The Question

How do we overcome complacency about driving safety to ensure a continuous improvement approach? This Q&A explores how complacency negatively impacts work-related driving safety, how to identify complacency and suggests ways to replace complacency with a culture of continuous improvement.

Scope of the problem

Driving for work is one of the most dangerous work-related activities. Individuals who drive for work are twice as likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash than personal car drivers, accounting for more than one-third of all road fatalities each year. Complacency in driving safety can result in unsafe driving due to contributing factors associated with the driver and passenger, vehicle, road environment, organisation and legislation and policy (Reference: Stuckey et al, 2007). For example, factors associated with poorly maintained vehicles, untrained drivers, unreasonable shift work or time pressure, and policies and procedures that are poorly communicated or ignored. Complacency is influenced by the values held by an organisation, its management and employees regarding driving safety. How these values are expressed through motivations, attitudes and behaviours is an organisation’s ‘safety culture’.

This Q&A was developed to help workers and organisations who use the road network to understand how complacency impacts driving safety and to provide strategies that encourage a continuous improvement approach to driving safety.