RTCA new multi-agency initiative which could play a dramatic role in reducing road traffic collision casualties has been launched by senior members of the emergency services and the Shadow Minister for Transport.

Driver First Assist (DFA) aims to equip professional drivers with the tools they need to make a real difference when faced with an RTC. DFA’s objective is to provide drivers with training in basic first aid techniques, and to instruct them on how to manage the scene prior to the arrival of the emergency services.

Speaking at the launch event [17 July], DFA founder David Higginbottom said: “Our vision is for hundreds – if not, ultimately, thousands – of trained drivers equipped to take action in the first critical moments after an RTC.

“Simple first aid techniques could do much to reduce casualties while the emergency services own ability to perform would be dramatically enhanced by receiving an onsite situation report the moment they arrive on scene.”

Highest standard of first aid on roadside
The initiative aims to provide projected savings of £1.5b to the UK economy, and has the active support of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE).

AACE chairman Dr Anthony Marsh added: "We look forward to working in partnership with DFA to ensure the highest standard of first aid training is provided to all who participate.

"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."

It is estimated that 46% of fatalities could be prevented if first aid assistance was available early at the scene of an RTC. Between 39% and 85% of these deaths may be due to airway obstruction. Death from a blocked airway occurs in about four minutes, while the target time for an ambulance to arrive on scene is about eight minutes.

A number of truck drivers have already taken part in the DFA training programme, following its first-phase launch at the CV Show 2013 in April. The national launch of the campaign now allows all professional drivers, be they in a truck, bus, coach or car, to take part in the scheme.

For further information visit www.driverfirstassist.org