We all hear the noise about numbers when it comes to road safety. The annual road toll is plastered across our newspapers, televisions and devices whenever a deadly accident has occurred.
In recent times there has been a collaborative push across state and federal bodies to launch the Towards Zero campaign. At its core Towards Zero is a vision for a future free of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
Historical data will inform you that annual Australia road deaths have been on the overall decline since the later parts of the 20th century. There were 1,290 deaths in 2016, 700 less than the same period twenty years earlier. Prior to that having a total over 3,500 was common throughout the 1970s.
While the raw data shows Australia is heading in the right direction, John Cadogan of Auto Expert is keen to point out that simple numbers don’t really tell the whole story.
“If our response to road trauma isn’t from a personal experience, and it’s just numbers, statistics and a policy, then road safety is irrelevant,” he recently told AfMA members and guests at the NSW Professional Development Forum.
John sought to encourage members to understand the effects of road trauma by highlighting a personal experience he saw in the trauma unit of the John Hunter Hospital 10 years ago.
It was there John highlighted the case of Daniel, a young man he saw dying on the hospital bed in front of him while his parents frantically filled out the forms required so that the surgeons could complete life saving work on him.
“Doctors wait for the worst day in someone’s life to do their best work,” he said.
“Hospitals are not always a place where you get fixed. Hospitals are often a place where you emerge with a traumatic brain injury and live on a bed in a nursing home for the rest of your life.”
With this frightening stories in mind, it raises the question of how fleet managers can implement safety improvements within their own workplaces to lower their chances of road trauma. Many bosses are already noting that despite their best efforts employees are simply not taking their risk management policies seriously enough while out on the road.
John is quick to point out the need for personal discussions within the workplace, noting that “people don’t respond to non-imminent, non-personal threats”.
“Rather than being prohibitive and giving your employees a list of things they can’t do, try and appeal to them on a personal level of the benefits of safe driving,” he said.
“Someone in their forties or fifties may have younger children that are about to learn to drive.”
“You can provide parents with a bunch of skills that they can pass on to their children that will be a far more powerful motivator for safe driving than anything else you are able to teach them.”
You can read more about John Cadogan’s work within the auto industry at his website Auto Expert.
Spots are currently open for AfMA’s next NSW Professional Development Forum on October 31. You can find more info about the forum here.