Would you know what to do before the emergency services arrived?

Driver First Assist - how professional drivers are helping save the lives of traffic accident victims.

Every day, victims of road traffic accidents are dying needlessly because people on the scene do not know basic first aid.

Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs) claim the lives of 5 people everyday, with 500 additional people being seriously injured.

Death from a blocked airway occurs in 4 minutes. The target time for an ambulance is 8 minutes. 55% of fatalities occur before the emergency services even arrive.

A growing number of firms are counteracting these horrifying statistics by putting their staff through the Driver First Assist safety programme and creating an army of drivers skilled in first aid and road traffic collision response.

Launched in 2013, Driver First Assist is a not-for-profit initiative which claims it could reduce RTC fatalities by up to 46%.

DFA was the brainchild of former truck driver, Business Development Director at the Road Transport Industry Training Board and General Secretary of the United Road Transport Union, David Higginbottom; “HGV drivers represent a huge, immediate-
response resource. They are often first at the scene of an accident yet few are trained in first aid skills. Skills that can mean the difference between life or death."

Death from a blocked airway occurs in 4 minutes The target time for an ambulance is 8 minutes

AACE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Anthony Marsh said: “Sadly, road traffic collisions sometimes result in people suffering life threatening injuries where every minute counts to their chances of survival. By providing professional drivers, who are often first to witness or come across such incidents, with basic life support training and the knowledge to know what to do will ultimately mean patients get the care they need whilst emergency help is en route”.

The DFA course, which is a one-day 7-hour module, provides drivers with the skills required to manage the scene of an accident and give potentially life saving first aid prior to the emergency services arriving.

Working in partnership with the Police, Ambulance and Fire and Rescue services, the course instructors are either currently serving with the emergency services or have previous front line experience.

On completion of the course, DFA members are given a toolkit which includes a first aid kit, ID card, indemnity insurance and a hi viz vest.

Already backed by the U.K.'s Traffic Commissioners, the Freight Transport Association and the Road Haulage Association, the backing of the government earlier this year was a huge boost for the organisation.

Labour MP Rob Flello who championed DFA in the house of commons said: "The Government's endorsement is a massive boost for DFA and strengthens the support it has already received from the three emergency services, the NHS and others.

"Ultimately, I hope the Government will give financial and other practical assistance to promote DFA training. I have no doubt this would prevent more deaths on the roads and save the economy a vast sum of money."

Closing a motorway can cost the economy up to £62,000/hour, having an initiative that decreases the time roads are closed could save the economy £1.5bn per year.

Firms are able to integrate the course into their CPC training. James Firth, FTA head of licencing policy and compliance information, said: "Driver First Assist is a good idea for companies to consider amongst their other Driver CPC training priorities.

“It is an example of the sorts of more imaginative uses of the training that some operators have been looking for once the ‘usual suspects’ of refresher training have worn thin.”

For more information on the courses, visit www.driverfirstassist.org