Day two of Future Fleet Forum 2019 was characterised by a lively discussion on issues such as road safety, skills, and the maintenance challenges of emerging technologies as delegates engaged with speakers across a range of interactive workshops. Lotte Debell reports.

One of the highlights of Future Fleet Forum 2019 was a fascinating look at how the entertainment industry can educate and raise awareness of important issues such as road safety.

Dara Tallon and Owen McArdle

How's your driving? was a television series for Irish channel RTE One made by Dara Tallon and Owen McArdle, documentary producers with Oddboy Media, which they described as ‘taking a frank and honest look at our nation's motoring abilities'. Its purpose was to try to reduce the number of preventable deaths on Irish roads, many of which are caused by the usual culprits: drink and drugs, speeding, mobile phone use and distraction, and unsafe vehicles.

‘There are four million people in Ireland and 200 deaths and thousands of injuries on our roads every year,' said Dara. ‘38% of all fatalities involve alcohol, and mobile phones are a factor in 20-30%. We wanted to try to do something about it.'

They teamed up with car insurance company Boxymo to create four, 30-minute episodes that combined entertaining family viewing with important messages about road safety in a way that engaged with viewers but steered clear of the type of graphic imagery usually associated with road safety campaigns.

‘The content had to be interesting, it had to entertain, but it also needed emotional impact,' said Dara. So the series set out to look at Irish driving habits, good and bad, and the programme opened by posing the question: we spend so much time driving, so why are some of us so bad at it? Then the series went on to look at how factors such as drink and drugs affect a driver's abilities and spoke to relatives of road death victims.

‘Our core audience included caregivers and parents,' said Owen. ‘We needed to connect with them by creating something entertaining and thought-provoking but not shocking. Emotion was key.'

To show how different factors affect driving abilities, the show used real drivers and adopted a cause and effect model: road tests followed by an emotional hit. The drink driving segment was one of the big successes. It showed a young man drinking two pints ' within the legal limit at the time ' then the potentially tragic effect on his driving. He then sat down with the family of a drink-drive victim. After that episode, the legal alcohol limit was changed.

The show also incorporated some of the smaller road safety messages. ‘Everyone knows that drink and drugs, speeding, and using your mobile are not going to end well,' said Dara. ‘But what about the little messages? Within each episode, we included a “safety rippleâ€