An online training course giving HGV drivers crucial skills to provide support at the scene of accidents is aiming to help save the lives of thousands of motorists.

The 90-minute course, which can be completed in stages, teaches how to make critical decisions using the principals of dynamic risk assessment and gather crucial information for the emergency services.

It has also been designed to teach how to make the perfect 999 call and provide first-aid assistance prior to the arrival of paramedics.

David Higginbottom, chief executive at training firm Driver First Assist, which has launched the Skills for Safer Journeys course, said there were 1,633 fatalities on the roads in 2023 and too many died because the first people on the scene did not know what to do.

“We want to help employers meet their health and safety obligations by giving drivers the skills they need to be safer on the road,” he said.

“Health and safety law does not end at the factory or warehouse gate; when someone drives for work the roads become an extension of the workplace, even if they are driving a personal vehicle for business purposes.”

A World Health Organization report on road traffic injury prevention found that within high-income countries, 50% of deaths from road traffic crashes occur within minutes of the incident occurring.

It pointed out those who are present or who arrive first at the scene of a crash can play an important role in contacting the emergency services, securing the scene to prevent further incidents, and applying first aid.

“It found many deaths from airway obstruction or external haemorrhage could have been avoided by lay bystanders trained in first aid.

Death from a blocked airway typically occurs in about four minutes, whilst NHS England’s target time for an ambulance to arrive if the call is life threatening is eight minutes.

Sir Keith Porter, emeritus professor of traumatology at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, said: “We know many patients die at the scene of road traffic collisions because of a failure to open an airway, or to arrest external haemorrhage.

“The Driver First Assist course will empower drivers to deliver life-saving skills, helping to keep a patient alive in those valuable minutes before the ambulance arrives.

“This course also gives drivers the confidence to ensure they fully appreciate the importance of scene safety and good communication with the emergency services. The more first responders we have, the better.

“Could that be you?”

David Higginbottom, CEO of Driver First Assist, says Skills for Safer Journeys could dramatically improve road safety.

David Higginbottom, CEO of Driver First Assist, says Skills for Safer Journeys could dramatically improve road safety

Source: Garnett Keeler

GXO Logistics operations director Mick Doe was one of the first candidates to complete the course. He said: “It is crucial when driving to and from work that people recognise the dangers and have the skills to be able to make the right decisions to help save lives.

“This course taught me a huge amount and without doubt I’m safer on the roads because of it.”

The Skills for Safer Journeys course costs £47.50 for lifetime access, with discounts for bulk purchases.

“Drivers injured or falling ill on the road should not experience worse outcomes than their non-mobile counterparts,” added Higginbottom.

“Our vision is to turn hundreds of thousands of drivers on UK roads into qualified first responders.”