Incentives for Safe Driving?

One of the most common search terms used in the past six months by fleet safety managers is “Driver Incentive Program”.  A recent article states;

Another traffic pic“There is little question that keeping company vehicle drivers, their passengers, and the public safe is the single most important responsibility a fleet manager has. From vehicle selection to specification to policy, safety should be a primary force in decision-making.”

“One method used by many companies to help make safety efforts successful is implementing a safe driving incentive program. Using various measurements, drivers whose safety records are exemplary are rewarded.”

“But if the basis for the program is merely “no accidents = cash,” the overall goal of achieving a safety culture among drivers won’t be met. Here are some tips to remember when you want your safety program to have maximum effectiveness.”

READ MORE? Click Here.

Additionally, a case study of particular note, titled “PAY INCENTIVES AND TRUCK DRIVER SAFETY: A CASE STUDY” conducted by the team of DANIEL A. RODRÍGUEZ, FELIPE TARGA, and MICHAEL H. BELZER was brought to my attention by a colleague.  The study summary states:

“This paper explores the safety consequences of increasing truck driver pay. The test case the authors examine involves a large over-the-road truckload firm that on February 25, 1997, raised wages an average of 39.1%. An analysis that controls for demographic and operational factors, including prior driving experience and experience acquired on the job, suggests that for drivers employed during the lower pay regime and retained in the higher pay regime, crash incidence fell. A higher pay rate also led to lower separation probability, but this indirect effect only translated into fewer crashes by increasing the retention of older, more experienced drivers. These findings suggest that human capital characteristics are important predictors of driver safety, but that motivational and incentive factors also are influential “

The study can be found by clicking HERE.

Finally, the FMCSA has previously published information designed to help pave the way forFMCSA Retention brief fleets who are struggling to reduce their UNSAFE DRIVER “BASIC” scores and want to examine incentives as part of that process.

http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/research-technology/tech/driver-retention-safety.pdf represents one of these FREE resources that many fleet managers are unaware exist.

Summary

Many fleets have worked with incentive programs and they either LOVE them or HATE them — the keys to success focus on simple issues:

  1. The drivers need to buy in to the program — if the incentives offered are unappealing, they won’t influence behavior
  2. Goals need to be reasonable and achievable.  If the drivers feel that the goals are unrealistic, they may give up before really trying to attain them
  3. Communication between management and drivers is very important — if the drivers don’t understand parts of the program, how it gets administered, or what they need to do, they can become very frustrated.  It’s also helpful to provide periodic feedback on progress to keep everyone encouraged and working towards a common goal.
  4. Keep it simple.  There is always a temptation to make things complicated.  Keeping the program as simple as possible makes it easier to communicate goals, methods and progress.  If something isn’t working well, it’s also easier to change things than when the program is highly complex.

The team at SafetyFirst may be able to help you further!  Give us a call to discuss our programs and resources. 1-888-603-6987

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AAAFTS “2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index”

Founded in 1947, the AAA Foundation in Washington, D.C. is a not-for-profit, publicly supported charitable research and education organization dedicated to saving lives by preventing traffic crashes and reducing injuries when crashes occur.

Since 2008, AAAFTS (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety) publishes a traffic safety culture index report based on surveys of motorists.  This provides us with a benchmark of where people’s minds are at regarding their perceptions of safety and how Public Safety Ads, enforcement campaigns and other methods are working.

The full report can be found at this link – https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/research_reports/Distracted%20and%20Risk%20Prone%20Drivers%20FINAL.pdf

This year’s report was titled “Distracted and Risk-Prone Drivers” since “…distracted driving remains a significant and high-profile traffic safety concern…”

Indeed, the opening of the report offers these interesting insights:

In the 2012 survey, more than two-thirds (68.9%) of licensed drivers* reported having talked on a cell phone while driving at least once within the previous 30 days, and nearly one-third (31.9%) said they had done so fairly often or regularly during this time.3 This is the case despite the fact that nearly nine-in-ten respondents (88.5%) said that drivers talking on cell phones were a somewhat or very serious threat to their safety.3  In August 2012, researchers at MIT published results from a study that found that drivers who frequently used cell phones behind the wheel were more likely than those who did so infrequently to report or be observed engaging in other risky behaviors, such as frequent lane changing, speeding, and hard acceleration.4 Based on the findings, the researchers suggested that cell phone use itself may not account for the entire crash risk increase associated with this behavior, and that drivers who used their phones were more likely to engage in a range of other relatively risky activities, as well.4

