Rear-End Collisions

NAFA FS 4 2014In the April, 2014 issue of “Fleet Solutions” (a publication from the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA)) the topic of rear-end collisions was closely examined.

In most cases, the driver who contributed to the crash wished he/she had “just one more second” to react and avoid the collision.

“You want to teach something in terms of prevention that is much more addressed to the holistic fact that there are many, many things you can do that can help prevent crashes,” explained Paul Farrell, CEO of SafetyFirst Systems, LLC

Indeed, there are many options to get drivers focused on their duty – – from showing them the potential consequences of distracted driving to explaining why the company policy is written as it is (to protect the employee and the company) to using technology that actually alerts the driver of impending collisions.

Simply stacking driver education course upon education course is likely to lead to numbed and bored drivers who fail to incorporate the lessons into their daily habits — we need a smarter approach that respects the driver, asks for a real commitment and plainly shows them the consequences of making the wrong choice or taking one too many risks.

Again, more training isn’t the answer, but the “right” training may be the answer.  One online training provider boasts 400 titles on fleet safety alone — at their average course length that’s 280+ HOURS (or almost 38 business DAYS) of content.  Yet, their clients do not have the time to take advantage of those courses, nor do they typically see a material decline in collisions — because it’s not just about VOLUME or DURATION — it’s about a tailored, thoughtful approach to changing habits:

  1. Driver qualification (MVR review and scoring)
  2. Driver performance monitoring (GPS/Telematics/How’s My Driving)
  3. Driver Coaching on spot issues as they occur
  4. Escalated Coaching on recurring issues with short refresher courses (online)
  5. Building a culture of “safety awareness” within your organization through monthly reminders, payroll stuffers, posters, micro-messaging (starting meetings with a safety reflection)
  6. Investigation of post-collision data to learn lessons, share insights, benchmark with peers and monitor trends in rates

Take time to check out the original article at NAFA’s web site or by Clicking HERE

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CVSA Article on CSA’s “Safety Accomplishments”

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) publishes a periodical called “Guardian”.  In the most recent edition, there is a feature article titled “Three Years of CSA Brings Impressive Safety Accomplishments:  FMCSA Program Engages Stakeholders in Saving Lives”

The article, which can be found in it’s entirety by clicking HERE, lists a series of notable accomplishments:

  • “Data from roadside inspections show motor carriers and drivers have improved their safety compliance.  Additionally, vehicle and driver violations per roadside inspection are on the decline.
  • “…(FMCSA) shut down 52 bus companies and placed 340 operators out of service.  Inspectors targeted these carriers for investigation using the CSA prioritization protocols.
  • “CSA interventions range from warning letters for carriers with emerging problems to Onsite Comprehensive Investigations for carriers with serious compliance issues.
  • “…FMSCA has sent warning letters to more than 86,000 carriers, alerting them to safety performance problems”
  • “Motor carrier awareness is at an all-time high with 68 million visits to the CSA’s Safety Management System (SMS) site – 20 million over the year before and twice the number of visits [from] two years ago.
  • “…data from at least 3.5 million inspections and 130,000 Police Accident Reports fee into the SMS to identify noncompliant and at-risk carriers.

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What’s coming next?  The FMCSA is working on two new studies:  one to validate whether the current models are properly prioritizing the carriers with the highest risk to safety, and smc 1the other examines the effectiveness of current interventions — are the interventions having the right impact?  Also scheduled for later this year is the expectation that the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule will be published allowing more carriers to be targeted and removed from service.

From a carrier’s perspective, it’s important to be keenly aware of your present BASIC scores, and be working on ways to keep those scores as low as possible.  The Bookend BASICS are key to keeping everything under control (Unsafe Driving and monitoring your Crash Rates).  We’ve previously published articles on these “Bookend BASICs” at this site.

For a complete web site of “all things CSA” — click here — http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/default.aspx

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Public Transit Ridership Highest in Decades

A March 10, 2014 article in METRO magazine summarized a recent report from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) showing that 10.7 billion trips were taken on public transportation.  This is the highest annual ridership number in the past 57 years.

Interestingly, the article states:

Overall, while vehicle miles traveled on roads (VMT) went up 0.3%, public transportation use in 2013 increased by 1.1%. It was the eighth year in a row that more than 10 billion trips were taken on public transportation systems nationwide.

Further, a quote from APTA President Michael Melaniphy clarifies the situation:

“There is a fundamental shift going on in the way we move about our communities. People in record numbers are demanding more public transit services and communities are benefiting with strong economic growth,”

Click HERE for access to the complete APTA report.

