Health and safety


Our people

We continue to maintain our record of zero fatalities and the number of major injuries we report to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)remains lower than the national rate for industries operating in a similar environment.

Following a change in reporting procedures to encourage a focus on safety with our patrols, we have seen an increase both in near misses being reported but also accident numbers. We have taken this seriously, carrying out investigations to establish the root cause of this increase so we can take targeted action. We have developed a detailed safety plan to ensure delivery of the actions and to enable us to measure our success.

At the heart of the plan is the commitment to develop a safety culture in which empowerment and accountability are central at all levels and our people are able to take any actions to improve them.

Great progress has been made during the year and, as a result, we have seen our performance improve and accident numbers decrease in the latter part of the year. The key achievements that have driven this improvement are:

  • Safety campaign: We launched the “Take Care” campaign which embeds one of the Group’s core values, that of Care, into everything we do. Initial roll out has been to the AA’s Roadside Assistance operation and we plan to roll out best practice across the rest of the business next year. This campaign has been fully supported by the Independent Democratic Union, the only recognised union within the AA.
  • Communications: Improvements in safety communications were delivered, ensuring that how we engage with our workforce is effective and drives change.
  • Training: We have changed the way in which we engage with patrols in regard to their safety through training. We have redeveloped induction training to ensure that we embed the core values and safety culture, driving empowerment and ownership from day one.
  • Engagement: Following the recent investment in technology, we are now engaging with our patrols on health and safety issues in more modern ways. We recently achieved a 75% engagement level in an online survey regarding tools and equipment.

Reporting incidents

We have transformed how incidents are reported by staff and investigated by managers with the provision of statistical analysis to enable improvements to be identified. The system is fully automated and allows access to real-time data on accident and incident performance.

Our Members and other road users

We continue to influence Government policy, putting forward our Members’ views as expressed to us via the AA Populus Driver Poll, the largest dedicated driving panel in Europe. We have been running these monthly polls since 2008 and the December 2016 survey was the 100th.

High survey response rates, on average more than 20,000, have helped us understand Members’ views and take actions across a diverse range of topics, including safety for older drivers, drink drive limits, low emission zones, potholes, road conditions and congestion. Two of our recent high-profile campaigns came about as a direct result of feedback given through the AA Populus Driver Poll. These were:

“Smart” motorway design and safety

Almost 80% of our members told us that they felt motorways were more dangerous when the hard shoulder was used as a running lane. As a result, we have been vigorously campaigning for the number and size of emergency refuge areas on “Smart” motorways to be doubled. We gave written and verbal evidence to the Transport Select Committee and have met the Transport Secretary, Road Safety Minister and CEO of Highways England to push for a review, which is now currently under way.

Driver distraction

The AA Trust is promoting a major driver distraction campaign which focuses on the dangers of using hand-held mobile phones at the wheel.

The campaign kicked off with the premiere of a radical short film “Cadence”, made by graduate film makers with Edmund King as executive producer. This film and the associated news story that two million passengers would do nothing if their driver used a hand-held phone while at the wheel, was successfully promoted across national media and has had hundreds of thousands of views online and via social media.

We are proud that Cadence is being promoted by the Government’s Think! national road safety campaign, and is available on the Department for Transport’s resource centre for use by schools and colleges.

The Trust is also working on a hard-hitting advertisement indicating that while most people think that drinking and driving is unacceptable, texting and driving doesn’t carry the same social stigma. With the support of the Road Safety Minister, plans are in place for this advertisement to be widely distributed to cinemas and on social media, supported by the Think! campaign.