If you’re contemplating your career path or looking for a change in direction – why not consider Road Safety?
Yesterday I was privileged to be a delegate at PACTS conference to launch the government-backed Global Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 initiative.
Whilst Britain’s roads are getting safer, there is still much more that can be done to reduce the 6 or so deaths that occur each day in Britain as a result of vehicle crashes. The conference included a range of speakers to talk about varying aspects of this extremely important issue, and covering both the UK and Global problem and what they hope to see achieved both nationally and around the world over the next 10 years. Whilst many of us will completely see the important side of the effect of dangerous driving on human life, what we so often overlook is the staggering waste of money that road crashes create. From the cost of emergency services and healthcare, disruption to businesses, road repairs and vehicle recovery to the amount of insurance claims per year, it’s a pretty thought provoking subject that the economic effect amounts to around £3billion per year.
It was heart-warming to see so many truly passionate people on the subject, from car manufacturers to Road Safety officers, business road users, MPs including a Lord, and the star of the show, Phillip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Transport – fresh from numerous TV appearances that morning.
The news coverage has been exceptional, but highly focussed on the power now being given to traffic police to divvy out on the spot fines. I guess this is because it affects each and every one of us who drives a car? It was pointed out that many people think they are perhaps better drivers than they really are and that mindless, careless driving is becoming acceptable. Personally I think that the instant fine is a great idea and it should make all of us think more carefully about our driving habits. Most of us can be careless at times, make silly mistakes or fail to follow the Highway Code and its’ time that we were taken to task about it. Maybe we should consider getting a copy of the book which can be picked up in WH Smiths and seeing how much we really can remember from the time we took out test?
Another important message that came across in the conference was that of the need for continued research. Plenty of initiatives are put in place, but unless we create studies on these initiatives, we cannot truly know if they are working or not. Companies out there making massive profits and wondering how to spend some of their money should certainly consider funding the good work that can be carried out by study groups and road safety experts.
The morning’s proceedings included an interesting presentation from Tesco.com who outlined the steps they had taken and why, in a bid to bring down the numbers of their vehicles involved in crashes and road incidents. Whilst the reduction of loss of life has to be the primary aim, it really is a massive money saving as well as life-saving effort. It was fascinating to understand the steps that companies like Tesco.com have undertaken in the past decade to improve their drivers’ safety records, including limiting the top speed of their vehicles to 58mph and accurately monitoring and tracking the speed of the vehicles plotted against the speed limit where they are driving. Drivers who habitually break the speed limits are taken to task.
Despite now having over 2500 vehicles on the road, Tesco.com says it has, over the past ten years, significantly reduced the numbers of road incidents its vehicles are involved in and no doubt there are many more companies taking similar steps which I thought was reassuring to know.
Road Safety is a fascinating subject when you start to get under the surface, and one of the things that was mentioned again and again this morning, was that the industry needed new blood. Young people who have that passion to work in Road Safety in the years to come. But it was admitted that it’s not considered a terribly ‘sexy’ subject.
It would be wonderful if we could find a way to engage young people in the topic and show them how they could contribute to making Britain’s roads safer, save billions of pounds and greatly reduce the tragedy and devastation caused to hundreds of families every year.
Maybe Lord Sugar could come up with a Road Safety Challenge in the next series of The Apprentice? I would hedge a bet that the millions of young viewers tuning in would not only think about their own driving habits, but also see the value and satisfaction that a career in Road Safety could offer. Whether an engineer, designer, researcher, marketing executive, health professional, or logistic expert, there’s a job that can be done which will help improve the safety of our roads and plenty of opportunity to hear the words YOUR HIRED!