GEM launches free safety resource for volunteer drivers

12.00 | 29 May 2014 | | 2 comments

GEM Motoring Assist has launched a new free video resource offering advice for volunteer drivers.

The new resource, which comprises three short videos, has been launched to coincide with Volunteers’ Week 2014 (1-7 June).

GEM says that volunteer drivers typically use their own vehicles to provide transport for others to and from medical appointments, shopping trips or similar journeys. They are unpaid but often claim a mileage allowance.

This first video focuses on drivers, the vehicles they use and the journeys they make. It covers the importance of regular vehicle checks, document checks and journey planning.

The second video has been devised in partnership with the ambulance service to assist those who volunteer as community first responders. It explains that although they may be driving to urgent, sometimes life-threatening medical emergencies, the drivers needs to ensure they stay safe and within the law at all times. This video includes an introduction from chief constable Suzette Davenport, ACPO lead for roads policing.

The third video looks at the principles of COAST: Concentration, Observation and Anticipation to give Space and Time. It contains expert advice all drivers can implement to reduce their risk.

David Williams MBE, chief executive of GEM Motoring Assist, said: “GEM recognises the value of all volunteer driving, but is also keen that the risks faced by drivers – as well as any risks they pose – should be reduced to a minimum.

“This resource aims to raise the profile of road safety in general for volunteers, and specifically assists with tips on defensive driving, journey planning and maintaining an attitude where safety is promoted and risk is minimised.”

The three videos, with accompanying quiz papers, are ideal for group viewing and discussion, but can equally be used by individuals.

The videos and accompanying quiz papers are freely available from the GEM website.


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    I like COAST a lot. I like what they have done and I like the last video better than the first two. I like the introduction of space with speed as I have often found that lack of space between vehicles and not necessarily exceeding the speed limit can contribute to a collision.

    In Anticipation one needs to look and plan ahead but one must not forget that circumstances can change within a millisecond and what was originally of little consequence in the distance, when closer can become a hazard. So, one needs to constantly scan ahead and close by at the same time. Sometimes hazard perception is not straight forward, there may be several hazards at the same time and one has to prioritise and compromise. In any event one should slow down to reduce degree of injury or damage to oneself and others.

    bob craven Lancs
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    After reviewing the videos and the questions and associated answers, there appears to be no information relating to responsibility and accountability of the Ambulance Service with regard to the use of the public’s vehicles in these circumstances. I may well have missed it somewhere and stand corrected if I have.

    Under Health & Safety the Ambulance Service have a duty of care towards their patients when transporting to and from NHS facilities etc. There appears to be no mention of the fact that the NHS are obliged to check the public vehicles and ensure they are fit for purpose, insured and roadworthy. The fact that they are being paid is not a factor that means the Ambulance Service can dismiss this responsibility.

    This situation where volunteer drivers’ cars are used to transport others pervades throughout the State Education System where parents transport children to and from school organised sports events without any kind of checks. My wife, who has been a teacher for 30 years, has driven her private vehicle to various schools, deputy head and cluster meetings. Not once in that time has her licence, insurance or car or driving ability been checked. When this was raised with the County Education Director I was told I was opening up a can or worms if I continued to push for a response.

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