Updating MUARC's Car Policy - Research meets practice
The policy for the purchase and use of vehicles at MUARC was developed in 1999 as an internal set of guidelines. Nevertheless it became a stimulus, and in some cases a template, for the development of similar policies by many road safety agencies and private companies in Victoria and throughout Australia. The policy was placed on the MUARC website where it has registered several thousand hits.
Given the changes in vehicle safety technology since 1999, MUARC has recently undertaken an update of the policy. This process identified a number of issues that are likely to be of interest to other road safety organisations and companies with an interest in improving workplace road safety.
Two complex issues arose in updating the criteria for vehicle selection - the extent to which the effectiveness of safety features needed to be scientifically proven (versus potentially effective) in order to be included and potential conflicts between the Occupational Health and Safety requirement of providing the safest possible workplace for employees and the public safety aspect of not unnecessarily endangering other vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users.
A further issue arose, in terms of guidelines for use of vehicles, regarding the extent to which legal, but potentially unsafe, behaviours could be proscribed. An example that will be discussed in the paper relates to the use of hands-free mobile phones.