Traffic congestion tops road safety as the biggest concern for UK van drivers

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Spending less time stuck in traffic has topped the list of things that would most improve the working lives of UK van drivers, a new research study has found.

According to the 2023 European Driver Study from Webfleet, Bridgestone’s globally trusted fleet management solution, almost half (46%) of UK van drivers said it would help improve their job satisfaction. This was closely followed by better road infrastructure, cited by 44%, while increased road safety took third place with 36% of the vote.

“Commercial fleets are under mounting pressure to boost productivity as they strive to navigate challenging economic waters, and this pressure can filter down to drivers in the field,” said Beverley Wise, Webfleet Regional Director for Bridgestone Mobility Solutions.

“By supporting them with digital solutions to improve their lives behind the wheel, fleets can not only help to promote a happy and engaged workforce, boosting talent recruitment and retention, they are also better placed to deliver higher standards of customer service.”

Europewide, 68% of drivers cited traffic congestion as either extremely challenging or challenging when asked to rate potential issues on the roads, making it the joint most challenging factor cited in the report.

Italy ranked top for this issue, with 80% of drivers scoring traffic congestion as extremely challenging or challenging. This was followed by France at 77%, Poland 71 %, the Netherlands 63%, Germany 63%, the UK 61% and Spain 56%.

Increased road safety was the most commonly cited response among van drivers Europewide, when asked what would make their jobs better.

The issue was found to be particularly prevalent in Italy, where more than half (51%) of those drivers surveyed said they wanted safer roads. This compares with 48% of drivers in Germany, 45% in Spain, 43% in Poland, 41% in the Netherlands and 40% in France.

While the overall number of road fatalities in Europe has decreased since 2019, this trend is not consistent in every region, with some countries figures either staying the same or rising during that period.

According to the Department for Transport (DfT), an estimated 1,711 individuals lost their lives on Britain’s roads last year, marking a decline of 2% since 2019.

Despite the challenges that UK drivers face, job satisfaction remains high, with 91% reporting that they are either extremely satisfied or satisfied with their job. More than half (51%), meanwhile, said that doing their job well was important to them.

“This research paints a very clear picture of the work our van drivers do, the problems they encounter and the support they need,” added Wise.

“There are variations between countries, but it’s clear to see that traffic, safety and infrastructure are persistent pain points across the continent.”

The full Webfleet European Van Driver Report 2023 is available here.