Employers urged to tackle key road safety issues and take part in Road Safety Week 2018

Road Safety Week 2018 takes place 7-13 May and employers, especially those with staff who drive for work, are urged to register to take part and raise awareness of road safety issues.

The week, which is coordinated by road safety charity Brake and supported by QBE Insurance and the NZ Transport Agency, will focus on seat belts and distractions with the theme 'Belt on, phone off - make it a habit'. Brake 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.

Brake will be calling on drivers to make wearing their seat belt a habit every time they get into the vehicle, and to commit to not using a mobile phone whilst driving. The charity is encouraging employers to run road safety activities and campaigns to promote a safe driving culture among employees, or to launch initiatives aimed at reducing crashes or promoting sustainable travel.

The week is also a great time for employers to work with the local community and engage customers and contacts 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. Go to www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz for ideas and to register for a free e-action pack 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 free or discounted places at 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 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 have a key role 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 huge 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."

Harry Wilson, Safety and Environment Director, NZ Transport Agency said: "It's great to see 'Belt on' is one of the key focuses of this year's Road Safety Week. Failing to wear seatbelts is appearing as a factor in fatal crashes far too frequently. Many of the lives lost and serious injuries sustained could have been prevented simply by ensuring everyone was properly secured in a seat belt or child restraint. Being properly restrained reduces your change of death or serious injury in a crash by 60 per cent in the front seat and 44 per cent in the back seat."

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