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Power company steers staff towards safe driving

The UK’s biggest electricity distributor is marking Road Safety Week by driving home its message about safe driving among its employees.

From Press releases - 17 November 2017 12:00 AM

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UK Power Networks, which delivers electricity to eight million customers across East Anglia, London and the South East, has around 6,000 staff, with around 75% of these driving for their work.

The company introduced its ‘Drive to Arrive’ scheme last year initially rolling it out to 400 staff and it has since been incorporated into a package about road safety which is available for use across the business. Reminders to all staff are being issued to coincide with the awareness week, covering all road users.

The scheme was brainchild of former firefighter Simon Deeley who has turned his own tragic past experiences into an innovative and engaging driver awareness programme.

In his previous job, he assisted a dying man following a car incident. Then years later in 2015, a colleague at UK Power Networks died in a car crash outside work.

The programme Simon designed includes awareness days that send hard-hitting messages and real-life examples of the dangers of unsafe driving.

Topics included speeding, seat belts, mobile phones, motor bikes and peer pressure. The days finished with a letter from a UK Power Networks’ employee who lost his wife in a road incident. The letter was hidden under the chairs of attendees and they were asked to read it in their own time.

While Simon no longer gives the talks in person, UK Power Networks runs bespoke driving training for its foundation apprentices who are only permitted to take the wheel after a year with the company.

Simon said: “At UK Power Networks thousands of our staff drive as part of their job, be it accessing sites for project and maintenance work, as well as responding to power cuts, so it’s vital safe driving practices are understood and encouraged.

“From my own personal experiences, what I set out to do with ‘Drive to Arrive’ was increase everyone’s general awareness about safe driving by starting a conversation about it and making the dangers real in their minds and I’m glad it was so well received.

“Following the incident in 2015, I wanted to put together more road safety training. I called on my ten years’ experience as a firefighter in the Suffolk Fire Service and tried to come up with an interesting way to inform people about the importance of safe driving.

“I started my own talks on the subject with the true life incident that I attended where a young person died – something that still plays on my mind to this day. I’m glad the talks proved a success and hope there is a legacy with the material we produced now being available for use as required.”

Road Safety Week, running from 20-26 November is the UK's biggest road safety event, coordinated annually by Brake, the road safety charity.

Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns at Brake, the road safety charity, said: “We welcome companies taking driving awareness training seriously because of the huge safety benefits it brings.

“Road Safety Week is a major event for Brake as well as for organisations up and down the country doing playing their part to promote safer driving.”

Road Safety Week aims to inspire thousands of schools, organisations and communities to take action on road safety and promote life-saving messages during the Week and beyond.

It also provides a focal point for professionals working in road safety to boost awareness and engagement in their work.

This year’s theme is ‘speed down, save lives’ pointing out that speeding is still a major issue in the UK and Brake seek to raise awareness of the dangers of driving too fast.