Intersections and Crash Risk

sideswipe illustration FHWADriving 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).

SafetyZone-Safety GoalThis month’s Ten-Minute Training Topic deals with “Avoiding Intersection Crashes” and includes:

  • 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:

AND

Traffic safety has to begin within each and every driver – you and me.  Only when we personalize the need to be safe will we talk to our family and friends about “stepping up” to drive consistently according to the rules of the road.

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“Cross This Way”

New York City has embraced a traffic safety plan called “Vision Zero”.  This program aims to materially improve safety results through targeted education and enforcement.  From their website (click HERE):

…approximately 4,000 New Yorkers are seriously injured and more than 250 are killed each year in traffic crashes. Being struck by a vehicle is the leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14, and the second leading cause for seniors. On average, vehicles seriously injure or kill a New Yorker every two hours.

This status quo is unacceptable. The City of New York must no longer regard traffic crashes as mere “accidents,” but rather as preventable incidents that can be systematically addressed. No level of fatality on city streets is inevitable or acceptable. This Vision Zero Action Plan is the City’s foundation for ending traffic deaths and injuries on our streets.

One of the tools introduced to help school children improve their knowledge of how to cross streets safely is a video presentation with a catchy tune and lyrics that emphasize good techniques.  Here’s the video:
The Vision Zero web page wisely states; “There is no silver bullet that will end traffic fatalities. But previous successes that have combined the efforts of people, their governments and private industries to save lives are not difficult to find.”  We agree.

Traffic safety (pedestrians, cars, trucks, buses, cyclists, et.al.) all share a responsibility to interact with each other in a respectful and responsible manner.  We each have a role to play in preventing collisions by obeying rules and learning how to better practice safe techniques.

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Learn These Four Winter Driving Myths to Stay Safe in a Snowstorm

Link to Accuweather Article — “Learn These Four Winter Driving Myths to Stay Safe in a Snowstorm.”

An interesting article that challenges assumptions of many casual motorists regarding winter weather driving techniques.  What do you think?

From the source article:

In order to stay safe, motorists should steer clear of these four winter driving myths:

    1. Winter Tires Aren’t a Necessity: “Most people think a winter tire is just for ice and snow, but it is better performing on cold pavement,” Director of Bridgestone Winter Driving School Mark Cox said.  Unlike summer or all-season tires, which get hard in cold air, winter tires stay pliable down to the lowest temperatures, according to Cox. These tires also stick well to the pavement in wintry conditions.
    2. All-Wheel Drive is Invincible in the Snow:  While all-wheel drive splits grip between four tires instead of two thus allowing the driver a greater margin of error, simply having all-wheel drive does not enable a person to be necessarily safer in the snow.  “All wheel-drive creates a false sense of confidence, people assume that the vehicle stops and corners better but that is not the case,” Cox said. “When it comes to turning and stopping, all vehicles are created equal.”
    3. All-Season Tires are Fine for Winter:  Sneakers can be worn in the summer and the winter, but a person gets better comfort and performance if they wear sandals in the summer and snow boots in the winter. The same goes for tires, Cox explains.  “An all-season tire is a compromise, it is engineered to be medium in the summer and medium in the winter,” Cox said.  Due to the engineering of an all-season tire, these tires do not stay as soft as a winter tire in lower temperatures and as a result are simply not as effective in colder weather.
    4. For Better Traction, Under Inflate Tires:  This legendary myth is far from the truth, as under inflation of a tire takes away from performance, effectiveness and safety. “When temperatures are dropping you lose one pound of inflation for every 10-degree drop in temperature,” Cox said. Under inflation can actually damage tires when withstanding winter weather. For the best performance, tires should be inflated to the car’s manufacturers recommended inflation rate which is listed on the inside of the car door.

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Everyone is a Pedestrian

Whether “my other car is a Mack Truck” or something a bit smaller, we all spend time walking from place to place, too.  Pedestrian safety is a big issue since vehicles and pedestrians interact at intersections, crosswalks and other places.

The term “pedestrian” actually includes more than just people walking along the road — according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), A pedestrian is 490x300-peds…any person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting or lying down who is involved in a motor vehicle traffic crash.

