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Eyes on the road!

A few weeks ago, I went out for an evening with the ‘lads’. Nothing too fancy or racy: a birthday celebration which involved a bit of sport, a few pints and a meal in a country pub. We’re all middle-aged, middle-class pillars of society so of course we needed to designate a driver. Who to choose to get us all home safely?

This week, Ist Central Insurance (no I’d never heard of them before either, so their new PR agency will be due a bonus) have published an analysis claiming to show the safest and least safe car drivers by profession. Safest were administrators, painters and farmers. Least safe were engineers, mechanics and estate agents. I sort of get it about mechanics. May-be they take risks with the cars they drive, which they haven’t quite finished putting back together?

But what is it with estate agents? Perhaps accidents occur when they are racing between houses to show anxious buyers.

Fourth on the least safe list were travel agents. What’s their excuse? Rushing back from the airport after another free holiday donated by a package operator? ‘I’m sorry about the accident officer, I’ve got terrible jet-lag and after sun was making my eyes sting……’ It’s hard to have sympathy.

I’m not surprised about administrators topping the list of safe drivers. Fifteen years ago during my long and winding career in PR and communications, I had a spell as Chief Press Officer in a Government Department. I was invited to join the Civil Service Motoring Association, which didn’t necessarily set my pulse racing. The big incentive was the significant discounts they could secure for breakdown cover and insurance. Civil Servants (and I shall offend a few with this) are mostly administrators and are statistically a safe bet. I joined and still benefit from the discounts.

Painters on the other hand, I assume, means painters and decorators, rather than artists. At the risk of divorce papers being filed, I have personal experience of the driving capabilities of at least one artist and I will take my chances with most other professions on the list. I think it must be something to do with the creative inspiration offered by passing scenery, distracting from the road ahead.

Two other professions who don’t appear in the top or bottom ten of safest drivers are lawyers and PR consultants. However, on my night out with the lads, the lawyer got to drive. Despite the best efforts of the Daily Mail (and certain politicians), brand lawyer says sensible, risk averse and trustworthy. While in another communications role in the health sector, I used to see polling evidence about how the NHS as an institution was considered by the public to be inefficient and badly run. When asked about their own experience of their GP, health visitor or local hospital, those surveyed had much more positive things to say.

In this particular case, dedication to his clients meant my solicitor friend wanted to be clear headed the following (Saturday) morning.

The profession has a job to do, rebuilding brand ‘lawyer’, brand ‘solicitor’, as well as the brands of firms. To be resilient, a brand must be compatible with people’s actual experiences. Those experiences and the dedication of many in the profession are good foundations upon which to build.

These were the top 10 least-safe drivers by profession:1. Engineer2. Mechanic3. Estate agent4. Travel agent5. IT consultant6. Hospital worker (non medical)7. Accountant8. Debt collector9. Hospital doctor10. Psychotherapist

These were the safest:1. Administrator 2. Painter3. Farmer4. Fashion designer5. Carpet fitter6. Builder7. Cleaner8. Baker9. Dinner lady10. Caretaker

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