Mike Watson on avoiding risks on the road

“Road safety doesn’t begin with one individual. It really includes everyone,” said Watson.

These podcasts are part of a special series on safety in the oil and gas industry, made possible in part by Shell.

Mike Watson: I think road safety doesn’t begin with one individual. It really includes everyone. This includes reminding your friends, your colleagues when they’re driving too fast, they’re talking on the mobile phone, they’re speeding, they’re not wearing their seat belt.

EarthSky spoke with Group Road Transport Manager Mike Watson of Shell. He said his company and its contractors drive over 1.6 billion kilometers a year – roughly 120 times around the world every day – in over 100 countries.

Mike Watson: So it could be as simple as an employee going out to a well site in the middle of Oman, for instance. Or it could be a delivery vehicle that’s delivering petroleum products to a retail service station.

It’s Watson’s job to keep people safe on the road. He said they start with questioning the need for every journey…

Mike Watson: … challenging the need for all journeys, combining journeys with other journeys, minimizing truck traffic by using other, safer modes of truck transports such as ships and barges.

He said new technology has helped save lives.

Mike Watson: For example, a computer-generated, onboard-the-vehicle-type device that monitors the driver performance. This includes monitoring their speed, their braking, their acceleration, their driving hours, their seat belt compliance, as well it has global positioning mapping, so we can actually see where the vehicles are on the road.

And he said they work in communities around the world – for example, providing over two million free motorcycle helmets for drivers in Vietnam. Around the world, he said, the two biggest things people can do to stay safe on the road is wear seat belts and not talk on mobile phones.

Our thanks today to Shell – encouraging dialogue on the energy challenge.

Jorge Salazar