GEM marks Volunteer Week 2014 with a new safety resource for volunteer drivers
ROAD SAFETY AND breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is today marking Volunteer Week 2014 (1-7 June) with the launch of a brand new video resource for volunteer drivers. The free resource consists of three short videos, offering advice that is relevant to most volunteer driving situations.
Volunteer drivers typically use their own vehicles to provide transport for others to and from medical appointments, shopping trips or to visit hairdressers. They are unpaid but often claim a mileage allowance for the journeys they make.
This first video focuses specifically on drivers, the vehicles they use and the journeys they make. It covers the importance of regular vehicle checks, document checks and journey planning.
The second video has been devised in partnership with the ambulance service to assist those who volunteer as community first responders. Although they may be driving to urgent, sometimes life-threatening medical emergencies, they need to ensure they stay safe and within the law at all times. This video includes an introduction from Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, ACPO lead for roads policing.
The third video looks at the principles of COAST: Concentration, Observation and Anticipation to give Time and Space – an excellent approach to driving for any volunteer. There’s expert advice all drivers can implement immediately – and reduce their risk in the process.
David Williams MBE, chief executive of GEM Motoring Assist, says: “GEM recognises the value of all volunteer driving, but is also keen that the risks faced by drivers – as well as any risks they pose – should be reduced to a minimum.
“Volunteer drivers give their time without charge to ensure there is problem-free access for other, more needy individuals and families, to attend medical appointments, to make shopping trips and to take part in other community activities.
“This resource aims to raise the profile of road safety in general for volunteers, and specifically assists with tips on defensive driving, journey planning and maintaining an attitude where safety is promoted and risk is minimised.”
Robin Gwinnett, head of driver training and development at South West Ambulance Service, welcomed the resource. “We have been pleased to work closely with GEM Motoring Assist to ensure its messages are appropriate and helpful for the volunteer community first responders (CFRs) who will use it,” he said.
“There are now thousands of volunteers who assist the ambulance service across the country by responding to medical emergencies in their local area. We want to ensure they remain safe and within the law on their way to any incident they may attend.”
Simon Macartney, driving standards manager at South East Coast Ambulance, also welcomed the resource, and in particular the video on emergency responding. “This video sets out the importance for a volunteer responder of remaining calm and courteous, and of obeying all speed limits on the way to an emergency. Our intention is to ensure all volunteers in our CFR schemes watch the videos as part of their regular update training,” he said.
The three videos, with accompanying quiz papers, are ideal for group viewing and discussion, but can equally be used by individuals.