Employers urged to step up for road safety by taking part in Road Safety Week

Employers, especially those with staff who drive for work, are urged to register now to be part of Road Safety Week 2016 (16-22 May). The charity Brake, which coordinates the event, is encouraging organisations to go to www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz for ideas on using the event to promote life-saving messages to staff and the wider community, and to register for a free action pack.

Road Safety Week, now in its 5th year, is coordinated with the support of sponsors QBE Insurance. It's a great time for employers to develop and promote safe and sustainable travel internally and engage the community to raise awareness. Read what companies did in 2015 here.

The theme that Brake will be promoting during the Week is Step up for road safety. The theme focuses on what we as individuals, and as organisations and communities, can do to help prevent deaths and injuries on roads. Brake will be calling on drivers to step up and be 'a road safety hero' every time they get behind the wheel, and on all road users to play their part in making our roads safer.

Brake will be focusing on the key messages of the Brake Pledge, including speed, drink and drug driving, seat belts, distractions and fatigue.

Road Safety Week can be used by employers to run road safety workshops or campaigns to promote a safe driving culture among employees, or to launch new initiatives aimed at reducing crashes or promoting sustainable travel. It's also a chance to engage customers and local communities in road safety, such as by working with local schools and colleges, or displaying road safety banners. View more ideas for getting involved.

Employers can access free electronic resources and guidance to help them get involved. Go to www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz for ideas and to register for a free e-action pack (emailed out from March) with downloadable posters, online resources and advice on taking part.

Brake is also urging organisations with staff who drive for work to make use of guidance from Brake's Professional membership scheme in the run up to the Week to develop year-round fleet safety practices. Becoming a member means discounts for Brake events, plus regular guidance briefings, resources, research and news.

Companies can also engage employee support for the cause by running an office fundraiser, such as joining in with Brake's Virtual Run, or holding a Bright Day, when everyone comes to work dressed brightly to draw attention to the vulnerability of pedestrians and cyclists, helping raise funds in aid of Brake's support services for road crash victims. Go to www.brake.org.nz/fundraise for more.

Caroline Perry, Brake's NZ Director said: "Employers can be pivotal in getting vital road safety messages out to drivers and families. At-work drivers are so often involved in fatal and injury crashes, which cause terrible and preventable suffering, and they cost businesses dearly. However, we know from our experience of working with employers that developing robust policies alongside a safe driving culture can make a massive difference to the safety of at-work drivers, and organisations' bottom line. Road Safety Week is the ideal time for organisations to get serious about at-work driver safety, or step up existing work and link it to a national campaign."

"This year we're particularly calling on employers to promote the 'step up for road safety' message, showing how they're stepping up for safety, and encouraging their employees to do the same. We offer free resources to help employers get this vital message out and encourage you to access those."

Val Graham, Marketing & Communications Manager at QBE Insurance said: "At QBE, we firmly believe that we have a responsibility to be a good corporate citizen in the communities in which we operate. This is one of the reasons that QBE Insurance in New Zealand is now in its fifth year of support for Brake and Road Safety Week. QBE sees the week as a great way to stimulate commitment - both personal and corporate - to road safety, and we are very pleased to continue with this community initiative."

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