What the Stop Look Wave campaign means to Toxfree

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi

toxfree1 Safety to Volvo Trucks is paramount as the freight task is set to double by 2030 toxfree1
toxfree2 With thousands of waste and recycling trucks on the streets every day, more than 700 Toxfree drivers will now be educated to wave back to kids toxfree2
toxfree3 The ‘Stop, Look, Wave’ campaign was launched in May toxfree3
toxfree4 Toxfree’s trucks will be visiting schools across Australia to give students a look at the view from behind the steering wheel toxfree4
toxfree5 Volvo’s global head of safety Carl-Johan Almqvist addresses Glen Iris Primary School kids toxfree5
toxfree6 Toxfree’s corporate and risk general manager Jason Dixon toxfree6
toxfree7 Volvo Trucks Australia vice president Mitch Peden is calling on manufacturers and operators to come on board toxfree7

A local fleet-owner is gaining an operational dividend on top of doing the right thing in joining a global safety campaign aimed at helping raise children’s awareness of traffic safety


Fleet owner Toxfree has found that signing up to a campaign aimed at saving the lives of the most vulnerable can reinforce a company safety message it sees as crucial to proper internal operations.

The waste management firm teamed up with socially conscious truck maker Volvo earlier this year to support its Stop, Look, Wave safety campaign that highlights awareness of children and children’s awareness around trucks.

With thousands of waste and recycling trucks on the streets every day, 717 Toxfree drivers will now be educated to wave back to kids, Toxfree group marketing manager Joanne Buckingham says.

"This campaign will assist our drivers to embrace a stronger safety culture and give a positive message back to the children," Buckingham says.

"One of our core values is safety. Obviously we have 500 fleet on the road around the country so we value all of our drivers’ safety and think that an educational program like this with young children is a great opportunity to educate the children plus our drivers on the program.

"Our drivers are very positive about it, they think it’s a fantastic idea as most have young children too so they see the added benefit as well."

Toolbox meetings are now held across Toxfree informing drivers about the campaign, with stickers also placed inside trucks to remind them of the safety messages.

"We want to enforce just how important it is to be safe at all times," Buckingham says.

"We are actually very lucky with regards to safety records and we want to keep it that way; that’s another reason why we wanted to be part of this campaign just to reinforce how important it is to be safe on the roads so that we can continue to be safe and not take it for granted."

Toxfree’s safety values match Volvo Trucks’, so it is fitting that the national waste carrier came on board, Volvo Trucks Australia vice president Mitch Peden says.

"We have a number of other operators now putting their hand up for more information on it because of them, and we’re seeing how we can work hand in hand with them and our dealers to assist them to approach local schools," he adds.

Peden is calling on manufacturers and operators to be proactive, saying Volvo Trucks is happy to share its infrastructure and training programs with those involved in the campaign.

"We’re also reaching out to our business partners, the transport operators who purchase and use our trucks to assist them to work with their local communities if they choose to, to be proactive in this space," Peden says.

"Volvo has recognised all around the world that population is growing and the freight task is growing and it’s the same challenge we have here in our local market in Australia and New Zealand.

"Volvo understands that being a truck manufacturer and producer of trucks we need to consider the impact we have on the society in general, and obviously if we’re going to be part of the challenge of being a truck manufacturer and putting trucks on the road we also want to be part of the solution around the safety space," he adds.

"There is no better way for us than to come forward and tackle the challenge of children education and of those who are our most vulnerable and precious pedestrians; those who have the least understanding of what heavy trucks are and that they need to be cautious around them."


Crucial message

Safety is paramount to Volvo Trucks.                         

Present in over 140 countries, the Swedish makers of heavy vehicles claim 260,000 children are expected to be killed on the world’s roads this year, with another 10 million injured.

With the Australian freight task set to double by 2030, Volvo Trucks is doing its bit in targeting school children and educating them about truck safety.

The campaign, which so far has been launched in Sweden, Korea, the UK and Australia, is specifically targeting school kids aged six to 10, where they are encouraged to wave at truckies to let them know they have seen them, and in return, drivers are asked to wave back so the child knows for sure they have gained the driver’s attention.

Launched at the Melbourne Truck Show, the Australian leg of the campaign has already attracted the interest of major transport players, with waste management and industrial services operator Toxfree becoming a supporter.

Common concern

But any safety campaign needs allies in several camps to give it the best chance of gaining traction.

So it was that Volvo Trucks, together with a Toxfree heavy vehicle and Toxfree general manager of corporate and risk, Jason Dixon, launched the campaign with the help of Melbourne’s Glen Iris Primary School, demonstrating the safety system at the truck show.

Giving kids a look at the view from behind the steering wheel was eye-opening for the Year 1 students, who now have a better appreciation of heavy vehicles, principal Meredith Carracher says.

"First of all, they were incredibly excited to be involved and close to the trucks – for most children it was quite a unique experience because we’re so far removed from what they do day to day," Carracher says.

"But they also commented just how small everything looks from up there and for children it’s almost like being up on a building, so they were quite surprised by how difficult things were to be seen if you were at the side of a truck or the back of a truck.

"I think that really impressed upon them just how difficult it could be for a driver to see them."

She commends Toxfree for their involvement, saying not often do large companies find the time to help the community.

"To have companies such as theirs that are such multi-national companies taking the time to look at something quite grass-roots as children in schools and thinking about the impact of their industry on the wider community is to be applauded and it’s not something you see very often," she adds.

Carracher says the campaign is a good launching pad for other work in extending school awareness.

"I have to say that if our school hadn’t been directly involved I’m not too sure how we’d have become aware of the program," she says.

"So, I think highlighting the safety programs of the likes Volvo are offering, making that really well-known to all schools so that resources can be actively utilised by schools and educators, is important.

"The big way of getting children’s attention is through social media and online, perhaps apps of this material could be made available for children as schools are using iPads; making it available in those formats so it’s easily accessible for teachers and for children."

Road authorities believe children should not cross a road on their own until the age of 10 due to their developing attention span, and Carracher tends to agree.

"They are alert intelligent little people but they are also very easily distracted by something that catches their attention," she says.

"It’s distractibility that’s a particular danger for children who are around seven years of age."

More to be done

The campaign is promoted on Volvo Trucks’ social media channels, with the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) safety truck also endorsing the campaign.

With truck driving still an image issue amongst young people, Volvo Trucks is recognising the challenge of attracting fresh blood to the industry by promoting and sponsoring the Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls’ national heavy vehicle driver training institute.

"We are providing two trucks not only to educate and promote driving as a viable work option but also promoting it to the female audience to reach out to a demographic that doesn’t often look at truck driving as a viable option," Peden says.

"We’re also in the process of working on a driver training education platform through the Volvo Group to be out there working with key customers and key bodies to make it more appealing for young people to come into the industry."

Read the full feature in ATN's September issue.


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