Reduce on-road risks with staff training

NRMA Motoring & Services

Sunday, 01 April, 2018


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The world today is more connected than ever before, with mobile phones and other gadgets making it possible to take care of business on the move.

While technology does make our lives easier, it’s also an increasing source of distraction in vehicles, with 28% of drivers admitting to using a mobile phone while driving (Driving Distractions and Crash Risk). And distraction, among other factors, can lead to dangerous consequences on the road.

In fact, vehicle incidents are the leading cause of all Australian workplace fatalities, with two-thirds of deaths in 2015 involving vehicles (Safe Work Australia, 2015).

Luckily, by prioritising driver training and education, you can equip staff with the skills and knowledge they need to operate vehicles safely — reducing risks to employees and your business.

Distractions are a major risk

In the Road Safety Series, the NRMA investigates a number of driver behaviours that contribute to road incidents. The findings of the ‘Can’t Talk. Driving.’ report echoes recent research by the RMS, which suggests that at least 14% of all crashes involve the driver being distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle. (Driving Distractions and Crash Risk.)

These distractions include talking or texting on mobiles, eating and drinking, passengers, adjusting entertainment or navigation systems and more. And the risk increases dramatically when factors like fatigue or speeding are added to the mix.

Business and mobile phones

Mobile phones are a must-have for conducting business outside the office. Unfortunately, they’re also a major issue in terms of distraction. Simply sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for around 5 seconds. At 90 km, that’s just like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Unsurprisingly, texting while driving is against the law in New South Wales for all drivers, alongside other tasks including emailing, using social media, taking photos, video messaging or holding the phone in any way.

But your staff need to communicate to keep the business moving, so what is okay? In New South Wales, drivers on unrestricted licences are able to make and answer calls only if the phone is either in a cradle fixed to the vehicle and doesn’t obscure the view of the road, or if it can be operated without touching any part of the phone, such as via Bluetooth or voice activation. Mobiles can also be used as an aid, including navigation and speed advisor, but only if the phone is in a cradle fixed to the vehicle and doesn’t obscure your view of the road (RMS Website, 2018). Although using a mobile phone while in a fixed cradle is legal, it’s important to note that this is still a significant distraction.

Benefits of training staff

Employers should exercise duty of care to ensure employees have everything needed to carry out their roles in a safe environment. This includes providing plenty of opportunities for skill development and education. From awareness of distraction dangers, to low-risk driving, specialty training and more.

Staff who drive and are trained in safe driving techniques become an asset to your business. Vehicles are operated more effectively, meaning less wear and tear, repairs and replacements. Better drivers also mean less downtime due to property damage or personal injury, save money with less compensation and deliver greater peace of mind as an employer knowing your staff are safe.

What you can do as an employer

If you’re ready to prioritise the on-road behaviours of your staff, it could be time to consider enrolling in corporate driver training. The NRMA offers a program designed to help your people become safer drivers, reduce on-road risks to your business, and promote a safer driving culture for your workplace.

The program content and delivery is tailored to suit your business’s needs, group size, venue, level of experience and vehicle types.

Available driver training options

Workshop presentation

Three-hour interactive learning session for groups of up to 12 people (larger groups by request). Participants learn the five main crash risks and the safety strategies to avoid them, human factors relating to crashes, accelerating and braking, low risk driving, fatigue management and more.

On-road group training

Conducted with a ratio of 3 drivers to 1 trainer per vehicle, participants will alternate between driving and observing throughout the 1.5-hour session. Training will take place around your local roads, using your own company vehicles to create relatable driving scenarios.

Coaching and assessments

By coaching one-on-one, your NRMA driver trainers can better identify and correct individual driver weaknesses while on the road. These sessions also help drivers recognise their own personal contribution to risk and develop strategies to increase their safety measures.

Long wheelbase vehicles and vans

This is a standalone course to give confidence to new drivers of larger vehicles. It can also be tailored as a refresher for existing drivers, with extra emphasis on reversing and manoeuvring exercises.

Keeping staff safe on the road should be a priority for every business. By ensuring employees have access to education and training, you can reduce on-road risks and vehicle downtime, and create a safer driving culture in your workplace.

To find out more about corporate driver training with the NRMA, visit the website, enquire online or call 1300 721 756.

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