Avoiding injuries on the road

The falling national road toll is an encouraging figure, but a priority needs to made on preventing serious injuries in car accidents, according to the Australian Automobile Association (AAA).

In 2013, the official road toll fell to 1,193 fatalities - 110 fewer than in 2012. However, AAA Chief Executive Andrew McKellar believes more needs to be done.

"There was an encouraging reduction in the road toll but this does not mean that road safety no longer requires attention," Mr McKellar said in a February 19 media release.

Mr McKellar explains that too strong of a focus on fatalities can obscure the 'much larger' underlying issue of serious injuries sustained during car accidents. The National Road Safety Strategy believes there are more than 32,500 serious injuries caused on the road each year.

"This is an enormous amount of trauma, pain and suffering endured by families but, at present, governments across Australia can't even accurately account the number of serious injuries," he explained.

The simplest way for a fleet manager to prevent serious injuries among their staff is to address the common factors that cause automotive accidents in Australia.

Intoxication was the leading cause of motor vehicle accidents in Western Australia between 2008 and 2013, according to the WA police. Careless, reckless or distracted driving also caused a significant number of incidents, while actions breaching the road code led to the third largest proportion of fatal road accidents.

These figures show that it is important for a fleet management program to include comprehensive driver training to ensure staff are aware of the conduct that could increase their chances of sustaining an injury.

This involves encouraging drivers to take a break when fatigued, to avoid driving while intoxicated and to follow the official road code at all times while behind the wheel.

Lastly, a seatbelt is a simple and effective way to prevent serious injury or death and should be worn whenever a driver is on the road.