Earlier in the week I was at a meeting to discuss the content for the AIRSO fleet trainers conference later this year. This conference is well worth attending if you are a fleet trainer or have an interest in road safety. Around the table were people wiser and more experienced than myself. Various ideas were discussed. Inevitably whilst chatting we came onto road causalities. One of my colleagues mentioned there are more deaths each year caused by traffic pollution than road casualties. I am not sure where the data came from, but no reason to doubt what I was being told. This got me thinking...
The reality is that road deaths are a relatively ‘small’ number each year given the total number of miles driven. Devastating if a member of your family is involved. However, for the majority of drivers the risk is seen as being very small, accidents happen to others, 'it's only driving’. There are also many other competing good causes trying to secure funding and interventions. So what is the answer to reduce road casualties?
Most driving instructors are doing their best to deliver quality training. But they face learners who want to pass their test as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Many people don't even think of driving instruction as a profession. Yet they allow their children to drive the family car on their own for the first time in expectation that their chosen instructor has trained their child to drive safely. Perhaps this will be the same driving instructor who may have had to offer 10 lessons for £99 or less to get the custom in the first place. How many trainers have ever been asked to go through their qualifications and DVLA grade before the customer has booked with them. Are the usual questions how much and how long does it take?
What about educational programmes in schools and colleges? At this time I am not sure what educational interventions there are where I live. How do we know what works? What about the pressures on schools to deliver the grades for core subjects. Do they have time or see the value of including education focussed upon new drivers?
What is the answer? Perhaps we all need to see driving for what it really is...the most dangerous thing that most of us will do each day and yet take for granted.