Fleet industry veteran takes board role at company to promote life-saving technology
Experienced fleet manager Paul Holmes has given new
meaning to American entrepreneur Victor Kiam’s famous phrase by becoming a
director of PeoplePanels, a division of Dawes Highway Safety.
Mr Kiam used the phrase “I liked the shaver so much, I
bought the company” in TV advertising for Remington, and now entrepreneur Mr
Holmes is backing the business that has developed innovative engineering
solutions for commercial vehicles to protect vulnerable road users from death
Award-winning Dawes Highway Safety’s PeoplePanel and
DawesGuard prevent vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, cyclists and
pedestrians from being crushed under the wheels of commercial vehicles.
The technology, which is accredited by both the Fleet
Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) and Construction Logistics and Community Safety (CLOCS),
has already been adopted by safety-focused fleets that include BP McKeefry,
Keltbray, Mick George and Travis Perkins.
What’s more, fleets fitting the innovative technology are
also reaping fuel economy savings as the side panels reduce drag under a truck
Indeed, Dawes Highway Safety calculates that over the typical seven-year
life of a large goods vehicle the cost of a pair of panels - one for each side
of the vehicle - would be less than £1 per week.
Hampshire-headquartered Dawes Highway Safety was founded
by former Metropolitan Police motorcycle sergeant and now managing director
James Dawes, and Mr Holmes has joined the company as commercial director.
A former award-winning fleet manager at two of Britain’s
biggest organisations - Centrica-owned British Gas and the AA and with a
near-40-year fleet industry career behind him, Mr Holmes said: “The technology
developed by Dawes Highway Safety is the simplest and most effective road
safety solution that I’ve seen during my fleet industry career.
“During my many years as a fleet manager I saw numerous
technological developments with their backers often making ridiculous claims
about their effectiveness. The beauty of the PeoplePanels and DawesGuard is in
their simplicity, cost, ease of fitment and proven ability, which is why I’m
backing the business.
“Two panels for a vehicle operating over an average seven-year
life cycle cost less than £1 a week. The question for fleet and transport
managers is can they afford not to fit the technology?”
The Department for Transport’s 2015 data ‘Reported Road
Casualties in Great Britain’ - the most recent year available - highlights that
casualty and fatality rates per billion passenger miles for vulnerable road
users were: motorcyclists 6,676 casualties per billion miles travelled;
cyclists 5,824 casualties per billion miles cycled; and pedestrians 2,108
casualties per billion miles walked. Those figures compare with a car occupant
casualty rate of 273 per billion miles driven with the figures significantly
lower for bus and commercial vehicle occupants.
As commercial director, Mr Holmes will be promoting the
PeoplePanels and DawesGuard to a wide range of businesses operating commercial
vehicles ranging from 3.5-tonne vehicles to four-wheel tippers and articulated
lorries with trailers.
Mr Holmes, who will continue in his roles as a director
of independent fleet consultancy FMF (Fleet Managers’ Friend), which he
launched nearly three years ago, and as a director of the recently launched
Horizon Vehicle Management, added: “Many businesses are fitting cameras to
their vehicles but the video recording will only tell a fleet manager that a
driver has run over a person, the PeoplePanels and DawesGuard will prevent a
vulnerable road user from falling under the wheels of a vehicle and potentially
save their life.”
Mr Dawes, who
founded Dawes Highway Safety in 2015 and during his police career witnessed
numerous road traffic crashes seeing first-hand the impact and devastation such
incidents can have on all involved, said: “Paul’s arrival in the business will
take the company to a new level in terms of exploiting opportunities in the
commercial vehicle fleet market.
“We are in discussions with numerous fleets - many
household names - about fitting the PeoplePanel and DawesGuard to their
vehicles. Additionally we hope to shortly announce a tie-up with a major
insurance broker that could potentially lead to premium reductions for fleets
that fit the technology to their commercial vehicles.”
Research by TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) into
safer lorries in London concluded that the fitting of flat panel side guards -
intended to fill the gap between the front and rear axles of vehicles to
prevent people from being run over by a vehicle’s rear wheels - would reduce
fatalities and serious injury among pedestrians and cyclists.
Additionally, the fitting of the Dawes Highway Safety
side panels is proven to reduce drag under a truck and trailer thus delivering
MPG savings to fleets and therefore a further return on investment.
A report by the National Research Council Canada Centre
for Surface Transportation Technology also highlights that side panels reduce
vehicle drag thus delivering fuel savings of “the
order of 3-7%”. An average 40-tonne articulated lorry, driving
70,000 miles a year, would save £1,440 every year if a 3% fuel saving was
achieved. As a result, Dawes Highway Safety
says that if such a fuel saving was achieved a set of PeoplePanels could pay
for themselves in four months.