– By Marc Sibbald –
Recently a friend purchased a new Subaru packed with technology. His previous car was nine years old and after two weeks he was still finding new things that the car could do that his last car couldn’t.
So as fleet managers, is there an assumption that drivers know how to use the new technology in modern vehicles?
In their ‘State of the Road’ fact sheet the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) says ‘Many employers, although addressing risks associated with other areas of business operation, fail to appropriately address the high risk associated with work-related driving’.
There’s no doubt that vehicles in 2016 are fitted with more safety widgets than ever before so it’s crucial that drivers are educated on how they work. And that they understand the difference between active and passive safety technology.
Passive safety features are things that work without the knowledge or input of the driver; and don’t distract from the task of driving. The Holden website explains that “Passive safety systems are there to help protect you from injury if a crash is unavoidable”.
Active safety features are designed to help you drive safely and avoid the crash. It’s when this technology starts working that drivers may become concerned, or even panic, if they haven’t experience it before.
Most driver training courses involve a harsh stop so the participants can experience the sensation of a pulsating pedal when the ABS kicks in. This is because until recently ABS was the main active safety feature that drivers could experience. Other safety developments such as airbags, seat belt pretensioners and chassis improvements are all passive.
The list of active safety features available now can include:
- Adaptive cruise control
- Autonomous emergency braking
- Lane change and blind spot warning
- Lane departure warning
- Forward collision warning
- Adaptive forward lighting
- Electronic stability control
How many have you experienced while driving? If you can’t tick them all off the list; what about your drivers?
Five things you can do to increase awareness of active safety technology
- Review your induction checklist. Does it include an introduction to their vehicle with a focus on safety?
- Review your driver training program to include all the active safety features of vehicles on your fleet (Don’t forget the novated and grey fleet vehicles).
- Communicate with drivers via newsletters, toolbox talks or safety bulletins about the active safety technology in their vehicles.
- Implement a new vehicle delivery checklist for dealerships that includes an explanation (and demonstration if possible) of active safety features.
- Hold ‘Carpark Talks’ in depots or offices where a large number of vehicles are located.