Safeco insurance, a client of SafetyFirst’s services, recently published a study of “honking behavior” – check out this article and think about the connection between frustration, aggressive driving and crash rates on the increase….
SafetyFirst’s Learning Management System (LMS) assigns focused training modules to individual drivers based on their risk taking behaviors such as weaving in traffic, excessive speeding or running stop signs. These behaviors can be reported using our Motorist Observation Reports (MORs) SafetyFirst TeleMatic Alerts (TMAs), or Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) from enforcement violations.
Our LMS is designed with the flexibility to function as a stand alone product offering, or to work seamlessly with our other driver safety programs (i.e. Safety Hotline System, E-DriverFile, MVR services, etc.) so that when a driver’s individual risk score changes (due to a new violation, etc.) our system can automatically recommend/assign the right module.
Based on past experiences, we recognized that having “more titles” (that drivers don’t pay attention to) isn’t the goal when promoting a Learning Management System. The best system is the one that gets used, and the one that drivers actually enjoy working with (i.e. current, captivating and concise content).
Looking to find that right balance between highly engaging content and covering the needed range of topics, we’re always working on new modules. We have several in post-production editing presently. A preview trailer of these new topics is embedded, below.
Our approach to learning content is to keep it simple, make it personal, and ask the affected driver(s) for a commitment to drive differently tomorrow based on today’s message.
At 5 to 7 minutes in duration, our videos (and their respective 10-question quizzes) are highly engaging and deliver the key content without losing your driver’s attention.
- Tailgating (English/Spanish)
- Improper Lane Change (English/Spanish)
- Honoring the Right of Way (English/Spanish)
- Driving Too Fast for Conditions (English/Spanish)
- Running Red Lights / Stop Signs (English/Spanish)
- Aggressive Driving
- Distracted Driving (Cell Phone/Text)
- Drug/Alcohol Use
- Drowsy Driving
- Faulty Equipment
- Driving Too Slowly for Conditions (Impeding Traffic)
- Exceeding the Speed Limit (supports GPS monitored fleets)
To be released July 1st, 2014:
- Rules of the Road
- Parking Lot Risks
- The “Other” Driver
- Distracted Driving (all sources)
- Intersection Collisions
To learn more about our online program, please visit http://www.safetyfirst.com/interactive-training-modules.php
There’s a lot being reported about the crash on the New Jersey Turnpike which involved a Tractor Trailer and a chauffeured limousine-van transporting comedian Tracy Morgan. Tragically, several people were injured and one passenger died.
Some of the clear facts include:
- The tractor trailer was traveling above the posted (construction zone) limit of 45 MPH.
- The event occurred during the early morning hours when visibility is reduced and all drivers are more prone to drowsiness.
- The tractor trailer operator had been on duty for most of his allotted-by-regulation time (suggesting fatigue as a possible contributing factor).
According to other reports (Star Ledger, et.al.):
- The tractor trailer “…was equipped with sophisticated collision-avoidance systems that included forward-looking radar with interactive cruise control — all designed to begin automatically braking the big truck when it sensed traffic slowing down. It was programmed to notify the driver of any vehicles stopped ahead in the roadway. There was an on-board computer, blind spot sensors, and electronic controls limiting its top speed to 65 miles per hour.”
- ATA executive vice president David Osiecki was quoted as saying that speeding is “the highest cause and contributing factor” in most crashes. Further, “We want to return to a national maximum speed limit. Some states are at 80. Some at 75. That’s the biggest safety problem on the highways.”
So what can we conclude — how do we learn from this to prevent similar tragedies in the future? The National Transportation Safety Board and the NJ State Police are actively investigating to follow up on questions like:
- Did the on-board collision warning and avoidance system fail to function correctly?
- While the tractor trailer driver was within his regulated allotment of duty/driving hours, should the regulations be modified further?
- Was a lack of enforcement of speed limits in a construction zone play some role in creating a culture of speeding on that highway?
- Were seatbelts in the limo adequate to prevent further/greater injuries or could their design be improved, too?
All road deaths and injury producing crashes are tragic, and we need to learn from each occurrence to determine ways to prevent future events.
- First, there’s a lot to analyze.
- Second, not all final crash costs are known until the bulk of medical treatments have been completed and reported.
- Third, data about the source data becomes available during the analysis process (we gain insights as the analysis proceeds — sometimes causing us to reverse and re-examine details).
With these points in mind, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a new study of “The Economic and Societal Impact Of Motor Vehicle Crashes” that occurred during 2010.
We wanted to share some select quotes from the study to highlight several key findings.
In 2010, there were 32,999 people killed, 3.9 million were injured, and 24 million vehicles were damaged in motor vehicle crashes in the United States. The economic costs of these crashes totaled $277 billion. Included in these losses are lost productivity, medical costs, legal and court costs, emergency service costs (EMS), insurance administration costs, congestion costs, property damage, and workplace losses. The $277 billion cost of motor vehicle crashes represents the equivalent of nearly $897 for each of the 308.7 million people living in the United States, and 1.9 percent of the $14.96 trillion real U.S. Gross Domestic Product for 2010. These figures include both police-reported and unreported crashes. When quality of life valuations are considered, the total value of societal harm from motor vehicle crashes in 2010 was $871 billion. Lost market and household productivity accounted for $93 billion of the total $277 billion economic costs, while property damage accounted for $76 billion. Medical expenses totaled $35 billion. Congestion caused by crashes, including travel delay, excess fuel consumption, greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants accounted for $28 billion. Each fatality resulted in an average discounted lifetime cost of $1.4 million. Public revenues paid for roughly 9 percent of all motor vehicle crash costs, costing tax payers $24 billion in 2010, the equivalent of over $200 in added taxes for every household in the United States.