While, in the past we’ve used the phrase “at-risk” driver to mean a driver who is at higher than average risk of becoming involved in a collision (if their behavior/habits are not addressed), the AAAFTS report prefers to use the term “Risk Prone” driver.  Risk prone drivers engage in these types of behaviors (as defined by AAAFTS):

  • Driven 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway;
  • Driven 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street;
  • Read a text message or email while driving;
  • Typed or sent a text message or email while driving;
  • Driven without wearing a seatbelt;
  • Driven when so tired it was difficult to keep eyes open;
  • Driven through a light that had just turned red when it was possible to stop safely;
  • Checked social media while driving;
  • Used the internet while driving;
  • Talked on a cell phone while driving; and
  • Driven when BAC was close to or possibly over the legal limit.

What I find interesting is that these behaviors are quite serious and present situations far in excess of what is typically reported on a safety hotline program (giving you an earlier indicator to intervene before the situation gets even this far advanced).  In the AAAFTS survey, they asked drivers to self-report whether they engaged in these behaviors never, just once, rarely, fairly often, or regularly (within the past 30 days).

Their statements about risk prone drivers are interesting:

For all risky behaviors examined, respondents who reported a greater frequency of cell phone use while driving were more likely to report also having engaged in that behavior. For example, 65 percent of drivers who talked on a cell phone while driving fairly often or regularly within the past 30 days also reported driving 15 mph or more over the speed limit on a freeway at least once during this time. [emphasis added] In contrast, only 31 percent of drivers who reported never using a cell phone behind the wheel admitted to such speeding (Figure A).  This pattern was consistent across all behaviors. Nearly half (47%) of drivers who regularly talked on their phones also ran a red light, compared to just 25 percent of drivers who never used their phones (Figure B). Likewise, 44 percent of frequent cell phone users also admitted to drowsy driving, whereas only 14 percent of those who reported not talking on their phones while driving did so (Figure C).

What remains unclear is whether there’s a causal effect between using cell phones and engaging in other “at-risk” or “risk-prone” behaviors or if it is coincidence.  Regardless, its still best policy to discourage use of cells while driving, encourage proper driving tactics and monitor driver behavior with a view towards coaching to modify behaviors.

What are you doing in your fleet to monitor your driver’s “at-risk” behaviors and intervene compassionately to prevent collisions?

If you’re looking for a more pro-active approach, consider safety hotlines to get motorist observation reports on egregious risk taking behaviors — when coupled with coaching and training it has been shown to reduce collision rates by 10-30% and it requires far less data analysis than most telematic or video based systems which can be onerous for safety metrics (data overload leading to difficulty separating the urgently actionable from the background noise of data buzz).

MVRs as a Lifespan Predictor?

 Recently, LexisNexis and RGA Reinsurance Company completed a study of more than 7.4 million motor vehicle records (MVRs).  Among other observations, they found that:

  • Individuals with major violations, such as alcohol-related infractions and excess speeding, have all-cause mortality that is 70 percent higher than individuals who do not.
  • The presence of six or more driving violations on an MVR elevates an individual’s all-cause mortality by 80 percent.
  • Individuals with a high number of major driving violations represent the worst risks.

Interestingly this study was conducted to gain insights into how to more accurately gauge the right price for life insurance, and how to do so more efficiently than using current, conventional practices.  From their study:

For instance, a 45-year old male seeking a $250,000 policy may not appear to live a risky lifestyle and, based on medical and financial reports, may even qualify as a preferred risk. Yet, according to our research, men between the ages of 41-50 with multiple major violations on their MVRs have an all-mortality rate that is nearly twice that of a driver with a clean record. Based on this study, MVRs are a suitable indicator of all-cause mortality, and they offer positive protective value for all ages and genders.

How did we get here?

The study cross tabulated 7.4 million MVRs with 73,000 death reports from the Social Security Death Master File (SSDMF) and then normalized the data to compensate for potential under-reporting of deaths in the SSDMF.

Individuals were distinguished based on whether they had clean records, minor violations or major violations on their MVRs. To avoid bias, major violations were pre-defined by RGA, and include infractions such as alcohol- or substance related infractions, excess speeding, and reckless or negligent driving.

