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Strategies, measures and their implementation

Strategies, measures and their implementation



Strategies, measures and their implementation

Safety culture and championing

What is safety culture?

In Sweden, the Netherlands and Australia, the Vision Zero, Sustainable Safety and Safe Systems concepts are contributing to the establishment of a national safety culture and championing in road and work-related safety policies and approaches. These highlight the unacceptability of the high social cost and avoidable serious public health loss resulting from road crashes and the need for these to be addressed by systematic, results-focused and well-coordinated approaches (See AAA Foundation Conference, 2006 for general discussion about safety culture issues [2]).

For organizations in general, there is no generally accepted definition of safety culture, but examples of safety culture 'characteristics' include safety policies and procedures issued by senior management, the commitment to implementing safety policy shown by line management and the willingness to comply with safety rules shown by the workforce.

In-depth research of the operations and management of 5 large companies in the Netherlands characterised safety culture by:

  • The extent to which the management has a safety policy and acts accordingly
  • The extent to which a company wants to learn from failures
  • The extent to which a company has insight into its own safety and is willing to adopt structural measures to improve safety

The study concluded that a safety culture was not present in all 5 companies which they explained by the following: the absence of indicators for measuring safety performance; an acceptance of crashes as the price of business compensated for by insurance premiums; lack of understanding of the importance of planning (e.g. work/trips (influencing fatigue and time pressure); the tendency of employees to want to work hard for their company but to want to have freedom of the road. Where companies decided to take some safety action, it was as a result of being pressed in some way by customers, insurance companies, or government regulations [52].

A British study of fleet trainers, fleet managers, fleet drivers and the insurance industry indicated that the driving culture within an organization may stress business needs, such as delivery quotas, before safety. A strong 'safety culture' within a company led to safety concerns being addressed more rigorously in that company. In addition, companies with strong safety cultures were found to be more satisfied with the outcomes of safety measures that had been implemented [12].

An Australian study noted that organizations may shape individuals' work-related driving behaviour indirectly through the organizational fleet safety climates that evolve [55].

Safety culture and crash liability

The organization's 'safety culture' has an important effect on the crash liability of company drivers. A British study of company vehicle drivers in both small and large companies (using mainly company cars and LGVs) showed a relationship between safety culture, driver attitudes and crash liability [4]. Another British review emphasised the importance of the organizational conditions under which drivers work. Individual measures such as driver training will be undermined if no steps are taken to change the conditions under which employees drive, e.g. reducing time pressure and fatigue, and keeping attention-demanding tasks to a minimum [5].

Strategy and programme development

Guidelines: Guidance for employers for establishing work-related road safety strategies and programmes has been developed at national, State, and local levels as well as by non-governmental road safety organizations and trades unions. Examples include:

Driving at work: Managing work-related road safety (UK)

Reducing at-work road traffic incidents (UK)

Vic Roads Safer Driving Manual (Victoria, Australia)

Managing Occupational Road Risk Road: the RoSPA guide (UK)

Safer Driving at Work: A guide for Unison Safety Representatives (UK)

Roads and Traffic Authority of NSW. (1994). Safe driving policy: Safe vehicles operated safely.

Roads and Traffic Authority: Sydney,Road Safety Council. (1997). Guidelines for a safe driving policy for fleet operators. Perth:Road Safety Council, Western Australia.

Programme measures: Research indicates that the fleet safety initiatives which have potential to be effective are [29]:

  • Selecting safer vehicles
  • Some particular driver training and education programmes (e.g. Hertz study by National Safety Council in Kedjidjian, 1995; the Swedish Televerket Study)
  • Incentives (not rewards). Incentive programmes appear to be most effective when the time period in which the desired outcome is expected is short. They may also be more effective in younger drivers. Drivers with good records who are given a reward either show no difference or an increase in their crash rate.
  • Safety programmes in companies with an overall safety emphasis.

Safer fleets

Fleet buying and safety: In North America, surveys have shown that safety is among the top considerations of fleet managers in selecting new vehicles. In most cases, fleet buyers rank the safety record of a vehicle just behind its initial cost, suitability for a particular job, and depreciation/resale value [35]. Vehicle selection by fleet buyers is generally a choice of the safest possible car within reasonably tight constraints, rather than the safest possible car on the market [29].


