The SafeT360 Virtual Reality Road Safety Programme is coming to New Zealand

In NTA, July 20215 MinutesBy Carol McGeadyAugust 28, 2021

SafeT360, developed by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), was launched in 2019. The ATA and its member associations collectively represent 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry.

SafeT360 uses virtual reality and interactive messaging to teach young road users how to share the road safely with trucks via a travelling road-safety exhibition and comprehensive digital campaign.

The SafeT360 methodology and content is supported by ongoing research and evaluation. An international review of road-safety communication research and three rounds of focus-group testing before and after concept development informed the design of the exhibition. The presenter scripts were tested in presentations delivered to more than 1000 late-secondary school students.

The ATA worked with academic road-safety researchers to design and implement a study that measures the long-term impact of the exhibition on participants’ message recall, on-road behaviour and crash and near- miss statistics.

The partnership developed between the ATA and NTA has made it possible to bring this world-class programme to New Zealand for the main purpose of saving lives on the road. Big plans are underway to refurbish the NTA Road Safety Truck and install the SafeT360 equipment. Nobody will miss out, as the comprehensive digital campaign will also be available online. With a smartphone and a SafeT360 headset, everyone can experience the virtual reality road-safety experience.

Visitors to the programme will leave understanding a truck’s blind spots, how long it takes a truck to stop and the dangers of distraction, as well as other tips on how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe around trucks. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility, and we all have a role to play, whether behind the wheel, on two wheels, or on foot.

Young drivers are over-represented in accidents here and in Australia. While travelling around the country with the NTA Road Safety Truck, we have found that the 16-to-25-year-old age group has virtually no knowledge of a heavy vehicle’s capabilities. Research tells us that young drivers take more risks and are distracted easily.

We believe that SafeT360 is a game-changer, and it will save lives. Equipping the young drivers with knowledge of a truck’s capabilities will change behaviours because they will have experienced it first-hand, as virtual reality puts them in the truck driver’s seat.

ATA safety, health and wellbeing director Melissa Weller says the partnership with NTA comes after months of collaboration. “The team from the NTA have shown their commitment to the programme, having visited and experienced the SafeT360 exhibition in full swing at the recent Brisbane Truck Show,” she said. “Our one clear goal is to save lives, not just in Australia but globally. We are so excited to see this evidence-based programme expand internationally.

“The support of Volvo, BP, National Transport Insurance and Australia Post have been amazing throughout SafeT360’s journey, and it is testament to their commitment that we can now expand.”

The New Zealand NTA Road Safety truck initiative is only possible because of the generosity of the industry sponsors. While we have no formal funding, we have managed to put 38,000 people through the programmes to date. So, we take the next step to refurbish the trailer and install the SafeT360 gear. A huge thank you to NTA members, the executive board and partners who make the programmes possible: Penske, Toll, BP, Teletrac Navman, TR Group, NZI, Z Energy, 3M, Carter’s Tyre Service, New Zealand Trucking magazine, Bluebridge, Bridgestone, Spartan Finance, R&B Recruitment, Cortex, 9 Yards Financial Services, Hiringa Energy, EROAD, VTNZ, TSI Logistics, Scania NZ, Safe Business Solutions and ABC Business Sales.

If you would like to support the rollout by becoming a sponsor, please contact Carol McGeady on carol.mcgeady@nztruckingassociation or 021 252 7252.