Improving Work-Related Road Safety in New Zealand
Work-related road safety is an important issue for government and industry in New Zealand, and offers considerable opportunities for occupational health and safety and road safety improvement. It requires further data/agency integration, policy, research and proactive government and industry leadership.
This report has identified areas for action at two levels:
Government could provide data on the full extent of the work-related road safety problem through better data collection, analysis and interagency collaboration.
Industry needs to build a holistic safety culture, risk assessment-led approach, drawing on international research. This would enable it to manage the risks facing drivers, and vehicles and allow better planning of journeys. The 'WIPE' process, described in this report, provides a proactive, risk-assessment and needs-based approach.
- Work-related road safety data is incomplete and fragmented between the transport authorities, the workplace health and safety and accident compensation agencies, insurers, and the fleets themselves - making it difficult to integrate all these sources of data to gain a true picture of the extent of the work-related road safety problem in New Zealand.
- Much of the information used in the report was only exploratory and based on observations. It also relied heavily on self-reporting of often sensitive information. Only limited crash data has been published from the participating organisations. This means that the material is based on what people say, which may not always be exactly what they do.
Overall, the research on which this report is based can be seen to have further developed the level of knowledge and understanding about work-related road safety in New Zealand, but it is clear that a great deal of work is still required.
Recommendations for improving work-related safety in New Zealand
- Government agencies need to continue taking a 'whole of government' approach though a cross-agency taskforce to identify the extent of the problem and then working through ways to reduce the risks.
- Government agency research and statistics personnel should monitor the range of data they are collecting and its analysis, and to consider, together with their policy colleagues, new options for carrying out research which might enhance road safety long-term.
- Maximising and linking data sources,including 'exposure' and 'purpose of journey' data.
- Develop relevant safety audit and risk assessment tools to assist organisations to review, improve and manage their performance, as a shared resource between all relevant agencies.
- Assess the link between heavy and light vehicle initiatives. Using existing heavy vehicle systems and applying them to other types of work vehicles, where appropriate.
- Motor vehicle insurance companies should be encouraged to provide risk management services such as best practice safety management systems to fleets.
- Link driver licensing and motor vehicle registration data systems based on a risk targeted control plan, this could enable government agencies and employers to confirm license validity and driver on-road performance.
- Improve the accessibility of the hardcopy New Zealand Road Code.
- Encourage the use of 'route' and 'journey' risk assessments. If employees classify regular journeys and routes in terms of risk, it gives employees an opportunity to plan the safest journey possible.
- Government agencies can manage their own fleets and drivers and 'lead by example'. The government fleet could pilot a health and safety driving policy. The results of the pilot could be used to develop a policy that might be offered to other fleets nationwide.
- Continue a networking process that will hopefully lead to a more formal calendar of regular inter-agency meetings
Suggestions for further work
- Continue initiatives to improve work-related road safety in New Zealand.
- Government and industry work together to encourage the implementation of 'purpose of journey' data. This would allow the full extent of the problem to be quantified. More exposure data on fleet tasks would also be useful.
- Improve the availability and promotion of, as well as access to the New Zealand Road Code in hardcopy as a basic safe driving intervention for organisations and drivers
- The government agencies responsible for workplace road safety, and insurance companies should work together to ensure better data collection and risk assessment for the effective targeting of countermeasures.
- Individual sectors, agencies, organisations and individuals should work together to allow well evaluated, targeted and needs-based approaches to be developed, based on a detailed integration and analysis of all the available data sources.
- Quantify and promote the full costs and benefits of fleet safety. What are the 'real' costs of crashes? What is the actual impact of safety features on vehicle resale values? How does investment in 'safety' affect other areas of an operation? Does work safety really affect home safety and what are the real benefits of work-related road safety for the wider community? What is the relationship between near hits, asset damage and human harm?
- Review the growth in freight and passenger vehicles, and the over-dependence on roads for transporting people and goods. Explore how such on-road movements can be reduced and the likely impact on the road toll and the environment.
Several of these processes are already underway or planned, but all require further research, funding, policy, enforcement and support from government and industry. The extent of the work-related road safety problem identified in this report would suggest that it would be a very good use of some of New Zealand's road safety, and business improvement research and project management dollars.
- Hodder R (2005) Based on personal discussions with Ross Hodder from the Department of Labour, October 2005
- IPRU (2003) Work-Related Fatal Traffic Injuries in New Zealand 1985-1998. New Zealand Environmental And Occupational Health Research Centre, Injury Prevention Research Unit, ISBN: 0-908958-45-5 OR045
- Land Transport NZ/ACC (2002) Your safe driving policy - help keep your employees and vehicles safe on the road. ISBN: 0478 241321
- McCone B, Langley J, Feyer A (2005) Work-related fatal traffic crashes in New Zealand: 1985-1998, New Zealand Medical Journal, Volume 18, No 1227
- Milne J. Ministers' cars involved in 12 crashes. The Dominion, Tuesday February 27 2001, p1.
- Murray W, Newnam S, Watson B, Davey J and Schonfeld C. Evaluating and improving fleet safety in Australia. Australian Transport Safety Bureau Report, November 2002 (www.drwillmurray.com/ozreport.html)
- Murray W. Company Vehicle Incident Reporting and Recording (CoVIR). Department for Transport Road Safety Report 31, March 2003, (www.drwillmurray.com/covir.html)
- Web 2006. Road safety to 2010 strategy - stakeholder engagement workshops : www.transport.govt.nz/road-safety-to-2010-strategy-stakeholder-engagement and www.safeas.govt.nz
- National Road Safety Committee (NRSC), Road Safety Education Strategic Framework, 2006. ISBN: 0-478-10018-3 This is available on the Ministry of Transport website http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/NewPDFs/road-safety-web.pdf
This report is Intellectual property of Dr Will Murray All rights reserved 2006