New initiative seeks to turn HGV drivers into life-savers

David Higginbottom, CEO of Driver First Assist

Road safety training organisation Driver First Assist has launched Skills for Safer Journeys – a new online training course which aims to give all drivers crucial skills to support at the scene of an on-road incident, regardless of the type of vehicle they drive.

The 90-minute online course – which can be completed in stages – teaches how to make critical decisions using the principals of dynamic risk assessment, safely park at the scene of an incident, gather crucial information for the emergency services, make the perfect 999 call, and provide first-aid assistance prior to the arrival of paramedics.

Mick Doe, operations director (transport) for GXO Logistics, and one of the first to complete the course, 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.”

Driver First Assist CEO David Higginbottom added: “Last year there were 1,633 fatalities from road collisions in Great Britain – the equivalent of more than three ‘superjumbos’ falling out of the sky. In too many cases, the victims didn’t die because of the collision; they died as the first people on scene didn’t know what to do.”

Supporting the launch, 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.

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.

“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?”

Skills for Safer Journeys has been developed by Driver First Assist as an affordable and effective solution for training drivers to assess road risks. Available at, it costs £47.50 (ex-VAT) per driver for lifetime access, with discounts for bulk purchases.