Risk Reduction Driver Safety Program
In Feb 1999 the Department of Agriculture completed a risk management review and identified driver safety training as a major need to reduce risks of driver related accidents and associated injury to staff.
This report reviews the driver safety program conducted, and subsequent joint evaluations by Shawsett Training (the private safety practitioner) and the Department of Agriculture Safety Branch.
The program was conducted throughout Western Australia, delivering a one day driver training course as a pre-requisite to driving an agency vehicle. The aim of the course was described as To raise awareness of driving practices that contributes to the safety and welfare of course participants and develop the potential for the reduction of personal injury and vehicle damage . The report refers to the emphasis of training being awareness of skill levels as opposed to skill enhancement, and emphasised observation characteristics as central to hazard awareness and risk reduction.
The program was delivered to 1538 participants over four years. Three evaluations to level 3 and 4 of Kirkpatricks model were completed. The initial level 3 evaluation was conducted in 2001 by questionnaire, with 28% of the 53 respondents nominating the training course as a factor in avoiding a minor or major driving incident, within nine months of course completion. A further evaluation by observation and interview of 29 participants was undertaken and published in 2004.
These results demonstrated transfer of course outcomes into driving practices, which were reflected in crash and cost reduction.
The level four evaluation conducted by the Department of Agriculture demonstrated a cost benefit of a $596,000 being reduction in costs associated with vehicle crashes and associated workers compensation claims over the four year period.
The implication is the cost benefit and social impact of a thorough driver safety program is an extremely worthwhile investment for large and small agencies alike.