VicRoads Safer Driving Manual outlines four steps for policy development
1 Gain management commitment In order to begin the process of developing a Safer Driving Policy, senior management needs to accept the important role that driving and cars play in your organization.
2 Identify key people Decide who is going to be involved in the development of your policy. People such as fleet managers, human resource managers, OH&S managers and industrial relations managers may be suitable. Others to include could be employees with a particular interest in road safety issues. Involving employees in the policy development stage will ensure their ideas and input are considered. A consultative and collaborative approach will lead to greater acceptance of the policy at the implementation stage. Ideally, appoint a manager to co-ordinate the Safer Driving Program, who reports directly to senior management.
3 Since no two organizations are exactly alike, you will need to devise a Safer Driving Policy that suits your particular needs and meets your organization's specific activities and priorities. Your fleet's crash data/insurance claims and also information such as WorkCover claims involving motor vehicles can guide the development of the policy. The policy should be suitable for implementation in your organization. Sample policies have been included in this kit and can be used as a starting point. As a minimum, the policy should cover:
  • Buying safer cars
  • Education of employees
  • Monitoring of crash data.

The policy should clearly outline the responsibilities of employees and management.

4 Gather support Consultation is the key to a successful Safer Driving Policy. Once the draft policy has been developed, consider making it available to staff for comment. This will ensure their future support. Also identify which key decision makers will need to support the policy and its implementation throughout your organization. Key decision makers may include the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), board members, support. Support from senior managers is essential.

Performance-based safety buying: Some fleet policies identify lists of vehicle measures which are to be sought in fleet buying. Others use

safety performance ratings such as New Car Assessment Programmes. Safety rating schemes, based on real-world crash data, show a 1 to 5 ratio between the best - and the worst-performing cars, while if taking size (more strictly mass) into account, the ratios are in the order of 1 to 2.5 between best-performing and worst-performing cars [29].

Vehicle safety features: Car mass, also plays a major role in crash protection. In general, the risk of a serious injury is reduced by 5-10% for every extra 100 kg of car mass, in two car collisions [6][40]. Additional crash protection features such as driver-side airbags, side airbags and anti-whiplash protection may also be included, as are crash avoidance measures such as electronic stability control and daytime running lights. Many of these features are taken into account in Euro NCAP safety ratings. Alcohol interlocks are used increasingly in Sweden in company fleet policies to prevent excess alcohol and driving. Preventative maintenance is often promoted, but the extent to which it contributes to safety (rather than reduced unscheduled maintenance costs) is unclear [29]. Studies of 'event data recorders' or 'black boxes' in Europe and the U.S. have shown that driver and employee awareness of an onboard EDR reduces the number of crashes by 20 to 30%, lowers the severity of such crashes, and decreases the associated costs. [48][56]. In EU countries, the fitment of speed limiters in lorries and buses has been mandatory since the mid-nineties.

Speed limiters in lorries and buses

Since the mid nineties, speed limiters have been obligatory for all new lorries heavier than 12 tonnes and all new buses heavier than 10 tonnes, following European regulation. Since 1 January 1995, this obligation has also applied to existing vehicles.

Lorries must have their speed limiter set to 85 km/h and buses to 100 km/h. In practice, speed limiters for lorries are set at 89 km/h.

From 2004, heavier delivery vans (> 3,500 kg) also have to be equipped with a speed limiter

In addition, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS): systems that support the driver in his/her driving task have been identified as holding much future promise. These include such as:

  • Speed limitation/warning devices
  • Active anti-roll systems and active steering systems to improve the sideways stability
  • Intelligent cruise control, lane keeping support and collision avoidance to prevent collisions
  • Black boxes for checking driving behaviour
  • Automatic vehicle guidance for the safety and optimum use of the road network

Benefits: While fleet safety policies as a whole have not yet been evaluated, the benefits of ensuring that vehicle fleets are as safe as possible are likely to be substantial.

Examples of safer fleet policies include:

The Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) fleet purchase policy

The Swedish Road Administration's Travel Policy

The Transport Accident Commission Vehicle Purchase Policy, Victoria


Safer use of the network

Driver selection

Research has highlighted the potential scope for recruitment of safer drivers based on personality profiles, risk perception, experience, age, and medical screening [31]. Little evaluation, however, seems to be available of driver selection strategies.

A number of driver selection strategies have been proposed to improve fleet safety. Their general focus has been on trying to identify potentially risky drivers on the basis of their previous driving record. It has been noted, however, that while this may identify a small number of highly risky drivers (e.g. disqualified drivers or repeat drink drivers), it may not be predictive of later crash involvement for the majority of drivers [29].

An Australian overview concluded that many drivers of fleet vehicles are not selected on the basis of their ability to drive safely, but on other characteristics necessary for their main job which necessitates driving. In general, driver selection has only been considered important for drivers of commercial vehicles [29].

Driver testing and training

Conventional fleet training: There is no scientific evidence in the literature in the form of scientific controlled studies that conventional fleet driver training is effective in reducing crashes [12], despite the strong belief in the effectiveness of driver training courses by those involved [29].

