Fleet Drivers Unaware of Safety Gear

Many drivers are unaware of the raft of safety technology now available in cars and what it can do for them, said Mark Kelly, general manager of Murcott’s Driving Excellence, the biggest driving training organisation in Australia.

Mr Kelly told the 2017 Australasian Fleet Conference and Exhibition in Melbourne that some driver who are familiar with the systems are unaware that they do not work in every on-road situation.

He said he was recently coaching one driver and noticed the traction control was turned off. The driver said he never used it and turned it off when he got into the car.

Mr Kelly had to explain that it is a default system. It automatically comes on when the vehicle is started and works to correct unintentional skids.

“Seriously, there are people who don’t know what this technology is or what it can do for them. We have to go through these things to make people aware what features they have in their vehicles,” he said.

Part of the battle is in the showroom, when a new car is being collected. Mr Kelly said his personal experience was that the sales person took 20 minutes to set up the satellite navigation and entertainment systems, but no time explaining the safety features.

“The challenge for fleet managers is, how will you induct your drivers into the vehicle.

“From an occupational health and safety point of view, the vehicle is a workplace. You have a responsibility to actually induct people into their vehicles.”

The issue is common for tradespeople, especially apprentices and young workers.

“They drive their own light cars like Corollas and suddenly they’re given the keys to a two-tonne truck.

“How about some induction? How about the problem with the centre of gravity and the fact that a two-tonne truck can roll badly when it goes around corners?”

There are traps even for drivers who want to understand how the various safety technologies work in a vehicle.

“There are severe limitations with some of the safety technology,” Mr Kelly said, with manufacturers even warning about these limitations in the owner manuals.


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