NHTSA recently released a revised Traffic Safety Fact sheet on Pedestrians, and launched a new web site to help educate about the opportunity to prevent injuries (http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/everyoneisapedestrian/index.html)

Consider that:

In 2011, 4,432 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 69,000 were injured in
traffic crashes in the United States. On average, a pedestrian was killed every two
hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes.  (Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians, August, 2013)

Clearly, we have a responsibility to raise our collective awareness of the issues that lead to these injuries and deaths in order to prevent them.

Interesting factoids about pedestrian collisions recorded during 2011 (most recent complete year of stats available):

  • PEDESTRIAN-SIGN2Pedestrian deaths accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities
  • Almost three-fourths (73%) of pedestrian fatalities occurred in an urban setting versus a rural setting.
  • Over two-thirds (70%) of pedestrian fatalities occurred at non-intersections versus at intersections.
  • Eighty-eight percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred during normal weather conditions (clear/cloudy), compared to rain, snow and foggy conditions.
  • A majority of the pedestrian fatalities, 70 percent, occurred during the nighttime (6 p.m. – 5:59 a.m.)
  • The 4,432 pedestrian fatalities in 2011 were an increase of 3 percent from 2010
  • Older pedestrians (age 65+) accounted for 19 percent (844) of all pedestrian fatalities and an estimated 10 percent (7,000) of all pedestrians injured
  • The fatality rate for older pedestrians (age 65+) was 2.04 per 100,000 population – higher than the rate for all the other ages
  • Over one-fifth (21%) of all children between the ages of 10 and 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
  • Children age 15 and younger accounted for 6 percent of the pedestrian fatalities in 2011 and 19 percent of all pedestrians injured in traffic crashes
  • Thirty-two percent of the pedestrian fatalities occurred in crashes between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.
  • The highest percentage of weekday and weekend fatalities also occurred between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. (27% and 39%, respectively).

What can we do to prevent injuries and fatalities?

NHTSA offers a series of recommendations:

For Pedestrians:

  • Walk on a sidewalk or path whenever they are available.
  • If there is no sidewalk or path available, walk facing traffic (on the left side of the road) on the shoulder, as far away from traffic as possible. Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices, including radios, smart phones and other devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road environment.
  • Be cautious night and day when sharing the road with vehicles. Never assume a driver sees you (he or she could be distracted, under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or just not seeing you). Try to make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to make sure you are seen.
  • Be predictable as a pedestrian. Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians.
  • If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area, wait for a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.
  • Stay off of freeways, restricted-access highways and other pedestrian-prohibited roadways.
  • Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flash light at night.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and judgment too.

For Drivers:

  • Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Very often pedestrians are not walking where they should be.
  • Be especially vigilant for pedestrians in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or in bad weather.
  • Slowdown and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
  • Always stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
  • Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. They are stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the street.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Follow the speed limit, especially around pedestrians.
  • Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where there are children present. 

Did you know that fact sheets on other topics are available from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis?  Topics cover issues like: Alcohol-Impaired Driving, Bicyclists and Other Cyclists, Children, Large Trucks, Motorcycles, Occupant Protection, Older Population, Rural/Urban Comparisons, School Transportation-Related Crashes, Speeding, State Alcohol Estimates, State Traffic Data, and Young Drivers.

Detailed data on motor vehicle traffic crashes are published annually in Traffic Safety Facts: A Compilation of Motor Vehicle Crash Data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the General Estimates System.

The fact sheets and annual Traffic Safety Facts report can be accessed online at www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/CATS/index.aspx.

Safety Policy Expiration Date

EdiscoveryWhen did you last review and revise your company’s driver/vehicle safety policy?  What is it’s “expiration date”?

Creating an effective, enforceable safety policy to govern how drivers drive, how vehicles get maintained, what to do in the case of a crash and so on is vitally important for a host of reasons:

  1. Education:  you need to communicate your expectations as a management team so that the drivers know what to do and how to do it.
  2. Compliance:  your standard provides a benchmark for enforcement of minimum acceptable performance
  3. Anticipates contingencies:  well crafted and communicated policies enable managers to deal with the vast majority of situations that may arise during a day, week or month without having to seek guidance from above while providing an escalation path for true exceptions

One thing that the best policy can’t become is “timeless” — the world changes around us continually and as new technologies are introduced and case law is established our policies need to be reviewed to determine whether these changes warrant a revision to the policy.