Defensive driver training: However, formal defensive driver training for professional drivers, taught at the workplace, combined in larger companies with motivation and incentive systems for crash-free driving, has been found to reduce the crash rate by around 20%. Other types of instruction for professional drivers, including skid training, both amongst ambulance drivers and drivers of lorries and articulated lorries have been found to increase the crash rate [16].

Effects of training and testing professional drivers on the number of accidents [16]
  Percentage change in the number of accidents
Accident severity Type of accident affected Best estimate 95% confidence interval
Course in defensive driving for experienced drivers (accidents per km driven)
Unspecified (all) All types of accidents -20 (-33; -5)
Skid training for ambulance drivers (accidents per driver)
Unspecified (all) Accidents in icy conditions +45 (-35; +220)
Skid training for drivers of heavy vehicles (accidents per km driven)
Unspecified (all) Accidents in icy conditions +22 (+9; +36)
More stringent driving tests for drivers of heavy vehicles (total accident figure)
Injury accidents All types of injury +5 (+4; +6)

Group discussions: A Swedish study of countermeasures implemented by Televerket showed statistically significant reductions of crash risks in the groups which had participated in defensive driver training and group discussions [22].

Driver testing: More stringent driving tests do not appear to lead to fewer crashes [16].

Work scheduling: Company drivers, who travel longer distances during the hours most associated with sleep or after a hard day's work, are more likely to be at risk of fatigue than are most private motorists. Driving hours of long haul commercial heavy goods vehicles and public transport driving and rest are covered by European legislation. Examining work schedules to ensure that drivers are not pressured by time and ensuring that people do not drive long journeys after a full day's work are two means by which companies can help to create a framework for safer driving [5]. Research suggests that unless companies adopt such policies, the effectiveness of any driver-centred interventions such as selection and training may be undermined by day to day working practices and pressures [5].

Incentives: A review [29] of the effects of incentive and disincentive programmes reported in the literature indicates that:

  • Some programmes had negative effects
  • Incentive programmes (where benefits are conditional upon future safe driving) are more effective than reward programmes (where benefits are conditional upon past safe driving. Incentive programmes appear to be most effective when the time period in which the desired outcome is expected is in the near future. Incentive programmes may be more effective in younger drivers.
  • Drivers with good records who are given a reward either show no difference or increase their crash rate.

Sustainable funding

As for road safety in general, sustainable annual sources of funding are needed to improve work-related road safety management. The Work-related Road safety Management Task Group concluded that the societal savings to be made were so considerable that they dwarfed the added funding to enforcing authorities that might be necessary [15].

Delivery partnerships

Work-related road safety task forces: One organizational mechanism which has been successful in encouraging awareness and activity nationally is the establishment of work-related road safety task forces. In Britain, for example, the independent Work-related Road Safety Task Group, which was foreseen in the national road safety strategy, was established in 2000. It comprised expertise of a wide range of organizations: employers, both large and small, worker representatives, law enforcement agencies, road safety experts, driving standards, transport groups, the insurance industry and policy makers with a secretariat of officials from the Health and Safety Executive [30] and the Transport Department. It produced a report with a series of recommendations for national policy development, some of which have been implemented.

Terms of Reference - Work-related road safety task force, Britain[15]

  • Establish (or signal what further work is required to establish) accurate casualty and incident statistics for work-related activities on or near roads
  • Establish (or signal what further work is required to establish) the main causes and methods of preventing work-related road traffic incidents
  • Promote a public debate on best practice in relation to preventing at-work road traffic incidents
  • Propose minimum health and safety management standards for employers, the self employed and others for work-related journeys and other work activities on the highway
  • Propose if possible non-legislative mechanisms for dovetailing road traffic law with health and safety at work law
  • Propose mechanisms for effective liaison between those who enforce road traffic law and those who enforce health and safety at work law
  • Prepare a Regulatory Impact Assessment if appropriate.

Similarly, task forces were established in several Australian States to assist with policy development. For example, the Corporate and Fleet Safety Working Party was formed, with representation from VicRoads, Transport Accident Commission, Victoria Police and the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria. It reports to the Road Safety Reference Group and its aim was to implement a program (or programs) that is likely to be well accepted in the business environment and which will reduce casualty crashes.

Stakeholder coalitions: In April 2002, the Occupation Road Safety Alliance (ORSA) was established in Britain by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents bringing together over 60 key road safety and occupational safety stakeholders. The organization is 'virtual' having no formal constitution, officers or funds. However, it has proved to be a valuable network, bringing together key players from the occupational and road safety communities to help sustain the momentum generated by the Dykes Report and to work towards a coordinated national effort to make risk on the road while at work part of mainstream health and safety management and regulation.[3]

Occupational Road Safety Alliance (ORSA, 2006)

Aims to:

  • Facilitate networking between key stakeholders
  • Encourage joint working to raise awareness in organizations of the need for action on work related road safety
  • Promote the exchange of information on new initiatives and best practice
  • Establish a statement of common goals
  • Organize events
  • Establish technical co-operation

In September 2002 ORSA agreed a core statement which is a road safety 'challenge to business' setting out the safety, legal, social and business case for action and indicating the steps which employers should be taking to manage at-work road risk as a mainstream health and safety issue.

