Midlands Air Ambulance is calling on HGV drivers to support its latest drive geared at raising awareness of road safety.
As the number of Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs) attended by Midlands Air Ambulance Charity continues to rise each year, the emergency pre-hospital service has launched ‘Drive4Life’ in partnership with M6toll - a campaign which highlights the increasing cost of RTCs to the charity and urges HGV drivers to keep safety at the forefront of their minds in a bid to improve driving standards.
Each vitally important air ambulance mission costs Midlands Air Ambulance Charity £2,500 which is funded through the generosity of local businesses and the communities it serves.
- In 2018, the charity attended 672 RTCs, which cost the charity a staggering £1.68million.
- The service responded to 17 incidents involving HGVs in 2018 - more than one every month - which is a staggering statistic when you consider the specialist clinicians are called to some of the most serious incidents on Midlands’ roads.
Ian Roberts, air operations manager for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, states: “Due to the nature of our operation, and the ability to bring enhanced pre-hospital care to the roadside, the critical care paramedics and doctors are often called out to some of the most badly injured patients involved in road-related incidents, including HGV drivers.
“Unfortunately, there is an upward trend in the number of RTCs we attend year on year, which has a cost impact on the charity. For example, in 2017 we saw a 23 per cent increase in RTCs in 2017, which equated to almost two per day, and this figure rose once again in 2018.”
Emma Gray, fundraising and marketing director for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, said HGV drivers have an important part to play in helping to reduce these rising figures. She comments: "According to reports, almost twice as many HGVs over 7.5 tonnes are speeding on single carriageway roads since revised speed limits were introduced in 2015. Combine this with the fact that the UK's HGV market rose by 46.3% in the second quarter of 2019 and it's clear to see why we're urging the growing number of HGV drivers to be mindful of safety – both theirs and other road users.
“Due to the rising number of RTCs the aircrew attend each year, the cost to the charity is naturally on the rise too. As a service, which operates through donations, it's extremely important we continue to raise funds to ensure we can respond to these patients whenever we’re needed. We feel there are lots of practical things HGV drivers can do to remain safer on the roads; making sure they take regular breaks to combat fatigue, always observing the speed limit, if they stop and park, making sure it's somewhere safe where other road users can see them and recognising what constitutes acceptable behaviour.
"Changing behaviours is not easy however, with HGV drivers on board, we're confident we can make a significant difference to these escalating figures."
James Hodson, director of motorway operations at M6toll, concludes: “While statistically the M6toll is one of the safest motorways in the UK, we are always grateful for the lifesaving support of the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity when accidents do occur. We are so proud to support Drive4Life, helping to communicate vital road safety messages to drivers across the Midlands and beyond, and I'm sure HGV drivers out there will do all they can to help support this campaign."
Find out more about M6toll and Highways Engand’s road safety campaign, TruckSafe, by visiting: www.m6toll.co.uk/trucksafe
To find out more about the Drive4Life campaign, visit at www.midlandsairambulance.com/drive4life
 Source: Department for Transport
 Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).