The study examined the relationship between all-cause mortality and MVRs according to three segmentations:

  • Results by MVR severity (On average, having a major violation elevated an individual’s all-cause mortality by 71 percent.)
  • Results by number of violations (It was found that the more violations on an individual’s MVR, the higher their relative mortality ratio. In particular, individuals with 2–5 violations  experienced 24 percent higher mortality, and those with six or more violations experienced 79 percent higher mortality ratios)
  • Results by number of major violations (Results showed that individuals with a high number of major driving violations represent the worst risks. Having just one major violation on an MVR elevates an individual’s all-cause mortality by 51 percent; with four or more violations, their mortality is more than twice that of individuals without major violations.)

 Can we project any further (if generalized and speculative) conclusions?

  • If MVR violation history is such an indicator of mortality, then would MVR data have a relationship to health care costs or the likelihood of being injured on or off of the job? 
  • Would Usage Based Insurance (using electronic reporting devices linked to your car or truck) be of similar value to rating your life insurance policy or helping you improve your healthcare deductible?
  • What’s the net effect of changing your behaviors through driver education and performance monitoring (i.e. use of UBI devices to modify your habits in order to obtain a lower rate on your car insurance – would this translate to leading a longer life than if you had not modified your lifestyle?)

If you’d like to review the source white paper, visit: http://lexisnexis.com/risk/downloads/whitepaper/MVR-mortality.pdf

If you’d like to learn more about our proprietary blended risk scoring that incorporates multiple data sources (i.e. MVR data from states/provinces; telematics; collision data; Motorist Observation Reports, et.al.) give us a call or send us an email!

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.

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!

Recruiting Strategies

Effective recruiting is all about information management. If you’re serious about improving your recruiting results, you need to start by consistently tracking information about your efforts, tactics, sources, and candidates. If you haven’t tracked your efforts and the results of those efforts you’ll have a hard time getting approval for any changes in strategy or increases in budgets.

How have you been tracking the results of your recruiting efforts?  We have some ideas you may want to consider:

  • At a minimum, maintain a written record of where or how each applicant first heard about the job opening (regardless of whether you hire them). If most applicants heard about the job through a certain source, expand your use of that source.
  • Preferably, you’ll develop a database (or spreadsheet) to track this information over the period of months or years in order to verify the return on investment in your advertising dollars. This can help justify expanding your budget and experimenting with more expensive options like radio or other “big budget” approaches. (Of course, you could also start using our “E-Driver File” program which has a complete recruiting module built in!)
  • Periodically review the applications of those you hired versus those who did not qualify. What were some of the reasons that you passed on certain driver candidates and followed through on others? It may not seem important, but over time you’ll discover specifics that:
    • enable you to save a lot of time when weeding out candidates that you’d never consider, AND 
    • improve your advertising to slow the flow of unqualified candidates.

Are you tracking past candidates that were not qualified?

  • Tracking candidates that were unqualified in the past may provide a rich resource of candidates that may become qualified within a year or two. This is a long term approach that assumes some candidates may be ready to join your firm at a later date if their MVR records improve, or their age or total years of driving experience will later match your minimum safety criteria. 
  • It takes work to keep in touch with these candidates (they may move around and change their contact information, etc.), but it may help you out when you’re in a pinch. Postcards, emails, simple newsletters about your company’s continued success and growth may entice the candidates to keep in touch with you.

Are you networking with other recruiting, HR, or safety managers outside of your company? 

  • Casual contact with other recruiters, if professionally handled, may turn up rejected candidates that don’t meet their standards, but could work for your team with a little re-training, coaching and probation status, etc.
  • While drivers may trade from one company to another, so do other employees. Hiring a recruiter from another company may bring a fresh approach to recruiting that can jump start your efforts (be aware that some recruiters may have employment contracts that do not permit them to bring their contact list along, and it could be considered stealing company property if they did).

While recruiting traditionally consists of sourcing candidates AND qualification of potential employees and the “on boarding” process, we’ll focus our attention on sourcing strategies.

Sourcing, or attracting potential candidates to your company, typically includes:

  1. Advertising by way of multiple media, such as the Internet, general newspapers, job ad newspapers, professional publications, window advertisements, job centers, and campus graduate recruitment programs; and
  2. Recruiting research, which is the proactive identification of driver candidates who may not respond to job postings and other recruitment advertising methods mentioned above. This research results in a list of prospects who can then be contacted to: solicit their interest in a position at your company; obtain a resume; and get them into the qualification process.

 What advertising have you done in the past and what are you doing now?

