Driver First Assist could reduce roadside fatalities by nearly 50%

CPR training dummy in a classroom on a table.A road safety and first aid training programme which equips professional drivers with a set of basic accident response skills could reduce road traffic collision (RTC) fatalities by up to 46%.

Launched in 2013, the Driver First Assist initiative has trained almost 1,000 individuals and more than 100 companies including haulage firms TNT and Gist, Iron Mountain and Clugston.

More fleet operators are being encouraged to sign up as a way of making the roads safer and saving lives.

Organisers hope to create a large network of voluntary emergency staff. The aim is to try and get a trained first responder to the scene of an accident in seconds rather than minutes.

Chief executive of the DFA David Higginbottom explained how valuable these first seconds and minutes can be in an emergency.

“Death from a blocked airway occurs in about four minutes – and the target time for an ambulance to arrive at the scene is eight minutes,” he said.

Mr Higginbottom also highlighted the fact that fifty percent of road traffic collision deaths occur before the emergency services arrive – a figure which he hoped the Driver First Initiative could bring down.

The high quality scheme has received endorsements from the emergency services that assist in the delivery of the training.

It is also received support from senior traffic commissioner Beverly Bell.

She said: “I  was  delighted  to  hear  of  the  launch  of  the  Driver  First Assist initiative. It is a sad fact that lorry, bus and coach drivers are exposed to road traffic incidents and are sometimes one of the first on the scene.”

She Continued: “Traffic Commissioners have always championed the skills and professionalism of the road haulage and passenger transport industries – the majority of professional drivers comply with the law and do an excellent job. This initiative could not only extend that image further but also now give them the skills to save a life.”

For an individual to complete the course the cost is £144 (incl. VAT) but prices are more flexible for haulage companies.

By reaching out to hauliers the Driver First Initiative hopes to recruit a significant proportion of the professional drivers in the UK. The aim is to reach a membership of between 70,000 and 100,000 trained first responders on the road.