Setting an artificial “expiration date” on driver/fleet safety policies would be one way to assure that the review is scheduled, budgeted and completed on a periodic basis.  Assuming that policies will be reviewed and revised “on the fly” as changes occur may be fruitless as the demands of the moment may rob even the most dedicated manager of the time needed to complete the review/revisions in a timely fashion.  By scheduling the review in advance, the manager can take a deliberate approach to the review.

ANSI Z15 2012 coverSelf Audit Against an Industry Standard

One way to assure that any policy review is comprehensive would be to conduct a self-audit of the existing policy against a published industry standard or benchmark.  The ANSI Z15.1 “sets forth practices for the safe operation of motor vehicles owned or operated by organizations” and was most recently revised in 2012.  The standard covers seven key areas including “Definitions, Management, Leadership and administration, Operational environment, Driver considerations, Vehicle considerations, Incident reporting and analysis.

While the standard may not cover all details of a specialty operation with unique exposures to loss, it does provide a baseline for comparison.  For the vast majority of fleets, it will cover those critical areas that are found in most driver/fleet safety policies.

Fleets who discover gaps in their current policy can document why the gap exists and whether the gap should be filled or ignored (i.e. the fleet doesn’t engage in that type of operation or the scenario will not present itself in the context of the fleet’s current or anticipated operations, etc.)

Realignment of Policies with Priorities

Many progressive fleet managers and safety managers take time during these reviews to realign safety goals and tactics to assure seamless compliance from both managers and Motivating Drivers to be saferdrivers — in the past, policies were often mis-aligned where drivers were expected to do X while managers told them to do Y. Recrafting the policy to make it work saves frustration, restores confidence in safety leadership and enables people to actually perform properly instead of ‘deceptively’ (either the manager or driver breaks the rules when goals are misaligned with policy).

This is also the time to address the effectiveness of the current policy as measured by past enforcement efforts — if the policy is unenforceable, or very difficult to monitor compliance, then a fresh discussion about compliance monitoring is appropriate.  A policy that is not followed, nor enforced isn’t much of a policy when called to testify on a witness stand following a tragic, and arguably preventable, collision.

All the News Fit To Print…

Another way to address periodic reviews/revisions is to keep a file of news articles announcing changes to regulations or laws that may affect your fleet operation.  Additionally, if any guidance is published about these changes by memorandum, keep a copy of each memo handy to incorporate into the review/revision at the scheduled date.

As the changes are incorporated into the new policy, keep a list of changes made to this edition so that it’s easier to communicate a short list of changes along with the final, revised policy.  This can boost your education efforts since most people would not want to have to re-read the entire policy solely to determine what has been updated.

Summary

Our company helps fleets to re-engineer their existing programs to get stronger results from the vendors they already use. Sometimes they’ve invested millions into programs that worked well for the pilot and then fell flat. Refreshing their approach and assigning Some parallels worth examininganalysts to “work the data mountain” into “urgently actionable” conclusions instead of frustrating “background noise” can rescue ROI from the gutter. Most of this comes from management teams who “wrote policies and bought silver-bullet systems” then stuck the notebook (policy) on a shelf and turned their attention back to their “day to day” after the vendor sales team leaves the building. Building discipline to deal with the mundane and tedious separates the winners from the whiners.

When was the last time your team reviewed your policy from start to finish?  Maybe you can leverage a standard like Z15 to help complete the review quickly, and focus on communicating the policy changes to your drivers and managers as a way to increase safety awareness and shake off complacency before any further collisions take place.

If you need help in conducting a review, call on us, we’re here to help.

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Google Glass & Driver Safety: What Do You See Ahead?

Preemptive action is being considered by the UK Department for Transport in light of the impending release of Google Glass technology.

Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (you see data floating in front of your face because its being displayed immediately in front of your right google-glass-drivingeye). Google Glass enables users to interact with the Internet via natural language voice commands so you could get turn by turn navigation to your destination, check for traffic congestion ahead, note detours and construction zones, get weather reports, sport score updates, record videos (it has a camera built in) and much more.

The chief safety concern is that wearing these glasses while driving could introduce new and dangerous distractions to the wearer.

This has prompted action by the UK Department for Transport whose spokesman has said

We are aware of the impending roll out of Google Glass and are in discussion with the Police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving.

