If ever there was proof that driver training leads to tangible benefits in the road safety arena, here it is.
Comprehensive tyre and vehicle safety training has slashed the rates of disabling injuries due to vehicle crashes involving employees of the South African National Parks Biodiversity Social Projects (BSP).
This is according to Bridgestone training manager, Mickey Von Maltitz, who reports that disabling injuries have dropped significantly over the 2011 rate prior to the training.
“SANParks approached Bridgestone for help in managing their vehicle risks in 2011 after tyre problems were identified as a major contributing factor to traffic crashes among BSP staff,’ she explains. “In one case, 12 people were injured in a single crash.’
Bridgestone responded by dispatching a team of tyre safety specialists to the Kruger National Park to investigate the incident rate and provide tyre and roadworthiness training to BSP staff.
The training was provided to as many members of each BSP team as possible, not just contractors and drivers. The objective was to ensure that anyone who travelled in a vehicle was able to identify an unsafe tyre and suggest the correct remedial action.
The training, which kicked off in January 2012, soon saw a reduction in unroadworthy tyres by more than 50%, with a resultant decrease in crashes.
“The outcomes of the programme have been so positive that SANParks has decided to continue the training programme through 2013,’ says Von Maltitz, adding that SANParks’s Frontier Cluster is the second to benefit this year and Bridgestone’s tyre specialists also returned to the Kruger Park in May to conduct follow-up training.
The result has been that SANParks is enjoying the lowest rate of disabling injuries among BSP staff in two years and has also seen a reduction in both the number of traffic crashes as well as their severity.
The wide acceptance of the project by BSP staff had been a key driver of the improved safety standard. “Projects like this depend on trainee acceptance for their success and we’re pleased to report a hugely positive reception for the programme,’ says Von Maltitz.
“From the first day, the BSP staff were eager to learn and the results of the programme show that they’ve taken the training content to heart. With SANParks deciding to continue the programme into the future, we’re confident that this will result in continued lower crash and injury rates due to better tyre and vehicle knowledge among their staff,’ she concluded.
Bridgestone must be applauded for the accent it places on training. As regular readers will know, the company is also one of our valued partners in the FleetWatch Brake & Tyre Watch project which, to date, has trained over 1 000 traffic officials throughout the country. We lift our hats to Bridgestone