In 1994 the Department of Development, Housing, Transport and Tourism in France recommended the establishment of Clubs Enterprises. The Clubs are organized as associations in nine regions. For example, the association in Haute-Garonne has 38 partner companies which correspond to about 69,000 employees, 17,500 vehicles and 218 million kilometres of vehicle travel per year. The objectives of the association are to lessen the human and economic costs of road crashes and, to work cooperatively to mobilise companies around a common plan, and to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences among the partners.

Research and knowledge transfer

Effective work-related road safety requires an evidence-based approach. With some exceptions, investigation of the problems and solutions has barely begun in most European countries.International differences in data collection make international comparisons difficult. European-wide research is necessary to inform cooperative approaches. Further knowledge is needed about crash and injury causation, the costs of work-related crashes and the effectiveness of different approaches to work-related road safety management. The main means of national, regional and local knowledge transfer is through guidance, funded and directed by central government. In some countries, the research organizations and the non-governmental road safety sector are active in identifying the key problem areas and contributing to knowledge transfer about effective countermeasures. A coalition of stakeholders in work-related road safety management in Britain has proved useful in sharing knowledge [41]. In countries that are considering extending the remit of health and safety legislation and enforcement to include work-related road safety, management training to include at-work road safety risk management issues will be needed within management courses that address health and safety.

Non-governmental sector activity

The non-governmental road safety sector is an important partner in work-related road safety activity, as advocates, facilitators of best practice information exchange, researchers and employers, as illustrated by examples from Britain, Sweden and Australia.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Britain has long campaigned for organizations to adopt a proactive risk management approach to reducing the risks connected with 'at work' vehicle use, tackling this issue within the framework which they will already have in place for managing health and safety at work. As a member of the Government's Work Related Road Safety Task Group, RoSPA has helped to establish a national strategy on managing occupational road risk including the development of the recent HSE/DFT guidance 'Driving at Work - managing work-related road safety', for employers on their duties to manage risk on the road under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. In 1998, it carried out an international survey of work-related road safety in different countries. The BRAKE organization has also played a key role in knowledge transfer and advocacy for improvements to work-related road safety in Britain.

In Sweden, the National Society for Road Safety, Sweden (NFT) advocates for improvements in work-related safety and is developing a safety rating for the work-related road safety contributions of companies and organizations.

NTF work-related safety demands

  • Road safety in commercial traffic is a responsibility for management and transport buyers
  • Transport companies and transport buyers should introduce transport safety quality systems
  • Minimum demands in a transport safety quality system are a sober driver, who always follow the speed limits and use his seat belt. The essence of the quality system is the control of these demands
  • Transport companies and transport buyers that introduce genuine systems for safe transport should be highlighted as good examples
  • Legislation and wage-conditions that encourage illegal high speeds and violations of regulations of driving-time and resting-time should be changed
  • The Work Environmental Act should be applied even when it comes to safe transport
  • Permits for commercial traffic should be connected to the companies traffic safety work
  • In the case of travel to and from work, employers should encourage the use of, for example, cycle helmets and reflectors even if there is no relevant legislation.

In the research sector, the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) has been active in conducting research into work-related road safety and developing its own fleet safety policy.

The German Traffic Safety Council (DVR) has conducted programmes in conjunction with the German occupational accident insurance funds aimed at improving work-related road safety. The Council has promoted the establishment of voluntary safety circles in which employees from the company vehicle fleet met together to discuss critical points and devise solutions under the leadership of an experienced moderator. DVR also runs training courses.

Parliamentary Committees

The important role of parliamentary committees in work-related road safety management has also been recorded [39]. In New South Wales, Australia "The Staysafe committee produced the highly influential Staysafe36 report, and several other relevant publications and related events. Staysafe36 covered a range of road safety and Occupational Health and Safety issues, and can be seen as a very important starting point for many of the current fleet safety initiatives in Australia". In Queensland, "the Travelsafe Committee co-organised and hosted a symposium on work-related road trauma and fleet risk management and released Travelsafe Report No. 34. This has led to a range of recommendations for different government agencies in Queensland, including the collection of purpose of journey data, more fleet safety in the road safety action plan and closer collaboration between key Government agencies, including Police, Transport and OH&S. Several participant organizations have also implemented fleet safety reviews, programs and specific countermeasures as a direct result of the symposium."