The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has a vision: life free from serious accidental injury. Britain now has one of the best road-safety records in the world, but with around five people still dying on our roads every day there is much more to be done.

According to RoSPA, serious accidental injuries are a burden – a burden that afflicts too many, preventing them from enjoying life to its fullest – and one the company is determined to eradicate.

Its Driver Development course aims to ensure that all drivers, regardless of their driving history or previous training experience, undergo continuous professional development. The course combines both the theory and practice of defensive driving techniques, and made the company a worthy winner of our Safety Award for 2018.

This best-selling, bespoke, one-day course from RoSPA aims to give drivers of cars, vans and heavy goods vehicles the skills and techniques they require to anticipate danger and reduce risk when on the road.

Staff are taught a systematic approach to hazards as well as defensive techniques. The principles are then be applied to the three main driving environments: town, country and the motorway.

The course encourages a company’s employees to be honest about their own behaviour, to help develop coping strategies for themselves as well as in response to the actions of other
road users. The overall aim of the teaching is to develop a positive attitude to driving, which includes understanding how personal factors can affect performance.

RoSPA believes its course will enable companies to reduce the frequency and cost of accidents, as well as lessen vehicle downtime due to maintenance, repairs and injuries.

It will enable businesses to save on fuel, tyres and spares, and enhance their reputations.

The safety organisation says that its Driver Development training is ideal for a range of drivers – from those who have just passed their test through to more experienced drivers who are working towards RoSPA’s Occupational Advanced Driving Test or National Diploma in Advanced Driving.

RoSPA also campaigns on road safety and is working to alter the country’s current daylight-saving system by moving the clocks forward by an hour all year round to increase safety for pedestrians. The organisation says that this change would create lighter evenings throughout the year and result in fewer people being killed and injured. It would also bring significant environmental and health benefits, while aligning the UK with the Central European Time Zone would also create additional business benefits, RoSPA claims.

Errol Taylor, RoSPA’s chief executive, explained: “The current daylight-saving system is archaic, developed at a time when working practices and technology were a million miles from what we have today. We would like to see the Government assess the potential benefits of the change, which could take the form of a short trial.

“Not only would a change save lives and reduce injuries, but it would also have a host of other benefits in terms of the environment, health, tourism, crime and social isolation.”

Highly Commended: VW Commercial Vehicles

Runner-up for the Safety Award is VW Commercial vehicles, which is extremely deserving of recognition for the safety kit the manufacturer has used on its new Crafter van.

The Crafter features a highly comprehensive safety package including ABS, an electronic stability programme that adjusts its behaviour in line with the load, electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic brake assist, and a traction control system. An electronic diff lock is fitted too. Ventilated disc brakes are installed at the front while the rear discs are solid.

Daytime running lights should ensure that other motorists will see the van coming, and the wide-angled lower section that forms part of the big exterior mirrors should make it easier for the driver to see what is coming up behind them.

A driver’s airbag is standard as is remote central locking. All the doors can be locked at the hit of a button on dashboard. A Thatcham Category 1 alarm protects both the cab and the load area. As well as going off if there is a break-in, it will sound if somebody tries to tow the van away illicitly.

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