DHL has set the ambitious goal of teaching 100,000 children, by the end of 2018, about road safety and pupils at a Banbury school were visited by its trainers this week.
Pupils at Hardwick Primary School became the first in the town to welcome DHL road safety trainers on site as part of the logistics company’s Trucks and Child Safety programme or TACS.
The TACS programme has been designed to teach children all manner of do’s and don’ts in relation to road safety and safety around articulated lorries in particular.
It is part of a wide scope of initiatives run by the DHL UK Foundation, a registered charity that works with communities providing child centred programmes.
The secret to getting younger children to ‘learn without realising’ is engagement and the TACS programme is not only interactive but actually comes with a full size 44-tonne HGV as its main prop.
To start the day children are given a safety talk during assembly and then are divided into smaller groups and taken outdoors to the lorry.
Rachael Mills, deputy head teacher, said: “They’re going into schools and doing road safety. We started with an assembly.
“It was excellent, obviously they’re giving serious facts, things like the fact there are 420 injuries or deaths of children each year.
“For the children it hits home to them because there are only 180 in this school. So it’s very interesting for the children to understand.”
The 30-minute outside workshops with full use of the HGV focus on lorry-specific safety issues in a way children can relate to and be amazed by all at the same time.
A typical HGV weighs as much as seven elephants, is as tall as a giraffe, as long as a whale and needs the length of a swimming pool to come to a complete stop.
There is also plenty of interaction that bring home the power, noise and size of a loaded lorry.
Children lined up behind the trailer to understand just how large a driver’s rear blind spot was, so big in fact that another lorry can fit into it unseen from the cabin’s vantage point.
Similar blind spots at the front and side of the vehicle were demonstrated bringing home to the children the void in which the driver sits.
By far the biggest oohs and aahs came with the weight demonstration when a watermelon, roughly the size of a human head was crushed underneath the truck’s trailer wheels.
The devastation caused was also demonstrated with previously crushed bicycles, mangled beyond shape.
Taking charge of the demonstration were DHL employees Andy Beattie and HGV driver Leigh Radwell. This was the first school demo the duo had done but was delivered in an engaging and thought-provoking manor that had the children mesmerised.
Andy said: “We’ve got onto the programme because we’re passionate, it’s about keeping the children safe because they are totally oblivious to the size and the dangers.”
Leigh said: “Because we are up so high they think we have good visibility when in actual fact there are a lot of dangerous blind spots.”
Andy added: “You’ve got to put it into kids’ terms, something they can understand and hopefully take home and say ‘mum, that lorry is seven elephants’ so we’re educating the parents through the children.”
Indeed, the demos are open to parents to attend and are free of charge to any school.
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