Self-employed van drivers face greater accident risks


Self-employed van drivers face greater accident risks

The time-sensitive nature many self-employed van delivery and courier drivers face means they are more likely to be involved in a road accident

It’s the pressures they are under that makes them so susceptible, says a new report from UCL.

Self-employed van drivers face greater accident risksThe researchers from UCL survey van drivers who were self-employed along with taxi drivers – typical ‘gig’ economy self-employees.

Over two in five (42%) reported that their vehicle had been damaged as a result of a collision while working.

A further one in 10 reported that someone had been injured; 8% that they themselves had been injured.

The survey also found that 63% had not been provided with safety training or the provision of a high-viz vest.

Heather Ward from the UCL Centre for Transport Studies said:

“Our findings highlight that the emergence and rise in the popularity of gig work for couriers could lead to an increase in risk factors affecting the health and safety of people who work in the gig economy and other road users.

“As more workers enter the economy and competition rises, the number of hours they need to work and distances they must travel to earn a stable income both increase. We know this is an issue but don’t know exactly how far it extends as not all companies need to report the number of self-employed couriers they use to the government.”

Called ‘The emerging issues for management of occupational road risk in a changing economy: A survey of gig economy drivers, riders and their managers’,
the UCL survey includes a list of recommendations for companies using self-employed couriers and taxi drivers to limit the pressure drivers and riders are under.

These include:

* Introducing time blocks for couriers to sign up and be paid for, rather than a drop rate. If used, drop rates should take into account the time taken to travel safely within the speed limit and perform administrative functions such as scanning parcels and obtaining signatures.

* Mobile phones should not be allowed to cause a distraction, after the results showed that 40% of those using an app found them to be off-putting whilst driving or riding. Most couriers reported receiving work through an app which played a noise at intervals to alert them to a job with a fixed time window in which to accept.

* Other risk points for drivers and riders include tiredness – particularly among parcel couriers – from overwork and the intense pressure of self-employed parcel delivery, with many reporting regular near misses and collisions.

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