  • General Newspaper Ads – How are these worded?
    • Besides telling job seekers that you’d like to consider them for employment, your ad should “sell” the job and the company. Give the job seeker a valuable reason to investigate your company. Identify three things that your current drivers see as strong positives for working at your firm – use these in your advertising. 
    • How do you describe the position, the compensation, and the benefits? Is it easy to understand, or more “code-speak” that blends into all the other job ads on that page?
  • Job listing newspapers – Where are these papers placed for distribution? They may not attract CDL drivers if they are placed in grocery stores, but they may work if they are placed in truck stops. Work with the publication sales team to assure that your ad is being placed in the right community of job seekers whose qualifications and interests will be a match for your opening. 
  • Journal ads – driver magazines, trucking magazines and other print media that target drivers or may be read by drivers could be a useful place to announce your intention to hire the best candidates for your team. Specialty magazines that appeal to sportsmen, outdoor activities, and hobbies may be an unusual, but productive, place for your ad if the activities covered in the magazine relate to the activities of an ideal candidate. For example, a firm looking to hire security guards might advertise in a gun magazine to attract candidates that might not otherwise be looking for a job because they are happy where they are right now. 
  • Radio spots – are you working with the radio sales team to tailor your message and make it sound really appealing? It may cost more to hire professional talent to make your spot, but skimping makes the ad ineffective and makes your company seem weak. Picking the right stations and time slots makes a big difference. Ask lots of questions before you sign a contract and try to negotiate for rebates on future advertising based on results. 
  • Job fairs – the organizers of job fairs want you to find candidates so you’ll come back again. They are your ally so use their knowledge to get prepared in advance of a fair. Talk to the organizers about your company’s needs – if they are professionals, they will help you design a short list of questions to cut through unqualified candidates, and the organizer should be willing and able to help steer candidates to your table.
    • Advance advertising about the fair should mention that CDL candidates are sought, and you should negotiate with the organizer to see if there are any rebates, refunds or discounts off of future fairs if you’re unable to get quality candidates during the event. 
    • If you do attend a job fair, take a driver with you so that he or she can relate what a typical day or week is like, how the company operates, etc. Having a current driver (or driver trainer) attend adds credibility and helps candidates form a best possible impression of your firm. 
  • Online recruiting services (specialized for drivers, or generic services like “monster”) – test drive the system as a job seeker before spending any money to register as an employer. If the system is difficult to use or steers candidates towards companies with large advertising banners, your company will be unlikely to draw many candidates from the site. Talk among current drivers to see what sites they like (and why they like each site that they mention).

Take time to call and talk to the people who run the recruiting service. Ask for their advice and ask about success rates for other companies. They are supposed to be experts at what they do – if they are hesitant to share information with you before signing up, you’ll have to wonder whether they’ll be much help after you send them a check.

  • Does your own web site have an application form or a way to solicit driver candidates? Adding a “careers” page is simple and including an online application or “follow up form” can be far less expensive than other advertising methods. It may not draw as many candidates, but not  adding these features simply limit potential candidates from reaching you. 
  • Novel approaches are limited to your creativity (and budget). Maybe you can afford to host a “toll free joke of the day hotline” that starts with a recruiting message for your company. Maybe you could set up a recruiting table at a local truck stop once a month and give out decent quality pens with your recruiting hotline inscribed on the pen. Perhaps you can distribute custom labeled candy bars that encourage drivers to call your recruiting hotline. There’s no limit to the ways you can call attention to your company (but there may be a limit to your budget so plan these “events” carefully and track results!)

Are you actively reaching out to drivers and applicants to get additional names of drivers?

Recruiting research involves actively reaching out to get potential candidate names (it is sometime mockingly called “head hunting”).

It takes a little more work but is essentially free and may get you better job candidates than advertising. After all, the most qualified driver isn’t typically in a job search mode – they’re happy where they are or figure that changing jobs isn’t worth the hassle of re-qualifying.

If you want great candidates, you’re going to have to go chase them down, tackle them and drag them to your company!

Here are some ideas of ways to identify candidates:

  • Start by asking each applicant to list 3-5 names (and contact information) of other drivers that they know and respect as “good drivers”. If they supply only one name and a way to get in touch with that driver, it’s one additional lead for your job opening. Call or email that driver immediately and follow up with them until they say yes or no to sending you a completed application or resume.
  • Ask your current drivers if they have buddies that they’d recommend coming to work for your company. You won’t know how many will provide names until you ask them several times. 
  • If you feel the need to offer a “recruiting bonus” or “reward” to drivers who give you contact names, split the bonus into two parts – one paid after a face to face interview is completed and the second half after the applicant has been qualified and accepted a job. Pay for performance, not promises – after all, your current driver is doing their friend a favor to “get them into” your company and shouldn’t need a reward from you for making an introduction unless it leads to a placement. 
  • Calling ex-employees who voluntarily departed (ie. not terminated for cause) may turn up prospects for re-employment. The follow up shows you miss them and wish they had stayed at your firm. If they are not happy where they ended up, they may come back. This process can take weeks, months and even years, but it’s worth it since your firm will always need “solid” drivers that they can count on. (and these discussions may help you with your “retention” issues at the same time!!!)