We conclude that people are willing to use public transit as long as those fixed routes take them to places that they need to be on a daily basis, and each commuter who trades their car for a bus or train reduces congestion on the highways.  If these ridership numbers drop and more people drive to work, congestion (and likely fender benders) will increase also.

Glass Tech — A new distraction or a benefit?

dis-enf-10-ever-officials_lo_res-post-72-enA recent Slash Gear article (click HERE for full article) suggests that a new traffic application for google “glass” device may stimulate a fresh round of discussion about the potential distraction of surfing the web through your eyeglasses as you drive.

The central question is would there be a material benefit to a “heads up display” built into your glasses that:

  • is less distracting than other types of dash board displays
  • offers enough of a practical benefit/advantage without undue safety risk

Evidently, to activate the traffic app, a beta tester of google glass need only say out loud “OK Glass, traffic” to pull up a map of their current locations with the google maps traffic layer superimposed.

This would let a motorist know how bad the traffic stall is in terms of distance from current location and distance to nearest cross street or exit ramp, etc.

The article sums it up nicely:

In question is whether a head-mounted display would prove more or less of a distraction from the road versus, say, a more traditional touchscreen in the center console, or even a head-up display projected onto the windshield.

Additionally, the author reminds us of another recent Slash Gear article; “Google lobbying against Glass driving bans” (Click HERE) which states:

Google is fighting back against threats that Glass could be banned from use by drivers, lobbying US state officials in the hope of more nuanced guidelines than an all-out block on in-car wearable tech. The safety of head-mounted displays like Glass made headlines last year, after one “Glass Explorer” early-adopter was ticketed for distracted driving after being pulled over for speeding and found to be wearing Google’s experimental gadget.

The Explorer in question later saw the charges dismissed by a California court. However, despite some suggestions, the judge’s ruling in January was not on the safety of wearables like Glass while at the wheel, but merely based on the fact that traffic police could not prove the headset had been active at the time.

According to Reuters, Google is lobbying across three US states – Delaware, Illinois, and Missouri – in an attempt to curtail proposed legislation that could severely limit how wearables might be utilized while driving.

The key argument the company has made, it’s said, is that any of the suggested laws would be premature, given the relatively nascent development of Glass and other such devices…

It remains to be seen whether glass and any similar devices would be considered “safe” to use while driving if so much prior work has been done to document how even hand’s free communications may be a material distraction while driving.  One would imagine that the visual and cognitive distraction of reading an electronic image while driving would be more distracting than merely carrying a conversation through “hands free” connections.

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Driving and Vision Disorders

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers many resources for a wide range of safety concerns.

Here is an example of one of their latest videos:

You can find many more video based resources at NHTSA’s You Tube page — http://www.youtube.com/user/USDOTNHTSA

 

Blog Site Was Down?

Our blog site was temporarily suspended by WordPress (the free hosting service) because

“…Your site was flagged by our automated anti-spam controls. We have reviewed your site and have removed the suspension notice…We greatly apologize for this error and any inconvenience it may have caused.”

The site was back up and running this morning around 10 am Eastern.

While we’ve enjoyed a great relationship with the WordPress.com folks, we are investigating a move of the blog to our own hosted web site to avoid any future “accidental” suspensions because of “automated anti-spam controls”.

Thank you to all of our loyal readers for your patience and understanding during the 24-hour service disruption.

Traffic Congestion Accelerating thru 2013

According to a recent article in Heavy Duty Trucking (click HERE), “A new report shows traffic congestion in the U.S. increased last year after two consecutive years of declines and is growing faster than the nation’s economy.”

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That report being cited is the 7th Annual Traffic Scorecard Report by a company called INRIX (click HERE).

Why is it important to know that congestion is rising?

  1. indicator of economic recovery
  2. predictor of crash rates (higher congestion should produce more fender-benders)
  3. impact on fuel, idling and lost productivity (from sitting in stalled traffic)
  4. indicator of unemployment trends (when people are unemployed, they’re not commuting to work, but when they accept new jobs much further from home, they commute longer distances in unfamiliar territories)
  5. indicator to the government planners that road capacities need to be monitored and infrastructure improved

TeleMaticsMany of the issues facing fleet operators due to congestion can be addressed through the use of an inexpensive, easy to use, plug-n-play telematics system like the one offered by SafetyFirst (the GO platform from GEOTAB).

With simple reporting, fleets can monitor and adjust their habits to conserve fuel, increase routing efficiency, avoid congestion and increase productivity.  On top of all that, the data can provide additional insights into safety especially when you blend MVR data, past crash data and How’s my driving data into a single behavior profile through our E-DriverFile system.

Have you seen increases in congestion in your area of the country?  If so, how have your operators been coping with the added delays and stress?  Is your company looking to lower fuel spend and increase safety through telematics?