PSNI welcomes Hireco initiative to cut down on lorry driver mobile phone use
BELFAST-based truck and trailer rental company Hireco has launched a new initiative which is being supported by the Police Service of Northern Ireland to prevent road traffic collisions caused by drivers using mobile phones.
Hireco, which has more than 5,000 trucks and trailers on the road across Britain and Ireland, has made a significant investment to instal hands-free kits into each of the units it sells or rents.
Hireco’s Ricky Graham said the move is in response to growing concerns over the illegal use of mobiles whilst driving.
“How often do you see lorry drivers using mobile phones as they drive at speed on the motorway? Our customers often point out their concerns and we’ve been trying to come up with a way of alleviating the problem in any way we can," he said.
"So we've decided, at our own expense, to offer a hands free kit to any of our customers’ driver who rent a truck or trailer over the course of the next 12 months. The fitted kits will be paired to the drivers’ personal mobiles and at least then they can take calls without taking their eyes off the road.”
Welcoming the move, Inspector Rosie Leech of PSNI Roads Policing said: “While we acknowledge that detections are on a downward trend, last year police stopped 5,943 people holding their mobile phone while driving, making calls, texting and sending emails.
"We have also detected people using various smartphone apps, even watching films when they should be paying attention to the road.
“Drivers who use a mobile phone are four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves and other people. If that driver is in charge of a lorry, weighing upwards of ten tonnes, the chances of major loss of life (if a driver is distracted) increases dramatically.
"So we are particularly pleased to support Hireco’s initiative, and thank them for bringing the leadership of the haulage industry together so that we can discuss this issue and identify how we can all work together to stop it.”
Seamus Lehany of the Freight Transport Association (FTA) also welcomed the initiative and said that hauliers welcomed the chance to discuss the issue with the PSNI.
“We are delighted with this proactive road safety event devised by Hireco with the aim of reducing the use of mobile phones by vocational drivers while driving. This not only has road safety benefits but will help manage compliance for fleet operators.”
Hireco was established in 1971 and was then taken over by Pat Carson & George Boyd in 1991 when they acquired the trailer rental business based in Belfast and owned by the O'Rourke coal distribution business. Back then, fleet size was 65 trailers and turnover £400,000.
Today, the Hireco group has a fleet of more than 5000 trailers with a value of £45m, and an annual turnover in excess of £25 million.
Its sister company Serviceco contributes £5.5m worth of that turnover. It provides service, repair and emergency assistance to a wide range of customers in the haulage and logistics industries throughout Britain and Northern Ireland.