Funding for tailgating reduction study received

TRL is seeking local authority partnerships in study aimed at the reduction of tailgating by business drivers.

Transport & Travel Research (TTR) and its parent company TRL have secured funding from the Road Safety Trust, a charity that funds research to support its objective of reducing road casualties. The funding is for a pilot scheme to reduce tailgating by business drivers. TTR is now seeking interest from potential local authority partners that would act as a host for the pilot in their area.

Tailgating, or close following, is a widespread concern on UK roads. It makes drivers of the vehicle ahead feel intimidated, aggravates congestion and is a contributory factor in 7% of collisions, according to the annual report of the Department for Transport 2015 (DfT), “Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2014.”

According to the road safety charity Brake, 44% of drivers are concerned about close-following on most occasions that they drive on motorways; however, nearly 60% of drivers admit to leaving less than the recommended two-second gap between themselves and the vehicle in front. The project will focus on business drivers because on average they undertake high annual driving mileages and are involved in a quarter of road traffic collisions, according to the DfT report.

Robert Gifford, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Trust said: “This project tackles two important issues: close following which is of concern to many road users and driving for work which poses increased risk to all drivers. I hope that the Trust’s support will help to develop a useful tool for employers as they take their role in managing this issue seriously.”

Practical interventions may focus on education, engineering or enforcement approaches or a combination of these.

The TTR and TRL team is now looking for local authority partners to work with them to recruit employers within the pilot area and develop a package of behaviour change techniques to measure and influence attitudes towards close-following.

Marcus Jones, Senior Expert, Sustainable Mobility at TTR added: “The project provides an excellent opportunity for road safety departments to not only help tackle tailgating on their road networks, but develop new tools they can use in the future.”

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