Delivery drivers and gig economy couriers are being urged to ‘follow RUDOLPH’ to deliver Christmas safely as online shopping orders are transported.
The record number of gig economy drivers and riders on the roads has increased concerns and follows the revelation that 63 per cent of these road users are not provided with training to manage risk.
The same study* reveals that more than four in ten (42 per cent) of gig economy delivery workers have experienced a collision resulting in vehicle damage, with one in ten reporting someone being injured as a result.
Safety experts at Continental Tyres have produced a memorable reminder to prompt basic checks and an awareness of the risks.
Inspired by Santa’s example their advice is to follow RUDOLPH to be safe and sound across the festive period.
RUDOLPH stands for:
Roadworthy – whatever the vehicle, make sure it is fit for purpose
Under pressure – get a grip with properly inflated tyres, in particular on wet or frosty roads
Don’t ever drink and drive
Observation – stay alert, other road users may change direction, sometimes with little or no warning
Load – driving with an increased load (people or parcels) on board means that stopping distances increase - make allowance and also, make sure loads are securely in place.
Pause – take a break when you need to. Tiredness can kill.
Hazards –The usual risks on the road exist, but also factor in festive revellers and, perhaps, wintry conditions
The increase in traffic volumes, being the result of self-employed workers fulfilling online orders, makes the next few weeks one of the busiest periods on major and local routes.
The businesses giving work to self-employed couriers have very different approaches to vehicles checks and safety protocols ranging from comprehensive to effectively non-existent.
The ‘elf and safety’ advice is being offered as part of an ongoing campaign by Continental Tyres to improve road safety.
Their safety expert, Mark Griffiths, said: "The impact of gig economy workers on the safety of all road users is poorly recognised though an increasing concern.
“At this time of year we have the mix of increased volumes, deadline pressures and poor driving conditions making it an even more acute risk. In particular, lots of the unregulated vehicles on the roads making these deliveries are ordinary cars that have very different handling properties and braking distances when fully laden.
"Rather than deflating festive fun, we are keen to see Christmas safely delivered by attention to a few simple checks and reminders.
“Our ‘Follow RUDOLPH’ campaign offers specific advice to guide everyone safely this Christmas.”
The gig economy has more than doubled in size over the past three years, with 4.7 million workers now classed as ‘gig workers’, that is one in ten adults.** With many taking on extra delivery work on top of other jobs or caring for children in order to help pay for Christmas.
* Study by UCL Centre for Transport Studies
** Study by TUC and the University of Hertfordshire in 2019