It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel and do not behave in a way that stops them from observing what is happening on the road. A range of offences and penalties already exist to tackle those drivers who do not pay proper attention to the road including careless driving which will become a fixed penalty offence later this year.

We are aware of the impending roll out of Google Glass and are in discussion with the Police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving.

In addition to this proactive stance, West Virginia state representative Gary G. Howell has introduced an amendment to the state’s law against texting while driving that would include bans against “using a wearable computer with head mounted display.” In an interview, Howell stated, “The primary thing is a safety concern, it (the glass headset) could project text or video into your field of vision. I think there’s a lot of potential for distraction.

Technology journal “CNET” reports that “In the past Google has offered that it doesn’t see Glassing and driving as dangerous…: ‘We actually believe there is tremendous potential (with Glass) to improve safety on our roads and reduce accidents. As always, feedback is welcome.'”

Several articles on this topic suggest that the general public and at least one car manufacturer (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/07/30/mercedes-benz-intergrating-google-glass-into-its-cars/) are looking forward to using Glass while driving.

PedestriansWith all the statistics on distracted driving collisions that come from holding a cell phone or checking email while driving, would the design of “Google Glass” make a significant difference in allowing drivers to navigate among pedestrians, cyclists, roundabouts, intersections and stop lights while checking stock tips?

Is the ability to record videos using Google Glass a redemptive quality in that the system could record, save and transmit collision videos directly to the claims unit of the driver’s insurance carrier? Is there an app for that?

Hmmm. What do you think about this device and it’s potential impact on safety?

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Spoliation of Evidence Following a Crash

EdiscoveryAlthough SafetyFirst has authored articles about spoliation over the past several years (Here) and (Here), this topic has been making the rounds of insurance carrier discussions lately. 

Spoliation of evidence is a fancy term for failing to safeguard information, documents, electronic data or other evidence that would (or could) be material to a lawsuit. 

For example, you are suing a manufacturer for a defective product that injured you.  They have “misplaced” or “lost” key quality control documents, inspection records and data on how the product had been tested to minimize those safety issues that might have prevented your injury.  You don’t know if they purposely destroyed the documents to cover up their own negligence or if they just made mistakes with their own document retention policy.  In court, a claim that they mis-handled the evidence, especially after becoming aware of your injury and/or lawsuit, could lead to serious consequences.  The judge could order any prospective jurors to assume the worst — that the missing evidence was damning to their case and would have proven our case that the injury was the fault of the defective product. 

In this recent article — Risk Managers: Spoliation Prevention has Insurance Underwriting Implications, too! (LINK) the author asserts that companies with strong record retention policies and well-defined filing programs can help build a strong defense when claims arise.  It’s better (in most cases) to argue the claim from a factual basis — knowing all of the relevant facts instead of trying to dispose of data (electronic or paper).

From the article:

Dollars are dollars, and they can balloon an account’s loss ratio if the company must spend an inordinate amount of money because it is unprepared for electronic discovery, or has spoliation of evidence issues posed against it. These dollars can balloon an account’s loss ratio which, in turn, may impact the availability and pricing of financial protection in the form of product liability insurance. [or other forms of liability insurance like Commercial Vehicle coverage, too]

The takeaway, therefore, is that companies with strong e-discovery, document- and evidence retention systems represent better risks. They have their proverbial “act together,” to put it in street lingo.

One way to do this is to strengthen the company’s document preservation and spoliation prevention systems and to be able to present a compelling case to insurance underwriters that the risk manager’s company is a sound risk for the underwriter and insurance company. Underwriters are the gatekeepers who determine whether or not a company represents an acceptable risk and at what price.

Thus, we can increasingly expect insurers to probe and ask about systems that facilitate efficient e-discovery, thwart spoliation and maximize retention of evidence.

This will be part of any insurance company’s due diligence process in assessing the fitness and desirability of an account for insurance placement or renewal. Questions about document preservation systems and e-discovery preparedness could be on the insurance application, could surface in pre-underwriting reviews, or arise during discussions with underwriters.

The very best defense against lawsuits is to avoid crashes and injuries in the first place.  Unfortunately, and despite everyone’s best intentions, crashes may occur.  In that event, preserving relevant data about the driver’s qualifications, regulatory compliance status, moving violations and crash history (among other things) may be critical to mounting an appropriate good faith defense. 

