Brokers with fleet operators among their clients could help them mitigate risk amongst drivers – and meet strict health and safety compliance rulings - thanks to a new app.
A newly updated e-learning tool looks to improve driver education and reduce bad habits picked up over time with the bigger outcome being a reduction in accident risk.
Darren Cottingham, founder of DT Driver Training, a website he set up to improve New Zealanders’ access to learning road rules, said there were some frightening statistics which stressed the need for employers to ensure they were meeting their health and safety requirements and were taking all possible steps to improve outcomes.
“According to a New Zealand Medical Association study published in 2005, 50% of all workplace deaths are caused by vehicle accidents,” Cottingham said.
“In 2007, a research report by the Department of Labour found that one in four company vehicles were involved in an accident every year, creating a hidden average annual cost of $121,286 in the 85 companies surveyed.
“Clearly, driving for work increases your risk of having an accident, and that has implications for companies’ compliance under the Health and Safety at Work Act.”
Cottingham said the biggest factors elevating accident risk were:
- More kilometres on the road means more risk.
- Time management pressures – a study in 1993 found that people who were poor at managing meeting times rushed between appointments and were more at risk of car accidents.
- Distractions – looking for a car park or business premises was a distraction that took your eyes off the road, and drivers driving to and from meetings were more preoccupied with what they would say or what was said
- The 2-4pm mental lull – it was estimated drowsiness and fatigue caused at least 20% of fatal accidents
- Fatigue was cumulative during the week. A study of 941,329 males and female users of sleep app Sleep Cycle found that 90% of people experienced their longest sleeps on Friday or Saturday nights and 66% of people slept least on Sundays.
Cottingham said all these factors were compounded by the fact that once drivers took their test they failed to take any subsequent driving education.
“In fact, studies have shown that most drivers with a full licence would struggle to pass the learner licence test,” he said.
This was where it became a problem for businesses, he said.
“A vehicle used for work is a place of work as defined under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
“Employers and senior officers are responsible for the safety of their workforce and this includes not only the road rules, but also driver health and safety, covering fatigue, drug/drink driving, mobile phone use, safely carrying goods, and more.”
Cottingham was optimistic about the role e-learning could play in mitigating such risks.
“It’s very easy to forget what we learned and to pick up bad habits.
“Regular refreshers can keep driving concepts front-of-mind and help drivers make the right decisions, reducing accident risk.”
DT Driver Training, which already has over 70,000 users per month, from SMEs with just a couple of cars through to large hauliers and the NZ Army, contains a range of modules to suit different drivers’ various needs.
These include covering road rules, advanced driver training, driver health and safety, and also enabling a driver to start from scratch with learner licence practice for cars, motorbikes and heavy vehicles.
“Any employer with drivers that drive as part of their job must have adequate training and monitoring in place,” Cottingham said.
“An e-learning system that’s available 24/7 on any device is a convenient and cost-effective way of upskilling drivers as well as fulfilling health and safety compliance requirements.”
Cottingham launched www.drivingtests.co.nz
in 2010 to make it easier for any driver to either learn the road rules or refresh their knowledge.
There are now over 550 articles and resources about driving and road rules, with more being added every week.
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