Drivers with petrol cards who spend plenty of time on the road have likely seen their fair share of bad driving behaviour. Playing with a phone, speeding, not paying attention to the road: all examples of driving that could end up with somebody getting hurt, or even killed.
We are slowly reducing our road death toll every year, perhaps through better behaviour, greater awareness or more efficient safety technology, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. To this end, every year New Zealand has a Road Safety Week. This yea'rs iteration has just ended, having challenged the community to not only better their own behaviour, but to laud the efforts of what they call "road safety heroes".
Were you one of them?
A paragon of safety
"A few simple actions can, quite literally, be lifesaving"
Everybody from schools to community groups to local councils got involved in 2016's Road Safety Week, following in the tradition of heavy grassroots participation of previous years. In 2015, for example, the week focused on people being more careful around schools and playgrounds, with many groups of young students and their teachers marching with signs pleading for road users to slow down and watch out for kids.
Last year, the week saw 802 planned community activities, with 671 registered educators, 47 employers, 33 communities and 51 safety professionals getting involved to help make New Zealand roads that much safer.
This year, in a slight twist, communities have been invited to recognise their local road safety heroes: people who exemplify the Brake Pledge (a primary part of the programme). This pledge is focused on both passengers and drivers, meaning that everybody was able to get involved.
The pledge draws on six safety areas: Slow, Sober, Secure, Silent, Sharp and Sustainable. Passengers are encouraged to look out for their driving friends, while drivers themselves are called to keep an eye out for their passengers, other road users and pedestrians.
"We all share responsibility for making our roads safer," said Associate Minister of Transport Craig Foss.
"Road Safety Week reminds everyone in our communities that they can be a hero by playing their part in making our roads safer."
What can fleet managers do?
Road Safety week is now over, but as Craig Foss describes, "every week, not just Road Safety Week, we should be all taking responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe on our roads". So, what can fleet managers do to make sure they are keeping their fellow Kiwis safe?
"A few simple actions can, quite literally, be lifesaving," explains Craig Foss
"Remembering a few simple actions like wearing a safety belt or helmet, travelling at a safe speed for the road and conditions, and sharing the road safely with others means we can be road safety heroes every day."
Safety isn't always about the most obvious actions like buying a safe commercial vehicle, though that of course is a factor. Fleet managers that use their fleet card to keep their vehicles maintained, make sure their drivers are adequately prepared for any scenarios, or simply ensure that anyone in their vehicles plugs in their seatbelts are everyday solutions to ensuring a safer New Zealand.
While we have technological advances in things like autonomous vehicles that could one day eliminate road deaths entirely, for the time being it is up to the average Kiwis on the road to look out for one another. If you want to be a road safety hero, always make sure you and your passengers have your belts buckled, keep your driving appropriate to the conditions and never risk other people's health due to inebriation, poor sight or another physical disadvantage.
Are you and your drivers road safety heroes? No fleet can be safe without making the most of your maintenance budget. Make sure you take control of your vehicle safety with a petrol card from Card Smart.