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?

2012 Calendar for Ten-Minute Training Topics

Driver education takes many forms in many companies.  A variety of methods helps assure that drivers receive the message that’s being sent by the management team. 

We recognize that there are many really wonderful driver “training” programs out on the market, but many approach the educational program by making the driver sit in a class or in front of a computer for more than an hour at a time.  This cuts into their productivity and may become “mind-numbing” after the first 12 to 15 minutes – especially if they’ve already been through this topic in the recent past.

We’ve built a “reminder” or “refresher” program to supplement our driver coaching program.  It’s designed to remind drivers of what they should already know and be practicing on a regular basis.  Also, it’s designed to do this in a very short time span — typically a ten minute tailgate talk or similar approach (i.e. self-study; coaching sessions, etc.)

Each year we publish a new calendar for our popular Ten-Minute Training Topic series.  These driver training packages are included in our very popular “driver safety hotline” program that some firms continue to call a “how’s my driving” program.

The monthly training package for drivers includes:

  1. A driver handout with statistics about the issue, a description of why they should care and tips to consider when driving.
  2. A manager’s supplement report that includes current news stories about that month’s topic, links to web sites with additional resources and a discussion of how the month’s topic relates to company policies and procedures.
  3. A pair of power point presentations — one for easy copying/printing and one with full graphics and images to help drivers relate to the message at hand.

Occasionally we’ve tested other elements — word searches, handbooks and quizzes, or other training delivery formats.  All in all, our 4,000 clients have agreed that “keep it simple” has worked best and they really enjoy working with our materials.  It’s easier than dealing with bandwidth/kiosk issues for many clients and yet we’re also working on the release of an online, interactive training program, too (featuring four-minute length reminder videos followed by a very short quiz).

The very first Ten-Minute Training Topic was published way back in May of 2003.  We’ve been publishing a new or re-written topic each month since then — building an archive of over 80+ topics at our customer website.

During 2012, we will be publishing several interesting topics based on client requests and feedback:

  • January – “Check Your Vehicle
  • February – “Rollovers
  • March – “Roadway Defects and Debris
  • April – “Rain & Fog
  • May – “Right of Way
  • June – “Your Turn Signals
  • July – “The Other Driver
  • August – “School Zones
  • September – “Traffic Congestion
  • October – “Vehicle Clearances
  • November – “Unexpected Breakdowns
  • December – “Impaired Driving

In the past, we’ve published topics on Aggressive Driving, Cell Phones/Distracted Driving, Drowsy Driving, and many other pertinent and timely issues related to driver safety.  Current clients may substitute older issues for current issues by going to our site and downloading the older topics as they see fit.

In addition to providing these topics as a benefit of participating in the “driver safety hotline” program, some clients subscribe to the training topics as a stand alone program — separate from the hotline program. 

If you have an interest in receiving a courtesy copy of one of our monthly programs, let me know!  Additionally, if you’d like to see a preview of our supervisory training programs, or our interactive training programs, we can arrange a web cast.

Joe Zingale Joins SafetyFirst Team

PARSIPPANY, NJ; July 19, 2011 – SafetyFirst Systems, provider of various driver safety and fleet safety programs, has named Joe Zingale as its new Vice President of Business Development.

Mr. Zingale, who had been Vice President of Sales at Driver’s Alert, will be in charge of increasing SafetyFirst’s core business while expanding into other markets and offering additional programs through key partner relationships.

“Our company’s core mission is to meet the needs of our customers by offering ways for them to reduce the likelihood of commercial vehicle collisions,” noted Dan Lessnau, President of Sales at SafetyFirst. “Joe’s extensive network of relationships with insurance personnel, safety managers, risk managers and innovative vendors will help us expand product offerings and grow our client base.”

Before joining SafetyFirst, Mr. Zingale spent 17 years at Driver’s Alert in a variety of roles with a special focus on developing relationships with fleet managers, safety directors, and insurance industry professionals from carriers, agencies and brokers.  “If you ask me what I do, I’d have to say ‘find out what clients want and then make it happen!’’ said Mr. Zingale.  “By teaming up with SafetyFirst, I feel empowered to deliver a higher level of customer service and custom program elements than ever before in my career.”

His passion for living comes from his interest in health and fitness as a personal trainer.  Mr. Zingale has pursued outdoor activities and team sports ranging from his involvement in high school and collegiate football as well as active participation in the Boy Scouts of America’s youth leadership program.