Are your ACD Codes up to date?

When viewing state MVRs it quickly becomes obvious that each state has unique conviction reporting language and codes inherent to their motor vehicle statutes and specific violation language. Additionally, each state has its own point system that links to suspension of driving privileges.

Since states must communicate with one another and with the National Driver Register (NDR) regarding commercial drivers, problem drivers, and out-of state actions, the question is—how do states know what the conviction codes from other states mean and how do they translate this information into their own language and code set?  In short, how do they make sense of the data if there are fifty standards?

The answer is the states utilize the AAMVA Code Dictionary (ACD) as a translation table. The primary function of the ACD Codes is to enable to the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) to exchange convictions and withdrawals. Other applications use the codes, such as the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS), knowing that the ACD Codes are defined for CDLIS.

Fleet managers, safety directors, and human resources teams depend on accurate reporting of MVR data tied to ACD codes.  This enables a fair evaluation of a driver’s history against a set standard within their organization.  This evaluation will typically lead to refresher training and could lead to discipline or removal of driving privileges. 

Because of the seriousness of this evaluation, it’s important that the process be consistent and fair.

The AAMVA periodically updates their ACD code listing to reflect changes in the traffic citation “marketplace” — for instance, “Texting While Driving” or “M85” was recently added to the dictionary of codes.

If your MVR scoring/evaluation system doesn’t tie directly to the master list of ACD codes, you may be missing or mis-classifying violations.  Worse, if you depend on a person* to “interpret” violations being posted back from the states and/or provinces, how do you know that they’re being coded correctly?  *(what about multiple service reps working on your account — does “Joe” interpret violations differently than “Sally”?)

Your drivers deserve every opportunity to receive training based on these codes since the codes are tied to specific behaviors.  When violations are coded improperly, you may be missing opportunities to help drivers correct their habits. 

On the other hand, when your MVR system is working well, you can influence the probability of preventing collisions or even getting additional violations. 

This can impact your BASICs for unsafe driving and crash rates if you’re a regulated carrier, or simply boost your profitability if you’re a non-regulated fleet.

There are many providers of MVR data out there.  If you’re checking MVRs to simply fulfill a policy or program statement (without considering the data quality, or without using the data to instigate corrective training), any provider will suffice.  If you’re interested in helping drivers become aware of potential habits that are leading them towards collisions, then data quality and reporting are critical to success.  Advanced systems that do more than deliver an MVR result may prove helpful — does your system also:

  • tag and remind you proactively when licenses are about to expire?
  • link driver evaluations to training systems?
  • link driver’s MVR data to preventable crash history, telematics alerts, motorist observation reports or other indicators for a blended risk score?
  • assist in complying with FMCSR if your fleet is regulated?
  • assist in tying varied company events to a blended score?
  • link data from automated enforcement agencies to your driver’s account?
  • reconcile and maintain your consent forms tied to each state and each driver account?
  • offer e-consent in those states which support e-consent?

If you’re interested in a system that does more than post back a data file (that may or may not be accurate), then check out E-DriverFile or give us a call at 1-888-603-6987.

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Does Driving an Older Car Increase Injury Risk?

According to an article at EHS Today ( http://ehstoday.com/blog/does-driving-older-car-increase-injury-risk-nhtsa-says-yes ), the author and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration make the case that older vehicles increase your risk of injury for a number of interesting reasons.

First of all, it’s important to define “older” — according to NHTSA, any make/model of 2008 or newer vintage is a “newer car” and those older are, well, “older cars”.

According to the article;

“In its June 2012 report, “An Analysis of Recent Improvements to Vehicle Safety,” NHTSA set out to determine what role vehicle safety improvements played in the historically low fatality and injury rates over the last several years. NHTSA’s data crunchers performed detailed statistical model analysis to ascertain if vehicle safety improvements since 2000 could be responsible for preventing injuries and fatalities. Their final conclusion is not surprising. The magnitude of those findings, however, is eye-opening.”

NHTSA concluded; “We estimate that the likelihood of crashing in 100,000 miles of driving has decreased from 30 percent in a model year 2000 car to 25 percent in a model year 2008 one, when both vehicles are driven “as new”. The likelihood of escaping a crash uninjured has improved from 79 to 82 percent as a result of improvements between the 2000 and 2008 car fleets. Improvements are also found for light trucks and vans, and for the chances of surviving a crash and avoiding incapacitation.”

