Prime Mover Magazine


VTA launches new Driver Salute program

On-road safety demonstrated each and every day, lawfully and with consideration for other road users, no matter the conditions, will be recognised under the Victorian Transport Association's latest initiative.

The Driver Salute program, co-sponsored by Goodyear Dunlop and DriveRisk, will acknowledge drivers who display consistency of best practice while putting some positive perspective on what drivers do on a daily basis.

Representatives of the road transport industry and state government gathered at VTA headquarters in the Port of Melbourne yeterday for the launch of the program which will recognise an unsung hero on a bi-monthly basis, with the first award scheduled for announcement in March.

It's not just best practice the VTA is looking for but a consistency of best practice from drivers who perform safely and often do it time and again with little reward or recognition.

VTA CEO Peter Anderson said the initiative was created to promote driver safety, drivers with great long term safety records and a normal routine.

"This program isn't about the exception. It's not about pushing the pram away from the speeding truck," he said.

"We need to acknowledge and report about those people who do a normal job and do it properly. So many people in our industry do exactly that every day. What we don't do is acknowledge those people," said Anderson.

"This is more about people who are in our industry that do the job that we expect of them."

Jaala Pulford, Victorian Minister for Roads, Road Safety and the TAC supported the initiative and recognised the VTA's ongoing deep and enduring commitment to the road transport industry.

"An uneventful, totally professional approach to moving a heavy load at high speed, safely, is something to be celebrated," she said

Fleet risk management specialist, DriveRisk, which produces the hardware to monitor driver activities, approached the VTA six months ago with an idea to promote driver performance and safety.

Consistent low risk scores reported through DriveCam help to verify driver performance.

Following several conversations with Anderson, the Driver Salute Program was born.

Owen Neochi, DriveRisk Chief Operating Officer said DriveRisk operates on helping protect drivers by making them aware of their skills and awareness to stay safe, alert and engaged.

"The supporting video footage is used to coach the drivers in the same manner that professional sports people do to assess and improve the performance of their players," he said.

"With this combination of risk assessment and coaching DriveCam promotes a proactive approach to safety which results in preventing on-road incidents."

Safe businesses, according to Neochi, are productive businesses.

In addition to promoting the industry's quintessential quiet achievers, the criteria for the award also includes appreciation for those drivers who might have had a poor history in the past but have since embraced the safety culture and taken measures to actively improve their performance through a dramatic turn around in attitude in working on driver skills and habits.

In this scenario the DriveCam driver profile will observe risk taking behaviour plummet.

"We all acknowledge that driving is one of the riskiest activities that most of us ever do," Neochi said.  

Under the Driver Salute program, Victorian-based transport operators that deploy DriveRisk video technology and telematics in their fleets can submit in-cabin footage or profiles of drivers demonstrating sustained best-practice safety behaviour in the course of their duties.

Eligibility for the award extends to entrants that have been assessed by DriveRisk’s DriveCam solution as having the lowest risk score over the previous six to 12 months and entrants who, over a given period, have achieved the largest risk decrease as assessed by the DriveCam technology, and entrants who can clearly demonstrate having a long term low risk driving record using alternative auditable evidence.

The submissions will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges from the VTA, DriveRisk, Goodyear and Dunlop Tyres, and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), which will bring an independence to the process of verifying reputable and worthwhile efforts by drivers under consideration for the award.

These winners will be in the running for the annual Driver Salute major award, to be presented at the end of the year.

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