanes and autonomous braking if you get too close.

Businesses need to take a safe system approach to managing their occupational road risk. So many businesses, with very robust and mature Health & Safety approaches, fail to manage their road risk with the same rigour as other parts of their activity. Drivers are 'at work’ and the full duties of health and safety apply. I am delighted that FM Conway manages road risk with the same passion as risk elsewhere in the business and we will all make a difference.

Talking of standards…I am really excited by my forthcoming trip in December to Nepal for this year’s ISO technical committee plenary meeting.

The work on the ISO 39003 standard for autonomous vehicles continues, it successfully passed the Draft International Standard (DIS) stage last month, and after the December meeting will progress to the Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) stage. Once it passes that, it will be published.

I actually have four presentations to do for the four-day visit.

A presentation to the TC241 committee on the progress of ISO 39003 and, as Head of the UK delegation, a report to the committee on the state of road safety in the UK. That should be fun… I hope I know who the Minister for Transport is by then… it does seem to change a lot, lately.

People often suggest to me that the trips to these exotic locations are a 'jolly'.

I wish! 

What actually happens is that countries who are ISO members volunteer to 'host' the meetings to support their own ongoing safety campaigns. 

The last day of the trip is spent supporting a host country workshop on road traffic safety management systems. 

I have two presentations to do that day. 

One, a case study on how FM Conway achieved its ISO 39001 certification and the benefits it saw, and the second one on what people might expect from an audit on their ISO 39001 system. 

This second one amused me. The decision was taken by the committee, that with certification going back 10 years now, and two audits per year for ISO 39001, I was probably the most audited certificate holder in the world! Not sure how to take that one!

What I do hope is that I am able to motivate and enthuse the influencers of Nepal and help them to create systems and approaches to deliver to their people, 'Safe Roads for All'.