To summarize other key findings:

  • Improvements made to newer models (post CY2000) prevented an estimated 700,000 vehicles from crashing.
  • These newer car improvements prevented or mitigated an estimated 1 million occupant injuries.
  • The improvements to newer cars likely saved 2,000 lives in the year 2008 alone.
  • Of the 9 million crashes occurring among passenger vehicles in 2008, 200,000 could have been prevented if the vehicles had the benefits of more recent safety systems.
  • The conclusions apply equally to light trucks and vans – not just sedans and minivans, etc.

It’s interesting to note that many families with teenagers learning to drive put their children in the oldest car so that if there’s a crash, it’s not as big a loss (i.e. “who cares if the old van gets one more dent?”) 

Unfortunately, the issue isn’t really about getting one more dent or one more scratch — it may be about whether your teen survives the collision at all.

So what do you think?  Perhaps it’s time to consider trading up to a newer model and retiring your older vehicle?

Crashes, Fatalities Tragically On the Increase for 1Q2012

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released preliminary data for the first Quarter of 2012. 

According to an Associated Press article;

“Traffic deaths soared 13.5 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year, and the number of deaths per miles driven also rose significantly, according to preliminary government estimates released Friday.  An estimated 7,630 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first three months of 2012, up from 6,720 deaths in the first quarter of last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.”

“If the estimate holds true, it would be the second largest year-to-year quarterly increase since the government began recording traffic fatalities in 1975. It would also run counter to historic declines in deaths over the past four years.”

While NHTSA did not provide any evidence or opinions about the change in activity, many experts attribute it to the steadily recovering economy, an increase in mileage and congestion, and more people commuting longer distances to find employment.

The significant question is whether this reversal in trends will continue and what that will mean for employers whose operations depend on vehicles for deliveries, transporting passengers, getting crews to job sites, etc.

During the downturned economy, many firms reduced overhead by eliminating safety programs, training, and safety professionals from their payroll.  While as a nation, we’ve enjoyed four years of decreasing fatalities and crashes, now is the time for responsible management teams to shake off any reservations about re-investing in proven safety programs.  Safety complacency and increasing road congestion make an extremely bad combination.

What are you doing, personally or professionally (as an employer or employee-driver), to modify your driving tactics as congestion increases?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/traffic-deaths-soar-135-percent-in-1st-quarter-of-2012-as-motorists-increase-their-driving/2012/07/20/gJQAtuBPyW_story.html

New MVR Reporting Features Added to E-DriverFile

Based on dialog with our clients, we’ve introduced several new enhancements to our MVR services platform, called E-DriverFile.

Background:

E-DriverFile is a risk management information system that was initially developed in early CY2000 to help fleets manage driver and vehicle specific data. 

Designed for both regulated and non-regulated fleets, it was the originator of the “anniversary reminder alert by email” concept for driver management.   When a driver (or vehicle) has an impending anniversary (expiration date) for something like a license, registration, insurance, permit, etc. the system automatically sends a reminder report to the location manager as a “to do” list of compliance issues.

As the location manager updates each item by typing in the new anniversary date, the system adjusts the reminder notice accordingly.  If the issue isn’t dealt with in a timely fashion, the report escalates to higher levels of management.

In 2004, clients asked us to incorporate MVR ordering.  This enabled them to set a triggering date (such as date of birth or date of hire, etc.) to have our system initiate the request for a new MVR on that driver.  Initially, the system only handled the request, but later on we also handled the input of the response from the state as more states began delivering “granular data” instead of paper reports.

Now, the MVR function almost overshadows the other features (i.e. DQ file management, automatic reconciliation of driver’s annual review, training updates, et.al.) since it’s so convenient and easy to run thousands of MVRs based on:  location, driver’s risk score (order high risk driver’s MVRs more frequently), division, date, etc.

NEW ENHANCEMENTS:

Recently we introduced two new enhancements:

  1. Clients asked for the ability to “time travel” and see a given driver’s risk score as it appeared on that date in time. Since our system automatically calculates scoring based on the tenure of convictions, telematics reports, MORs, and preventable collisions, it can be helpful to provide more than the default view (score as of today) by enabling an instant re-calculation based on any date provided by the client. 
  2. One feature is a new report that enables the client to query the database directly. This enables clients to answer questions like….. 
    1. how many of my drivers have S99 versus S92 speeding events?”
    2. how many of my drivers have both S99, S92 and (insert your favorite ACD code) combined?” 
    3. how many drivers (and who are they?) have at least one violation for speeding regardless of which speeding code was used by the state?”
  3. All of this data can be exported directly to Excel for further analysis and includes driver location data so that reporting by territory can be highlighted (to spot regional trends or hot-spots).
  4. Varied tenure periods based on data category.  We can split your reporting tenures based on data category — for instance, count MVR convictions that are less than 36 months old, count preventable collisions that are within 24 months of today’s date, count Motorist Observation Reports within 24 months, count telematics alerts within the past 12 months, etc.  This overlays the client’s own scoring mechanism for each data category, and their ability to isolate each category as a stand alone score.

