According to the World Health Organization, every year, approximately 1,350,000 people die in the road accidents around the world. What are we doing differently since 2010?  Are we aware of the problem?  Are we aware of the “vaccines” that are available right now to reduce the levels of fatalities due to the global road safety epidemic?

You would think that with the advancements in vehicle safety, road safety concepts and products, driver education, and more, we would see fatalities dropping every year.  It is interesting that about 92% of the fatalities occur on lower and middle income countries.  These countries are not aware of many of the vehicle safety or road safety advancements.  This is exactly what IRF Global is trying to overcome.  It is very frustrating to tell road authorities about safety advancements only to see them totally disregard what you tell them.

Too many countries have a speed management problem. A pedestrian impacted by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph only has about a 10% chance of dying.  That same pedestrian impacted by a vehicle traveling at 40 mph has about a 90% chance of dying! However, we have pedestrians walking right next to roads with 45 mph speed limits. We must follow the example of London and Melbourne by implementing the “Safe System Approach” and reduce the speed limit within the city limits where pedestrians are located to 20 mph (30 km/h); Melbourne and London are two of the safest cities in the world for traffic fatalities. However implementing a 20 mph (30 km/h) speed limit in a city would be political suicide in many countries!

Context sensitive design, such as planting trees in medians, is another issue where the architects have a louder voice than the safety specialists.  Unfortunately in many cases there are no road safety specialists at the table. The proper utilization of an Road Safety Audit can help to make everyone aware of the road safety considerations. Our eyes MUST be opened by now, and now we must act aggressively to make a difference.   Act today to make a difference tomorrow.  We must make our roads “Safe,” and not just “Safer,” for All Road Users.

Worryingly, over a quarter of all road traffic incidents tends to involve someone who is driving as part of their work at the time. To minimize the risk of accidents occurring in your fleet, there are a number of steps that you can take

  1. Incorporate a Driver Policy

If you have not already done so, developing a driving at work policy that needs to be read and signed for by all of your drivers is the first stage. Your drivers need to be aware of what you are trying to achieve and how – with special attention to their role.

  1. Write a Road Risk Policy

If your employees use vehicles at work, you should make a written road risk policy available to them. This policy should look at your vehicles and drivers and how they are used. It should contain simple and straightforward language to set out objectives for reducing accidents and outline how this will be achieved. The document will serve as the cornerstone of your accident reduction strategy and should be made widely available across your organization.

  1. Asses Driving Skills

All drivers should be assessed on a regular basis. At the very least, this means checking their driving license and looking at health issues such as eyesight that may affect them on the road. It is also very desirable to assess practical skills through on-road checks of driving behavior by a qualified individual.

  1. Zero tolerance on drink and drugs

You must make it clear to drivers that you expect absolute adherence to the law on driving under the influence of drink and drugs. Many fleets go further and state that drivers should not drive under the influence of any drink or drugs. This policy applies to both prescription and illegal, recreational drugs.

  1. Create a road safety culture

Road safety needs to be taken seriously across your organization and considered at every level. For example, there is little point in having a comprehensive accident reduction strategy if employees are placed under pressure by line managers to follow unrealistic schedules or delivery times.

Road traffic injuries are predictable and preventable, but good data are important to understand the ways in which road safety interventions and technology can be successfully transferred from developed countries where they have proven effective. Awareness of the consequences of road traffic injuries is lagging among policymakers and the general public. What’s needed is incorporation of comprehensive road safety programs into national planning in developing countries.