Backing incidents can account for up to half of all reportable fleet incidents. Virtually all backing collisions are preventable though. We drive in reverse only a fraction of the distance that we go in the forward direction yet it seems that backing in a serious problem in most fleets.
Is driver safety seen and acted on by senior management as a critical safety issue? Frequently we see lip service paid to driver safety, with strong statements of corporate commitment but an absence of meaningful action.
Earlier in my career, I was fortunate enough to have worked for a few organizational giants like NASA, TRW, and United Airlines. Within these organizations, I was exposed to the rigors of systems thinking, Total Quality Management (TQM), and the Baldrige Award efforts of the 1990s.
As we all become caught up in the business of life and perceived need to hurry, accomplish, arrive on time; and as we find ourselves powerless at times and disrespected at others, it is useful to stop and think, what might the Buddha do?
Awareness of everything around you when you are driving is critical to safety. Using your eyes effectively to look well ahead is important but mirror use is also critical to stay aware of what's going on to the rear.
Art Linkletter, the entertainer, said, “If you change your attitude you will change your life.” Wouldn’t it be nice if we always got our way with things? If things were as they SHOULD be? Unfortunately, the world usually doesn’t meet our expectations and we are left disappointed that people and things are not what they SHOULD be.
Good training is a key element, but only part of the puzzle for vehicle safety. Employers with vehicle fleets or employees who drive are aware (or should be) that the greatest probability of an injury incident is going to be vehicle or driving related.
When we survey drivers during our training courses, we regularly have over 90% of participants rating themselves as better than average drivers. You probably fall into this group too. It’s almost certainly true; most of the time at least.