Preventing large truck crashes has been and always will be a topic of discussion motor carriers have with their drivers. Large truck crashes cost the transportation industry approximately $135 billion annually, according to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Rear-end crashes, in particular, have a high risk of causing catastrophic losses. The FMCSA’s study identified four driver-related factors associated with large truck crashes; these can also be factors in rear-end crashes. Read about each factor below and discuss them with your drivers to help re-emphasize your commitment to preventing rear-end crashes.
Non-performance factors include a driver falling asleep at the wheel or having a physical impairment (e.g., heart attack) that contributes to a crash. Educating drivers on the signs of health-related issues and encouraging health screenings are good conversation starting points. Other talking points can include:
- If sleeping is problematic, is the driver willing to participate in an employer-paid sleep study?
- If obesity is an issue, is the driver willing to participate in employer-sponsored weight loss activities?
Recognition factors include driver inattention, driving while distracted, or failing to observe a driving situation adequately for some other reason. Motor carriers can train drivers on the dangers of distracted driving and monitor Safety Measurement System (SMS) results for similar violations. Talking points to consider include:
- What is the driver doing with mobile devices before/while driving?
- Is the driver engaging in other activities, like eating or drinking, while driving?
Decision factors include driving too fast for conditions, misjudging the speed of other vehicles, or following other vehicles too closely. SMS and the truck’s electronic control module can identify when a driver has been speeding, braking too hard, or making unsafe driving decisions. Talking points to consider include:
- Why did the driver choose to speed or drive too fast for conditions?
- What technique is the driver using to determine proper following distance?
Performance factors relate to the driver’s reaction to a hazard, including panicking, overcompensating, or exercising poor directional control of the vehicle. Road testing drivers is an effective way to gauge a driver’s skills. After the road test, some talking points to consider include:
- Why did the driver react (correctly or incorrectly) to specific hazards in the road test?
- What hazards should the driver look for at certain locations (e.g., intersections, customer sites, etc.)?
CALL TO ACTION
- Evaluate each driver’s motor vehicle record, SMS results, etc., to identify risky behaviors that lead to rear-end crashes.
- Train all drivers on rear-end crash prevention.
- Utilize a Road Test Evaluation form and road test all drivers as an annual review.
Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.
The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.
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