Safe fleet management and the role of road safety are focus of our Minsk meeting

Belarus, Occupational Road Safety Management

Our All EASST partners meeting kicked off last week with a dedicated focus on fleet safety management and the official launch of our EASST Academy Road Safety at Work: Online Course for Managers in Russian.

A roundtable discussion with fleet managers, business owners, and government representatives as well as contributions from EASST Academy course instructor Andy Price and Managing Director Dmitry Sambuk, highlighted the importance of, and vital need for, more robust fleet safety management, not only in Belarus but also regionally.

Globally there are 1.25 million deaths each year related to road traffic collisions. With one in three road crashes taking place when people are driving for work purposes, reducing the risk of commercial vehicles and public transport globally could play a very significant role in cutting road fatalities. Belarus is a key transit corridor for commercial vehicles travelling between Asia and Europe and therefore work-related road risk is a serious concern. EASST Director, Emma MacLennan highlighted the reality that every road crash in Belarus results in a cost to the state.

Indeed, the financial cost of just one road traffic collision can be exceptionally high. Andy Price presented the staggering costs saved by Nestle when they began to implement a more robust fleet safety management programme. In 2004, the cost of Nestle’s road insurance in Europe alone was so high that they would have had to sell 235 MILLION KitKat’s just to cover it. But through improved road safety management they were able to significantly reduce their insurance premiums and are now global leaders in fleet safety management.

But it doesn’t end here, the reputational and social costs are just as important and can be even more damaging in the longer term. Evidence has shown that businesses that adopt a thorough approach to driver safety can also benefit from reduced insurance, less damage to vehicles and goods, better staff retention and a significant reduction in working time lost through road traffic crashes. This in turn boosts productivity, customer satisfaction, and helps the business grow. EASST partners, the Automobile Club of Moldova, presented on how they achieved just this with their Safe Driving for Life project, which was awarded a HRH Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2017.

During the discussion we also learned how Belarus is addressing this challenge. As one of the original sponsors for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2010-2020, it was recognised that Belarus is working hard to achieve those goals. We heard that the number of road traffic collisions in Minsk has reduced, despite increased traffic flows and that following a recent state-led road safety campaign there had been an increased number of prosecutions related to traffic violations.

Still, there is always more that can be done. Dmitry Sambuk demonstrated how companies and businesses in Belarus can play their part by improving fleet safety management through better training with the EASST Academy Road Safety at Work: Online Course for Managers which is now available in Russian. During the afternoon session, fleet managers and businesses from across Minsk took part in the first ever ‘blended’ version of the course led by course instructor Andy Price and using our video content in order to learn how they can support road safety through their everyday work. Thus, not only saving their company money, but also saving lives.