Public and Private Sector Vehicle Drivers Face Challenges in the Age of COVID-19

In an age of contactless journeys, vehicle drivers in both the private and public sectors face new challenges – how can they keep a safe distance?

Predictions have “contactless” journeys as a safer alternative to help people limit their interactions with key touchpoints in public travel. In places like the UK, for example, limiting the circulation of hard money is just one such attempt to promote safe travel. This comes as an answer to rising safety concerns. In the UK, taxi death rates involving COVID-19 are one of the highest compared to other occupations, according to official figures. Yet, when it comes to transportation – public, private or commercial – safety equipment is still evolving to understand how it keep can both passengers and drivers protected.

Debated by pundits in the news, the safety of passengers in public transport seems, at times, to be improving amidst COVID-19 precautions. The arrival of a universal law about face coverings is one step in correctly establishing safety protocol that layers in protection for those travelling in spaces that might be unwillingly compromised.

The recent growth in general awareness of safety PPE is a response to growing consciousness in protecting the public from an invisible contagion. It has also sparked ingenuity from other companies, which generate, improve and disseminate products that help create critical safety barriers.


COVID-19 has introduced the public to a new vocabulary. PPE describes protective equipment that is worn to reduce chances of exposure and transmission of the spread of this novel coronavirus. Common examples of PPE range from disposable plastic gloves, face shields and coverings and gowns. Yet, the list of safety equipment is growing as companies join in the response to tackling COVID-19.

Health care officials have placed importance in PPE as a primary means in responding to, and recovering from, COVID-19. The roles of PPE are changing to address the various situations and pressures where risk is high, and jobs require those extra layers of protection.

A challenge for vehicle drivers and passengers

Urban transport, among many other sectors, is having to self-innovate. In the early moments after the travel restrictions lifted, the transportation industry answered with heightened responsibility, better PPE availability and strict safety codes – using regular sanitisation stations, for example. With the virus in circulation, those who travel in these spaces must be vigilant.

For drivers. Perhaps the greatest share of responsibility falls on those who drive commercial or public vehicles. Drivers must be cautious and can refuse their vehicle to those who travel without meeting the basic safety protocol. Whether the mode of travel is by train, bus or taxi, these communal spaces are expected to live up to safety etiquette.

For passengers. This is mostly built up from commuting traffic, where public transport has long been a cost-effective alternative. Social distancing measures has caused many to review and reflect on how they travel, with recorded dips in those using public transport to travel in the months after the lockdown lifted and restrictions eased.

A safer journey for transportation

Innovating car transport and safety, a recently released inflatable, clear plastic isolation screen answers to the urgency around passenger and driver protection. When sharing a vehicle, an isolation screen, similar to a curtain or barrier, creates a protective film between driver and passenger. This isolation screen is scalable and easy to fit to any vehicle without intrusive installation. Designed for commercial, public and private vehicles, especially for shared transport, this screen reduces risk of infection.

Related to COVID-19 PPE, this screen has safety applications that help businesses, like taxis, resume as usual. Even larger commercial vehicles, such as buses, will find it helpful in isolating passengers safely. Made from Tuftane film and offering good chemical resistance, this screen is versatile and resourceful. As a transparent partition screen that acts like a firm barrier of resistance, this can innovate travel through a creative application of PPE.

This separation screen is one of many examples of companies responding to the pandemic in creative ways that put safety first. PPE is still at the frontline of plans to safely recover from the pandemic, using barriers to curb the spread of COVID-19. There remains a lot of power in these safety first, versatile PPE solutions.

The article was produced in collaboration with Permali, a global market leader in the design, manufacture and supply of innovative composite materials and components for the Aerospace, Defence and other industries worldwide.

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