As pointed out earlier, the recruiting effort will succeed if you track your information very well. ANY name you receive should be tracked since their qualifications, age, and experience will continue to change over time. Someone that was not a good candidate three years ago may be perfect for you at this time.

Other proactive recruiting research approaches include: 

  • Contingency Recruiters – in a pinch you may consider hiring an outside consultant to get you the talent you need. They only get paid if they deliver a qualified candidate who actually takes the job, but the fee is often a percentage of the first year’s wages (which may be a lot to gamble if the driver leaves within the first six months on the job).
  • Retained Recruiter Agencies – an often expensive option where you place an agency on retainer to actively recruit long-tenured drivers away from their current positions. Typically these drivers are happy with their current job but may move if there is sufficient cause to switch (i.e. better routes, better equipment, etc.)

These tips and ideas represent only a fraction of what can be done.  We don’t claim to have “all the answers”, but because our client network is so proactive they share ideas back and forth.  You could benefit from being a part of that network, or simply work with your current vendors who merely send you another invoice each year.

NEXT – We’ll list some comments, tips and suggestions we’ve already received from our network of more than 3,800 clients.  Add your positive comments, too.

LATER – We’ll discuss Retention Strategies and how they’re related to success in recruiting.

If you’re serious about helping your drivers stay crash-free, ticket-free, and productive, you should check out our programs and services — had to say it, we need to recruit new clients, too

Exceeding the Speed Limit

Sometimes it seems like “exceeding the posted speed limit” doesn’t get as much attention as other safety issues like drunk driving or “texting” on a cell phone while driving, but it is just as lethal.  According to National Safety Council; “Exceeding the posted speed limit or driving at an unsafe speed was the most common error in fatal accidents.” (http://www.nsc.org/safety_road/DriverSafety/Pages/Speeding.aspx)

Speeding is the most commonly cited factor in deaths from collisions where there was some form of “improper driving” assessed by the team investigating and reporting the crash.  This is also confirmed in the most recent Large Truck Crash Causation Study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/LTCO2009/LTCO2009.aspx):  “The top two driver-related factors for large trucks and passenger vehicles in fatal crashes were the same: driving too fast…and failure to keep in proper lane.”

Interestingly, only 12% of fatal crashes where speeding was the principal factor occurred on interstate highways – speeding in your home town, going 45 in a 25 zone, etc. were more likely to lead to a fatality than exceeding the limit on a limited access highway.  This is likely due to many factors:  the relative absence of pedestrians and bicycles on highways; the road design of rural highways and county roads; sharper curves, poor illumination and oncoming traffic that is not separated by a barrier or median strip.

Speed increases the potential of having a crash for two specific reasons:

  1. As a vehicle travels faster, more time is needed to safely complete any turn, swerve or stop.  (You need more time)
  2. Additionally, greater speed significantly reduces the time available to view and judge the situation, and decide what action to take. (You have less time)

Speeding also raises the chances of severe injuries or death during the crash.  The amount of energy that is released at the moment of impact is directly related to your vehicle’s speed.  Speeding increases the crash energy by the square of the speeds involved. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “when impact speed increases from 40 to 60 mph (a 50 percent increase), the energy that needs to be managed increases by 125 percent.” (http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/speed_limits.html)

Simply put, the faster you go, your injuries will be more extensive and the more likely it becomes that seatbelts, airbags, antilock brakes, traction control systems or other safety devices will not be effective enough to save your life.

There are other consequences to speeding that can affect drivers, too.  Most states add extra penalties (points, fines) for speeding violations that are more than 15 miles per hour above the posted limit.   

This type of violation (excessive speed) is perceived as a major violation by most employers and insurance carriers and could affect future employment prospects or increases in personal insurance costs.

If you need additional information about speeding, this month’s SafetyFirst Ten-Minute Training Topic covered this in more detail.  Also, you can check out NHTSA’s tool box on speeding — http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/speed/toolkit/  This offers materials in both English and Spanish and it’s a free resource!