Countermeasures to reduce vehicle crashes
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event.
Common causes of driver inattention that lead to accidents include:
- Dialing, talking, or listening on a cell phone (the leading distraction).
- Reaching for a moving object.
- Looking away from the forward roadway, even if for only a brief time.
- Drowsiness, which increases the risk of a crash by at least a factor of four.
Your organization can help reduce the risk of accidents by:
- Establishing clear, comprehensive, and enforceable safe driving policies and holding employees accountable.
- Asking employees to sign an agreement that acknowledges their understanding of policies regarding driver performance, vehicle maintenance, and reporting of moving violations.
- Creating a safe driving culture by posting policies throughout your building, distributing copies periodically, and discussing at staff meetings.
- Offering incentives for sticking to the rules and pointing out the consequences of disregarding them.
- Actively encouraging employee involvement at all levels.
- Periodically testing drivers to validate safe driving practices.
- Obtaining Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) and criminal background checks on all drivers.
- Prohibiting cell phone use when operating a vehicle. If the phone must be used, require the driver to stop the vehicle.
- Adding additional adult supervision when transporting children.
- Reviewing all crashes to determine the cause and future preventive measures.
In addition to the above policies, address the following points with drivers:
- Control speed by driving 5 mph below the speed limit.
- Reinforce a zero tolerance for speeding violations.
- Avoid the far right and left lanes except when preparing to turn; drive in the center lane as much as possible.
- Always maintain the appropriate following distance for the weight and size of the vehicle. Three to four seconds behind the next vehicle is recommended. • Assume other drivers will make errors.
- Scan ahead to be ready to adjust speed, position, direction, and attention to maneuver safely if a hazard develops.
- Look frequently to the side and rear for passing or approaching vehicles before changing speed, lanes, or direction.
Read more about this study and other safe driving information at www.nhtsa.gov.
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