Comment: Could white van man become a national hero?

Published 19 July 2013

A traditional English idiom states that ‘you should never judge a book by its cover’ yet, when it comes to van drivers, nothing could be further from the truth. Coined by the press in the late 1990s, the ‘white van man’ stereotype insisted that all van drivers were fat, lazy and careless. It’s a tag that as blighted commercial vehicle drivers ever since, and tainting everyone from builders to delivery drivers. However, there could be a change on the way, because Driver First Assist has launched an initiative that could transform the image of van drivers forever.

Driver First Assist is a new scheme designed to train Britain’s van drivers into first aiders; equipping them with skills that could - quite literally - save thousands of lives. Driver First Assist will use members of the emergency services to train van drivers in everything they need to know about helping at the scene of an accident, including: managing the scene, providing first aid and communicating vital information to the police and ambulance services.

Indeed, the company claims that 46 per cent of road traffic fatalities could be prevented if first aid was carried out at the scene of an accident.

Being confronted with the horrific sight of a road traffic accident is something none of us prepare for, but with 1800 killed and a further 23,000 seriously injured on the UK’s roads every year, it’s clear that more needs to be done.

RTC

Driver First Assist is a new scheme designed to train Britain’s van drivers into first aiders; equipping them with skills that could - quite literally - save thousands of lives.

Obviously, the training won’t be free - with £95 needed to cover the one day course and an additional £25 to pay for the first aid kit – but this is a small price to pay to obtain the skills and tools needed to save lives.

Driver First Assist says it will train up 30,000 van drivers up over the next five years, with the emphasis put on the van operators to train at least one employee. The scheme will also be open to sole traders who, like many at the scene of an accident, just want to help.

No one is going to pretend that this scheme will transform ‘white van man’ into Marvel superheroes, flying into the scenes of accidents saving all before them, but it will make some difference. Driver First Assist claims its scheme will prevent 800 road deaths and save the economy £1.5 billion in the process - we think these figures are more than little optimistic.

But, if training van drivers in first aid saves just a hundred lives, then it’ll have been a huge success and the public might change perception towards van drivers too.

To read more about Driver First Assist click here

 

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