Road safety education programmes changing behaviour on the road

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMay 9, 2018

A report commissioned by the NZ Transport Agency has shown that road safety education programmes are changing people‘s behaviour around trucks.

The Beca report into three education programmes (Share the Road with Big Trucks; Healthy Truck Driver; and Rollover Safer Journeys programmes) found that they had been well received by attendees, with the majority saying the reiteration of health and safety information was a helpful reminder to safe truck driving behaviour.

The report also found that an important factor in reducing truck crashes was addressing the public‘s behaviour around trucks. It said the Share the Road with Big Trucks Programme was a great interactive and captivating programme that taught children, parents and the public the limitations and behaviours of trucks.

Overall the report concluded there are positive behaviour changes as a result of the programmes, and these behavioural changes could contribute to fewer deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand roads.

“The independent evaluation from Beca is an amazing result,” says NZ Trucking Association CEO Dave Boyce. “It‘s so rewarding to have this result, proven independently, that our programmes are changing behaviour on the road, which is saving lives and serious injuries. This is what we set out to do and this is what we are achieving.”

Boyce says some argue that one-off visits don‘t work to change peoples‘ behaviour.

“But if that one-off visit is interactive and engaging and supported with good resources, then it‘s now proven that they can work. Having a programme that raises awareness by giving participants a memorable experience they can learn from is lifesaving.”

Since the NZ Trucking Association launched the Safety MAN Road Safety Truck in August 2017, more than 11,000 participants have been taught how to Share the Road with Big Trucks, and heavy vehicle operators have learnt how to be a Healthy Truck Driver.

The programmes were developed by the association to prevent crashes and truck rollovers. Share the Road with Big Trucks is delivered to schools, community groups and events, to raise awareness of truck capabilities and how to share the road safely. The Healthy Truck Driver programme highlights common health issues that can contribute to fatigue (one of the major factors in truck crashes) and provides tips on how to improve driver health and wellbeing.

More sponsorship is required so that the Safety MAN can meet the endless demand for visits. Currently a small team from NZ Trucking Association along with volunteer support run the programme.

“We would have the Safety MAN out 24/7 if we had suitable funding,” says Boyce.

“This initiative is a very cost-effective way to save lives and injuries on the road. While the focus of the programmes is safety around trucks, the messages suit all road users and all ages. Rolling up in this magnificent MAN truck and custom trailer instantly captures people‘s attention, and inside the trailer an inspiring learning environment has been created. It‘s a win-win.”