Clearly, traffic crashes cost a lot of money!
Key contributing factors to the crash data in 2010 included:
- Impaired (drunk) driving
- Seat belts saved many, but some (3,350 people) perished for failing to use their restraints properly/consistently
It is staggering to realize that during 2010, there were more than 3.9 million people injured in 13.6 million motor vehicle crashes (including about 33,000 fatalities). Alcohol-involved crashes accounted for about 21 percent of all crash costs and a third of all road deaths.
Speed-related crashes (where at least one driver was exceeding the posted limit OR driving too fast for conditions) were connected to 10,536 fatalities (another third of the total for the year).
So, in hindsight, if all drivers had:
- worn their seatbelts properly,
- avoided driving while impaired and
- followed the speed limit (or driven with regard to local conditions)
then, about two-thirds of all road deaths could have been avoided (22,000 lives saved).
The opening paragraph of the study that deals with speeding says a lot in a few words:
Excess speed can contribute to both the frequency and severity of motor vehicle crashes. At higher speeds, additional time is required to stop a vehicle and more distance is traveled before corrective maneuvers can be implemented. Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to react to emergencies created by driver inattention; by unsafe maneuvers of other vehicles; by roadway hazards; by vehicle system failures (such as tire blowouts); or by hazardous weather conditions. The fact that a vehicle was exceeding the speed limit does not necessarily mean that this was the cause of the crash, but the probability of avoiding the crash would likely be greater had the driver or drivers been traveling at slower speeds. A speed-related crash is defined as any crash in which the police indicate that one or more drivers involved was exceeding the posted speed limit, driving too fast for conditions, driving at a speed greater than reasonable or prudent, exceeding a special speed limit or zone, or racing.
In short, speeding robs you of needed reaction time – you need to make judgments faster and have less room to maneuver in an emergency. Each of us can choose to drive slower and buy time to react and respond, but we’re often in a ‘hurry’ to get to our destination, and choose to increase or risk.
The study reminded us of the urgent need for ALL drivers of cars, trucks, buses to properly use restraints such as seatbelts whenever driving. Consider these statistics:
When properly fastened, seat belts provide significant protection to vehicle occupants involved in a crash. The simple act of buckling a seat belt can improve an occupant’s chance of surviving a potentially fatal crash by from 44 to 73 percent, depending on the type of vehicle and seating position involved. They are also highly effective against serious nonfatal injuries. Belts reduce the chance of receiving an MAIS 2-5 injury (moderate to critical) by 49 to 78 percent.
Motorcycles are the most hazardous form of motor vehicle transportation. The lack of external protection provided by vehicle structure, the lack of internal protection provided by seat belts and air bags, their speed capability, the propensity for riders to become airborne through ejection, and the relative instability inherent with riding a two-wheeled vehicle all contribute to making the motorcycle the most risky passenger vehicle. In 2010, 4,518 motorcyclists were killed and 96,000 were injured in police-reported crashes on our Nation’s roadways. This represents 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 3 percent of all police-reported injuries. Motorcycles accounted for only 0.6 percent of all vehicle miles traveled in 2010. Per vehicle mile traveled in 2010, a motorcyclist was about 30 times more likely than a passenger car occupant to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash and 5 times more likely to be injured. The difference in these proportions reflects the more severe injury profile that results from motorcycle crashes. Over the past several decades motorcycle fatalities and injuries have generally increased relative to those in other vehicle types.
Other observations included a good reminder that intersections continue to be a prime location for crashes since there are so many ways that vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists can interact with each other during turns or even while transiting the intersection (straight across).
While the data summarizes activity from 2010, we can learn a lot about behavior, choices and safety results. There’s never an inappropriate time to share safety messages with drivers about obeying traffic laws, using seatbelts and avoiding risk taking (i.e. driving while impaired, distracted driving, etc.)
Today is “National Ride to Work Day” — a day to celebrate two things:
- the approach of summer
- the use of motorcycles as a viable alternative to cars and buses as a means to commute to work
Of course, it’s important to remember that motorcycles can be difficult for other drivers to spot and avoid. That’s why we’ve previously published blog articles on driving safely around motorcycles (https://safetyismygoal.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/share-the-road-with-motorcycles/).
If you’d like to learn more about ride to work day, consider this link — http://www.ridetowork.org/
Recently, TransOptions (a non-profit organization specializing in helping commuters in Northwestern NJ) sponsored a ride your bicycle to work challenge which encouraged people to ditch their cars and cycle to work. Some of this year’s statistics included:
- 200 riders volunteered for the challenge
- the riders logged 15,957 miles in over 1,877 individual trips
- 6.79 tons of CO2 emissions were saved
- 31,776 calories were burned
To learn more about riding your bike to work, consider this link — http://www.transoptions.org/?p=bike-to-work
Driving is, arguably, the most complex task that most people handle on a daily basis. We interact with other vehicles, struggling to identify all potential hazards in front, to the side, and behind us.
In a idealized, fantasy world, we’d be the only vehicle and driver on the road, but that’s just not reality.
One of the most challenging interactions on the road is dealing with intersections. These crossroads provide multiple points of conflict with cyclists, pedestrians and other vehicles. Whether going straight, turning right or left, we have to follow the rules and watch out for others who may not follow the rules. Signals and signs help, but oddly intersecting roads, multiple driveways and alleys can combine to make a very dangerous environment where drivers could become confused (even if they’re not texting and driving).
- Driver Handouts
- Slide shows
- Mini-poster to reinforce key points
- Manager’s supplemental report with talking points, news articles and insights into policy development
One of the trendy recommendations affecting road design is to move away from traditional intersections towards modern roundabouts. Here are two videos about the benefits of roundabouts: