Monthly Archives: March 2018

What is the Volvo ATA Safety Truck?

Everybody loves a road how, especially in the more remote sections of Australia where not much seems to happen. They’re always fun, exciting, entertaining, and for the most part, free. It’s an effective way to reach a wide audience on a limited budget, and because the programme is universal and easy to replicate, you only have to plan it once.

This is the thinking behind the ATA Safety Truck. The initiative is driven by ATA (Australia Truckers Association), BP (British Petroleum), and NTI (National Transport Insurance). It’s an ongoing project supported by the main stakeholders in the trucking industries – drivers, owners, fuel providers, and truck insurance services.

Getting a trucker’s perspective

Every year, the ATA Volvo Truck criss-crosses the country, advising and educating other road users on truck safety. Many passengers and drivers are actually a little scared of trucks. As those massive vehicles amble down the road, they can easily intimidate fellow road users. Some drivers (and passengers) have an openly negative attitude towards trucks.

It’s not just about the sheer size as they rumble down the road. Sometimes, it’s more about the way truckers are portrayed in movies and mass media. This stereotype instils fear, and this fear can lead to erratic and unwise behaviour around truckers. The ATA Volvo Truck humanises truck drivers and starts an important societal shift, especially among the youth.

Safety advice from the driver’s seat

While driving school teaches defensive driving on request, it rarely teaches truck safety unless you’re a truck driver. Unfortunately, other drivers need this information even more than the truckers themselves. The ATA Volvo Safety Truck offers this information in small, palatable chunks that trigger recall. Here are a few examples:

  • Trucks keep their distance for a reason. They need a lot more room to brake, because they’re so big and heavy. Don’t cut in front of them, or they may not have time to stop before they steamroll your car.

 

  • The trucker probably can’t see you or your car. Their driver’s seat is really high, and their side mirrors sail way over your head – and your car roof. Stay out of their blind spot by driving a safe distance behind them and staying well within the sightline of their passenger mirror. Drive a little to the side, preferably on the extreme left.

 

  • High beams are annoying for any driver, but they can be especially dangerous to trucks. This is because trucks aren’t equipped with anti-glare mirrors. Things won’t end well for you if the truck in front of you or opposite you gets blinded, so developthe habit of dimming your headlights when you approach a truck.

 

  • Truckers and other road users are informed on the importance of compliant up-to-date truck parts. Distributors and drivers are taught how to spot potentially faulty parts and replace them immediately. A fellow driver just might spot a fault or flaw that a driver hasn’t noticed, like a broken tail lights. After this exposure to truckers they are a lot more likely to flag and alert the driver, improving safety for everyone.

Why trucks matter to you

Many road users have no empathy for truck drivers. They see them as a label rather than a person, which makes them less likely to be courteous. Of course, this goes both ways. Truckers spend hours on the road every day in tough conditions. Their work already has them on edge, so maltreatment from fellow road users worsens their disposition.

The ATA Safety Truck aims to show people the relevance of truckers to their daily lives. They deliver your food and other essential commodities. They bring your fuel, your personal cargo, and your necessities. In fact, that very car you’re driving and the fuel that powers were probably delivered by truck, so it helps to cut them a little slack.

While telling the world that truckers are fathers, daughters, mothers, and sons, interacting with them directly is a better teaching tool. A lot of change in the world begins by simply humanising adversaries. The structure of a road show targets its audience, appealing to their specific tastes and interests, so it’s the perfect communication method.

Doing it for the kids

As clichéd as it sounds, connecting to kids can literally change the world. The ATA Volvo Truck has specific programmes that target under 18s. It speaks to teens who are close to getting their licenses. It also connects with younger kids who are likely to influence parents.

In the same way ads for toys, candy, and consumer products use kids to badger parents, this programme uses the children to get their families’ attention. Fortunately, it’s for a good cause. The kids will ingrain and parrot their truck safety training to their family and community, and by the time they are driving their own cars, safety will be a habit.

Working with communities

The ATA Volvo Safety Truck doesn’t operate in isolation. It works with local communities to change negative points of view and boost safety efforts. The truck has an online event calendar that you can view to see when they’ll be in your area. Community members can also contact the ATA Volvo and request their assistance or presence at a local event.