Check with your attorney, claims team, or insurance safety professional to learn more about how to protect your company’s specific interests.

Disclaimer:  SafetyFirst and the author of this article are not legal specialists or experts.  We are not attorneys and can not offer legal advice.  This article (or any associated/referenced articles by SafetyFirst and it’s staff) merely discusses a general topic and is not intended as specific advice on how to prepare for litigation or any other purpose.

Webinar: Motivating Drivers to Make Safer Decisions

Everest National Insurance, together with Aspen Risk Management Group hosted a webinar today (4/23/2013) on the topic “Motivating Drivers to Make Safer Decisions“.   SafetyFirst’s CEO, Paul Farrell, was the presenter.

The topic is timely and vital to fleet operations regardless of their native industry type or business model” says Farrell.  “We’ve learned over the past thirty years that ninety percent of commercial vehicle collisions are due to driver’s attitudes, actions, choices, beliefs and assumptions about risk taking while driving.  If drivers operate in violation of safety policies,   and we can diagnose why this is happening, we’re on the path to getting their cooperation and compliance.

Dan Lessnau, VP of Sales at SafetyFirst contributed this thought; “While technology can play a very important role in enhancing both vehicle and driver safety results, the human factor can’t be underestimated.  When managers make time to self-audit their current practices, evaluate their successes and apparent failures, they’re enabling themselves to define a solid benchmark to build upon.”

While many drivers do operate their vehicle in compliance with company policy and state traffic laws, some violate these guidelines for various reasons.  Noncompliance can lead to traffic violations and crashes with damaged vehicles, injuries or even fatalities.  These negative outcomes influence business results, BASIC measures (in regulated fleets) and even insurance premiums when rated on a past-loss basis.

Of those drivers who are consistently non-compliant with company driving policies, there are four distinct populations of drivers:

  1. Those who are genuinely unaware of the nature of the risk or the policy which is in place to address that issue. (aka Training/Education Issue)
  2. Motivating Drivers to be saferThose who are aware that there is some degree of risk and/or that there is a policy in place to address this type of behavior, but there is also a genuine misunderstanding about the nature of the risk (consequences) or what the policy is communicating. (aka Communications Issue)
  3. Those who understand the nature of the risk and the intent of the policy very clearly, but fail to comply out of conflicting expectations from their own management team (i.e. “Hypocritical Enforcement or a “goal alignment issue” where the actual rewards and benefits for violating the policy (i.e. pay, productivity, etc.) may be greater for non-compliance than for compliance.) (aka Goal Alignment)
  4. Those who understand the nature of the risk and intent of the policy, but simply choose to violate the policy by sheer willful decision.  (aka Performance Issue)

Diagnosing why non-compliant drivers are violating policy based on the model described above is the starting point to improving results.  Questions like the ones below could be used to help diagnose why some drivers may not have been aware of the policy, or didn’t understand the policy fully enough to comply on a consistent basis:

  • Are all drivers fully aware of our expectations for their performance?
  • How have we communicated these expectations?
  • How do we know that the message was received and understood?
  • Did we take a “once and done” approach or have we used thoughtfully repetitive messaging to reinforce the communication effort?
  • Have we evaluated the simplicity of the wording used since legal teams often interject very precise wording that may be difficult to understand?
  • Did we use illustrative examples to clarify how the policy would be applied in realistic scenarios?

Drivers who heard the policy and understood the expectation may require additional information to translate their understanding into positive action.  For instance, going the extra step to explain why the policy is needed, what goals are being sought through the policy and “what’s in it for me, the driver?” could provide motivation for some to voluntarily comply on a consistent basis.

Other concerns include how the message gets delivered.  Some old-line managers valueYou tell his mommy the melodramatic message to shock people and use emotion to motivate compliance.  This image and message accomplishes that goal, but this approach can be overused and become ineffective for several reasons.

First, a steady bombardment of this type of heavy handed messaging may make drivers feel like they are villains or make them angry if there is hypocritical enforcement (i.e. managers breaking the same rules with impunity).  Secondly, youthful drivers have been raised on a steady diet of “just say NO” messaging or “this is your brain on drugs” messaging and they have become increasingly calloused towards the approach.  “Our caution is to evaluate the types of messaging being used and take great care to avoid over reliance on one type or style.  A great variety of messaging mechanisms keeps the information fresh and attractive.” commented Farrell.

