• Rebekah.Orr

Trucks, traffic and Greg Murphy

In our last blog post, an allusion was made to road safety. The trouble is that sometimes saying something even in jest somehow makes it more real, makes you think about it more, and so here I am writing a blog on road safety as it pertains to work, even though when I joked about writing a road safety blog post I had no intentions of *actually* doing it.

Road safety has been in the news a bit recently, with famed race driver Greg Murphy adding his voice to the mix.

The suggestions made here https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/greg-murphy-urges-government-focus-driver-training-in-road-safety-strategy sound all pretty solid, but it's pretty common sense stuff. There will be those that say he should stay in his lane (yes, that was a shameless pun), but leaving such things aside, one could ask the question as to why it takes a 'face' to have a voice.

When we've had a couple of hundred people (or close enough to it) die on our roads every year for the last five years, does that not speak for itself? To put it in perspective, in 2011 when Christchurch suffered its massive, city-shattering earthquake, there were 185 deaths, and our nation rightly saw an outpouring of grief. But in 2015, there were 180 deaths on our roads - that's the lowest toll we've had in the last five years, and it takes a race driver speaking out for people to listen?

Then there's this https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/387827/calls-for-better-investigations-into-truck-related-crashes?fbclid=IwAR1wGFiaBrhtrclTJ9AnuZlVZ5wrDkE2-VGOgDvdjkovYKZ3sH7L3N0LztE. Now, in our line of work we know plenty of truck drivers, and frankly some of these numbers are scary. As mentioned in the article, the number of truck-related incidents on our roads is the equivalent of two Pike River disasters. And yet, these incidents aren't treated as work related because they happen on a road.

When the cab is your office, the road is your workplace.

This has been well-enough recognised that there are regulations placed on professional drivers that aren't applied to other road users - maximum number of driving hours per day, minimum numbers of hours off before they can start another shift and so on; so why is it that we aren't recognising incidents involving trucks as workplace safety issues?

Surely there's a place for there to be an overlap? Is that not the common sense solution here?

Essentially, aside from standard road hazards, professional drivers have to treat other road users as workplace safety hazards (and we all know that some drivers are hazardous by nature!). We know stories that would make your hair stand on end - cars overtaking on the inside, or zipping into the gap the truck driver left so they've got enough room to stop without squashing anyone, pushing up on merging lanes so late the truck has nowhere to go... And on and on it goes.

So yes, please - let's listen to Greg Murphy and let's implement better driver training! Let's make sure that when we train drivers, we remind them that the road is for all of us, and hey buddy, some of us WORK HERE. Don't give somebody else a crappy day at work.

Take care out there.


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