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Rolling on despite COVID’s challenges

Rolling on despite COVID’s challenges

 December 2020    RTF News

Like many other in-person events in our new COVID-19 world, the Rollover Prevention Programme has faced some serious challenges in 2020. 

Lockdowns, social distancing requirements and new protocols to follow in delivering the freight task have meant that holding workshops has been extra difficult.

The Road Transport Forum is encouraged that despite these issues, 10 Rollover Prevention workshops have been held in 2020, with around 240 participants. 

“With growing confidence that further major outbreaks of COVID-19 can be avoided, we really want to encourage operators who haven’t yet held a workshop for their drivers to consider the possibility in 2021,” says RTF’s Nick Leggett.

The Rollover Prevention Programme is a joint initiative between RTF and Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and is supported by ACC, the NZ Police and RTF’s three associations – RTANZ, NRC and the NZ Trucking Association. 

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Like many other in-person events in our new COVID-19 world, the Rollover Prevention Programme has faced some serious challenges in 2020. 
Lockdowns, social distancing requirements and new protocols to follow in delivering the freight task have meant that holding workshops has been extra difficult.
The Road Transport Forum is encouraged that despite these issues, 10 Rollover Prevention workshops have been held in 2020, with around 240 participants. 
“With growing confidence that further major outbreaks of COVID-19 can be avoided, we really want to encourage operators who haven’t yet held a workshop for their drivers to consider the possibility in 2021,” says RTF’s Nick Leggett.
The Rollover Prevention Programme is a joint initiative between RTF and Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and is supported by ACC, the NZ Police and RTF’s three associations – RTANZ, NRC and the NZ Trucking Association. 
Since the programme began, in 2016, more than 6500 people have participated in around 170 meetings…from the Far North to Invercargill.
“It’s safe to say that, in terms of uptake, Rollover Prevention has been one of the most successful safety programmes our industry has ever run,” says Leggett.
Programme presenter Jeff Fleury is a highly regarded vehicle safety specialist with NZTA in Dunedin and, with over 40 years of experience dealing with the aftermath of road accidents and as an expert in heavy vehicles, he knows the subject matter inside out.
“Unfortunately, in my career as an accident assessor I have been to my fair share of serious incidents involving trucks,” says Fleury: “None of them are pretty as it’s often the case that the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the mess when things go wrong. However, it is equally true that with the right skills many of those accidents could have been avoided.
“While I know that nobody will remember every aspect of the workshop, I am confident that every driver takes away the key messages when it comes to speed, the physics of vehicle dynamics, the impact of different and dynamic loads, and the importance of vehicle maintenance and a driver’s personal health.” 
As Jeff points out, the workshops have evolved over the years: “Recently I’ve incorporated some dash-cam footage that was provided to me by a couple of drivers who had some fairly hairy near misses. 
“They are a pretty powerful illustration of what can happen when things go pear-shaped and I know when I show them that they have an impact on workshop participants.
“I have also slightly altered my presentation style over the years. It’s fair to say that the men and women in the transport industry are no-nonsense sort of people so I think naturally my style has evolved to suit that. The workshop is designed to be an honest discussion and it works really well when we can address the issues in a straightforward manner.” 
There is an incorrect assumption amongst some that the rollover workshops are only available for those in the hire and reward road transport industry. However, the programme is open to any organisation involved with heavy vehicles.  
Says Fleury: “A couple of months ago I did a meeting in Invercargill that was arranged by a forest management company, for its log truck operators, road construction crews and a contractor that transports the log haulers.
“Over the years a number of workshops have been arranged by forestry owners as they have seen the value for their contractors. Any business that uses heavy vehicles and contracts or employs drivers will benefit from a rollover workshop.”
If your organisation has yet to hold a Rollover Prevention Programme workshop you can arrange for Jeff to come and present to your drivers by contacting RTF, your local association, or by dealing directly with Jeff himself –   Jeffrey.Fleury@nzta.govt.nz 
Each workshop lasts around three hours and is absolutely free. More information on the programme and a registration-of-interest form are available at www.rtfnz.co.nz 
Jeff has some fairly frank suggestions for the road transport sector: “As an industry, road transport probably doesn’t do enough to emphasise ongoing driver training, which is especially important to keep up with new vehicle technologies, configurations and weight changes. There should also be an increase in checking drivers for competency as part of industry best practice.”
Finally, he has some sage advice for truck drivers: “Keep your eyes open, drive within your lane and remember your following distance. You also need to keep your speed appropriate for your vehicle, load and road conditions. 
“Oh….and keep off that bloody cellphone!”  

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