Tuesday, 8 September 2015

TfL must extend CIRAS to all HGVs working under TfL Contracts

This post is based on a guest post I wrote for the Safer Oxford Street blog here. I've reposted it to keep our supporters up to date with progress:
Dear Friends,

Thanks to campaigners like Tom Kearney, Bus Driver X and a Transport Specialist, from January 2016 TfL will be the first public sector transport agency in UK where both train and bus operations will have access to Confidential Safety Reporting. TfL has made the decision to adopt the Confidential Incident Reporting and Analysis System (CIRAS) for all London's buses in part due to campaigning by Tom's blog.

Significantly, this will also be the first time in UK history that the long-standing confidential reporting practice has been transferred from rail-to-road, marking a landmark victory for road danger reduction and also a forward thinking move by TfL they should be applauded for.

Despite welcome improvements to the safety of our buses this does not go far enough: Three cyclists in London have been killed by HGVs operated by TfL's Crossrail contractors since November 2013: Claire Abadie-Hitier, Brian Holt and Maria Karsa. When TfL's Crossrail goes live in 2018, all its rail operations staff will all have access to CIRAS; however currently none of their lorry operators have access to Confidential Safety Reporting during construction of the railway.

Last week TfL showed they have the power to lead the way on HGV safety by announcing glass doors will be fitted as a priority to all lorries working for the Greater London Authority, Transport for London and Crossrail. This is a welcome move which will reduce the risk of 'left hook' incidents by providing more direct vision to the front left of the vehicle where cyclists are often directed by cycle lanes.

Confidential Safety Reporting would compliment vehicle improvements by ensuring safety best practice is adopted throughout the organisation and potential dangers are addressed before they result in serious incidents. Now that TfL will be implementing CIRAS on London's streets we need them to extend this scheme to the most dangerous vehicles —and firstly—to the most dangerous vehicles under contract to TfL and its Crossrail Project.

We need TfL to implement CIRAS for all HGV contractors working for TfL and Crossrail. This move would show TfL and Crossrail leading from the front on one of the most pressing road safety issues faced in London and the UK: Cyclist Fatalities involving HGVs.

Adoption of CIRAS for its HGV subcontactors by TfL would pave the way for widespread adoption of Confidential Safety Reporting by HGV fleets working under contract to public authorities across the United Kingdom, a measure which is accepted best practice and already underpins a culture of safety on the railway.

This call on TfL is supported by the Save Our Cyclists petition which I help lead. We are campaigning for Confidential Safety Reporting to be rolled out to all HGV drivers and that needs a large organisation like TfL to demonstrate that this can be successfully implemented across a large fleet of HGVs.

It is only through the persistence and dedication of campaigners like Tom Kearney and his collaborators from TfL's Bus Operations, the Cycling Community and Transport Professionals that we can achieve the incremental victories which make the impossible achievable and give us hope for a future where avoidable road casualties are no longer a daily occurrence.

Extend CIRAS to TfL-contracted HGVs (including Crossrail) Now!

Fred Smith