A three-day ‘Bronze Advanced Driving Course’ for a Fortune-100 corporation in Texas, last week, turned up an excellent variety of roads and circumstances to help us discuss many of the 300-plus safety topics we cover at Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA], in our enhanced-safety curriculum for corporate and professional drivers.
All of the safety topics touched upon in this post are things which we discuss in detail with existing and prospective clients, initially in respect of fourteen key areas and later in much greater detail.
Pedestrian safety — along with the well-being of all other “vulnerable road users” [VRU] — always features strongly in our various courses, not only because at present a grossly-excessive 6,000 pedestrians are being killed each year on the roads of the USA, often due in part to inadequate safety facilities, but also because as with any at-fault crash, a corporate driver hitting and killing or badly injuring a pedestrian can result in a lawsuit and major financial losses for the corporation, especially if drivers have not been adequately trained for safety.
One of the most important features in any driver safety training regime is, of course, the depth of training of its instructors. This is something we take very seriously indeed at Advanced Drivers of North America, although we know of competitors who train their instructors for only five days, or even just two days, and that’s from scratch — people who up until that point know nothing about truly safe driving other than what they learned while taking their own driving test, often decades previously.
At ADoNA, even our most experienced instructors are never allowed to guess what the answer to any question might be. Everything we do is research-based whenever that is possible, and failing that it is a combination of global best practices blended appropriately with U.S. safety culture. Neither of those features work well in isolation.
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Back in 2003, Volvo built their utterly remarkable Safety Concept Car [SCC] as a test bed for a huge range of new safety technologies they were then testing, with a view to introducing the most effective and worthwhile into their production cars. The SCC was demonstrated to the automotive media in the USA on just two days — one on the west coast and one on the east coast — and through our not-for-profit organisation, Drive and Stay Alive, I had the good fortune to be invited to attend the east coast day in Manhattan, to drive it.
In just the 15 years since then, we have gone from talking primarily just about increased safety to a now almost out-of-control rush to have self-driving vehicles before even the semi-autonomous prototypes can be shown to increase rather than decrease safety.
In 2007, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published an excellent book which since then has been one of our key “go to” resources for valuable guidelines. Its title was: Improving Traffic Safety Culture in the United States — The Journey Forward [See footnote for a relevant excerpt].
There can be no doubt that geographical, political, socio-economic and — importantly — workplace aspects of culture have a major influence on road safety, and this can be seen not only from one country to another but often from region to region within a country.
Equally, there can be no doubt that traffic safety interventions which fail to consider and adapt to relevant aspects of local cultures are commonly doomed to failure.
Most of our requests for the provision of safety training for drivers, whether at defensive or advanced driving levels, relate to city locations throughout the USA and Canada. This short article is intended to provide some guidance for our corporate clients on how to get the best return from your investment in connection with city-based courses.
The photographs in this article were taken around a Bronze Advanced Driving course, with Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA], in south east Massachusetts. They each show typical driving scenes but give only a very small insight into the discussions about the standards of the observations that are essential to effective driver training and to all safe driving.
Every time you drive past one or more parked vehicles there are nine common safety indicators that should be monitored so that you never end up being involved in a distressing collision that could easily have been avoided. The worst of these involve children being run over.
According to Bloomberg News: “Roadway accidents are the leading cause of on-the-job deaths in the USA, but the safety issue remains outside the jurisdiction of the nation’s primary workplace safety agency — the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA].”
A particularly worrying aspect of this situation is that between 2011-2015 the number of work-related highway deaths in America increased by 15%, which was five times more than the upturn in the overall number of occupational fatalities (3%), according to Bureau of Labor [BLS] statistics.
During 2015 (i.e. the latest available statistics), according to federal figures, 1,264 workers died in highway crashes. That represents 26 percent of the year’s total work-related deaths of 4,836, and it is therefore the most common cause of worker fatalities.
One thing which is not made clear in the official figures is whether they include or exclude highway deaths which occur while the people concerned are actually commuting to or from work, which — although a very secondary concern to the tragic bereavements — still has financially very damaging overtones for the employers concerned. However, judging the above figures against those from other developed nations, it is our opinion at Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA] that commuting deaths are definitely not included in the current U.S. data and that in this context the “real” number of deaths is very significantly higher than stated.
In our driver safety training for Fortune 500 client-companies, our training has produced multi-year reductions of 50 percent in fleet crashes and over 80 percent in injuries (based on National Safety Council collision type analysis). If you would like us to work with your team, with the objective of creating very significant collision reductions, please get in touch via our Courses page.