Goal Alignment, Mixed Signals, Crossed Purposes

That segment of drivers who understand fully, but don’t comply by choice may be doing so for a range of reasons.

First, we must recognize that from the driver’s own perspective, rules such as state traffic laws or company policy can seem like suggestions:

  • compliance isn’t monitored or enforced with consistency
  • the consequences for non-compliance are not feared (i.e. seen either as trivial or unlikely to occur)
  • bigger reward for non-compliance than for compliance undermines value of adhering to policies
  • “just don’t care” factor (personal liberty is more valuable that potential consequences of non-compliance)

The “just don’t care” factor can be best illustrated in light of Virginia Technical Transportation Institute and Insurance Information for Highway Safety studies showing:

  • Policethe difference in compliance between companies with cell phone bans versus no policy at all = %17 (neither complied very well)
  • no measurable difference in early results between those states with a cell phone ban versus those with a strong ban in place.
  • crashes rose slightly in those states with a ban versus those without.

Dealing with this segment of the driver population (understands policy, but rejects compliance) may boil down to monitoring and enforcement actions, which will be discussed in the final segment of the article.

Next we must open our eyes to operations teams who reward productivity through bonuses, stronger pay raises, or management praise while sending signals to drivers that speeding, using hand-held cell phones while driving and other risky practices are worth broken rules if it means more revenue.   If drivers believe that the possible rewards gained by breaking the rules outweigh the risk of the potential, but likely consequences, they’ll continue to violate the policies.  

Some drivers break the rules because the management team encourages them to do so — for instance, no one is to use their cell while driving “UNLESS” it is their boss on the line demanding to speak with the driver immediately.  This sort of hypocritical enforcement adds to confusion about compliance and how to apply directions given by the management team.

Time For A Change

Weeding out “hypocritical enforcement” (however subtle) and making sure that manager’s goals/expectations are properly aligned with policy statements isn’t always easy, but it does help everyone in the organization focus on a common goal.  While we’ve previously done whole webinars on goal alignment for fleet safety results, our focus today was on ways management teams could monitor driver performance and increase the accountability of both managers and drivers in regards to policy compliance.

Some parallels worth examiningWe believe this monitoring and enforcement effort actually begins with candidate screening practices (i.e. “setting up for success”).  Some organizations use screening tools such as DISC or other behavior/motivational/skills based testing to find “rules compliant” applicants.  Others use revised interview questions and tactics to evaluate a candidate’s attention to details, listening skills and so on.  This is also a good time to begin sending the messages that safety is important and valued within your organization.

Other monitoring and enforcement mechanisms were covered during the webinar and ranged from How’s My Driving hotlines to MVR profiles to identify drivers who may be at-risk of becoming involved in a collision or may have broken a local regulation.  Technology such as on-board recorders, GPS systems and even Camera-in-Cabin systems were introduced with their respective pros and cons.

The group had a special interest for cell phone enforcement technology, and incentive programs which might be used to help spur compliance.  We discussed the emerging technology solutions around cell phone control, including pitfalls and ways to defeat the systems.  We also discussed why incentive programs can start strong and end in ashes if not carefully managed each step of the way.

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Summary

Drivers need clear communication of expectations which are consistently reinforced by their own management team.  Simple rules, thoroughly monitored and fairly/evenly enforced using technology and administrative programs can make a vast difference in safety results obtained.   Motivating drivers to make safer decisions while behind the wheel is one of the cornerstones of a solid driver safety program.

Current SafetyFirst clients and their respective insurers will have access to the slides at our website shortly.  If you’re not currently affiliated with SafetyFirst and would like to discuss this topic or get a copy of the slides and support materials, please contact us at support (at) safetyfirst (dot) com (providing your contact information and how we can assist you) or call us toll free at 1-888-603-6987

SafetyFirst provides driver safety services to a network of more than 75 insurance providers and 3,800+ active fleet clients throughout North America.  Driver Education, Online Interactive Modules, Driver Coaching, Hotlines, GPS and more are available through our consultative team of transportation, insurance and IT specialists.

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