Would you like to learn more about E-DriverFile, or our other driver safety programs (i.e. training, telematics, et.al.)?  Please give us a call at 1-888-603-6987!

Intelligent Vehicles Versus Autonomous Vehicles

Over the past two decades, there’s been a lot of research money flowing into the development of intelligent vehicle systems (IVS) also referred to as intelligent vehicle technology (IVT).

IVS/IVT programs focus on finding ways to creatively and proactively alert drivers of potential collision threats so that the driver has more time to react and avoid the dangerous situation.

This approach recognizes that improved sensors could detect: objects in the roadway; closure rates (ie. coming too close, too fast to another vehicle moving the same direction in the same lane); roadway conditions; braking system efficiency; tire pressure and more.  By combining this sensor data with a computer system used to evaluate the data and issue recommendations in the forms of alerts, drivers would have a better chance to avoid collisions.

Examples of these systems include:

  • Forward collision avoidance systems
  • Adaptive headlights, which shift direction as the driver steers
  • Lane departure warning
  • Blind spot detection
  • Park assist (sensors showing the relative position and distance to other parked vehicles or fixed objects)

The Highway Loss Data Institute has recently completed an analysis of insurance claims for vehicles using the intelligent vehicle technology.  Insurance claims provide a simple way to see if these technologies are making an impact on crash rates.

From their report;

“HLDI analysts looked at how each feature affected claim frequency under a variety of insurance coverages for damage and injuries. Clear patterns were seen in claims under property damage liability (PDL) insurance, which covers damage caused by the insured vehicle to another vehicle, and collision insurance, which covers damage to the insured vehicle. Frequency is measured as the number of claims relative to the number of insured vehicle years. An insured vehicle year is one vehicle insured for one year, two vehicles for six months, etc. The model years of the vehicles included ranged from 2000 to 2011, depending on when an automaker introduced a feature. Insurance data through August 2011 were used.  The crash avoidance systems studied were all offered as optional equipment. The automakers supplied HLDI with identification numbers of vehicles that had each feature, allowing HLDI to compare the insurance records for those vehicles with the same models without the feature. In each analysis, HLDI controlled for factors that could influence claim rates, including driver age and gender, garaging state and collision deductible.”

So what’s the bottom line?  HLDI’s team states; “So far, forward collision technology is reducing claims, particularly for damage to other vehicles, and adaptive headlights are having an even bigger impact than we had anticipated.”  However, not all results were as glowing; “In contrast to the better-than-expected results for adaptive headlights, lane departure warning systems…appeared to have the opposite of their intended effect. Both were associated with increased claim rates under collision and PDL coverages and for injuries to occupants of the insured vehicles.”

  • If you’d like to dig into their report more fully, you can find it at http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr070312.html
  • If you’d like to watch a video re-cap, we’ve embedded a video at the bottom of this article.

Leap Frogging to the Next Generation?

My mind wonders whether these intelligent vehicle systems will hit the mainstream (i.e. become “standard” equipment on cars and trucks) before “Autonomous Vehicles” (AVs) become available on a widespread basis.

If you think about how computer technology goes obsolete within moments of taking it out of its box, could I be on target that we’ll have self driving vehicles before we really get used to these new systems?

I think that the pioneering work done in the IVS/IVT field over the past twenty years is making it possible to get to the AV stage, and without this foundation, AVs would still be in the distant future.   Interestingly, the HLDI report seems to indicate a subtle preference for systems that will take control from the driver when reaction times are critical over systems that passively warn the driver without taking control.  Could this be a nod towards AVs as the way to eliminate most collisions?

Autonomous Vehicle Safety

Recent Associated Press article examining AV safety issues:

Are you ready to merge into traffic with your hands off the wheel? How about trusting your car to distinguish a cardboard box on the roadway versus a deer or a small child on a bike? The future is coming and AV’s will be a part of it in some fashion. My concern is the bumpy transition from here to there.