A Guide to Determining Preventability of Accidents

The first step in reviewing the accident is to determine if the driver involved adhered to the Defensive Driving Code.  That is, did the driver “drive in such a way to commit no errors himself/herself, and so controlled the vehicle as to make due allowance for conditions of road, weather and traffic, and to assure that mistakes of other drivers did not involve him/her in an accident”?  It is important to remember that police action in issuing citations for an accident is not a factor in determining whether a driver could have prevented an accident from occurring.

Despite the fact each accident must be judged individually, experience in fleet safety over years has shown that certain types are generally non-preventable on the part of the professional truck driver and certain others, in absence of extenuating circumstances, could have been prevented by defensive driving.  The types of accidents listed below cannot cover every accident that may occur, but they are intended to provide guidance in determining the eligibility of drivers for safe driving awards.

Non-Preventable Accidents

  • Struck in Rear by Other Vehicle

Non-Preventable if:

Driver’s vehicle was legally and properly parked;

Driver was proceeding in his/her own lane of traffic at a safe and lawful speed;

Driver was stopped in traffic due to existing conditions or was stopped in compliance with traffic sign or signal or the directions of a police officer or other person legitimately controlling traffic;

Driver was in proper lane waiting to make turn.

  • Struck While Parked

Non-Preventable if:

Driver was properly parked in a location where parking was permitted;

Vehicle was protected by emergency warning devices as required by DOT and state regulations or if driver was in process of setting out or retrieving signals.  These provisions shall apply to the use of turn signals as emergency warning lights under DOT regulations.

Preventable Accidents

  • Accidents at Intersections

                Preventable if:

Driver failed to control speed to stop within available sight distance;

Driver failed to check cross-traffic and wait for it to clear before entering intersection;

Driver pulled out from side street in the face of oncoming traffic;

Driver collided with person, vehicle or object while making right or left turn;

Driver collided with vehicle making turn in front of him/her.

  • Striking Other Vehicle in Rear

Preventable if:

Driver failed to maintain safe following distance and to have the vehicle under control;

Driver failed to keep track of traffic conditions and note slowdown;

Driver failed to ascertain whether vehicle ahead was moving slowly, stopped or slowing down for any reason;

Driver misjudged rate of overtaking;

Driver came too close before pulling out to pass;

Driver failed to wait for car ahead to move into the clear before starting up;

Driver failed to leave sufficient room for passing vehicle to get safely back in line.

For our members, refer to the entire “Guide to Determining Preventability of Accidents” found in the “Safety Award Program”

If you like what you are reading please visit http://www.professionalsafetyconsulting.com


The Positive Touch (Shove, if necessary)

Are you waiting for something to happen? As hesitant as I am in asking that question, I believe it’s true, in a lot of cases. We’re people, we MAKE things happen, and some aren’t waiting. Regardless of whether this is the “new economy” or that it might come back (to something) we have to continue to make things happen, and in fact, accelerate. Today would be the best time to do it. But you probably can’t do it alone. You need good, honest, thinking people.

The Point? Go for the objective – push everything else out of the way…
If you have a very tight group of people, all of whom know the objective and all work together to reach that objective, you are probably very successful. They must be relentless in their efforts to search out the necessary knowledge. Then, and only then, will those efforts pay off. There’s no room for ignorance; everyone must understand the process and the job at hand. There are so many people who don’t grasp what is really going on, when it comes to getting things done – and done right. What we attempt to accomplish can get mired down with ignorance to the point that the majority not only makes erratic decisions, but goes down the wrong road completely; in the opposite direction! It’s true! It’s asinine! And it wastes precious time. In this type of situation, ignorance triumphs over intelligence. Entirely unqualified opinion is accepted on equal footing with knowledge. This can occur in large or small groups. It depends upon the people in those groups and the leadership (power is best left in the hands of those who don’t need or want it). The right people insist on getting the right information. Anything less is disinterest or laziness in getting the right information necessary to make knowledgeable decisions. And that’s pathetic. Such an organization needs a transfusion, new leadership and a lot more knowledge.

Making something happen…
Many years ago, we formed a small group of experienced industry people for the purpose of developing a cost effective platform for the training, education and elevation of truck drivers. Why elevation? Personal success; which is recognized because of the effort necessary to attain higher learning, and, vast improvement due to the acquired knowledge. This, along with practical application, continuing education and elevation translates to retention; in fact, it retains the best, most qualified drivers and other employees. The initial plan was to include entry-level training, practical application (OJT), continuing education and eventual specialized training in one of many other facets of the business. This endeavor was successful only in the earliest stage because it eventually got “mired down”. However, I used as much of the original content as I could get approved in our own operation. The result was a very strong sense of pride and accomplishment, throughout the organization. The payoff was enormous including dramatically increased retention, huge cost savings, reduced losses of all types and the list goes on. Long story short, we enjoyed a LOT of success. In this business, today’s industry answer is CSA2010 – that’s enforcement. I’m not saying I’m opposed, if that’s the only way to overcome some of the ignorance. I’m talking about going well beyond these basics. True in any business.
Retention – Keep your good insureds or customers…
I recently changed insurance agents, because I haven’t seen or heard from them in many years. I don’t even remember what they look like. Not that they did anything wrong, they just didn’t do anything. When I had a question, I called them and they usually gave me a plausible answer. I said “usually” because, occasionally, my questions were answered with “I think” and were never taken further, to positive (and correct) answers. I didn’t change for cheaper rates, and I didn’t get any. We’re people and we’re still the same as we’ve always been. Yes, through technology, we now have more tools than ever, but new, faster computers, software, e-mails and the like simply do not take the place of getting things done. But they can assist you. And customer service? What do think about that subject? Don’t look to the tech producers for that! And many others are guilty of poor customer service too. What an opportunity for those who strive to do their best! I do use new technology, a lot. I use anything that will assist me in achieving my objective. Customer service has always been the focus. But it does take constant change to continually reach that goal. We need to stay abreast of everything, including our customers’ customers and be standing there, ready, when the forgone conclusion comes to light. And that changes. To win, you have to look well beyond your competitors. Your customers are looking for something.

Deliver it.


CSA 2010 – Proven Experience vs. “techno-geek”

Despite the fact that computer software and computers themselves are still not particularly “user friendly” and have WAY too many “glitches”, they have been a tremendous help to our businesses. However, we have to spend so much time (and money for assistance) in the programs themselves that we have far less time to work on our businesses. The “gurus” know how to make computers and software work, at least to their advantage. Case in point: There are many “computer geeks” out there who have developed upscale websites and computer programs (with aggressive marketing) who try to sell these programs to our industry while claiming to be “experts” in trucking and transportation in general. Example: Do you really need another method, such as a “report card” or other means to find out where you might be placed in your “safety performance” with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration? You already have that information, FREE! Do you really need more information that is also free, regarding CSA2010? You can pay big bucks to buy the information from several vendors. Ours is free.

What Everyone Needs To Know Is This: How do I actually IMPROVE my company’s Safety Performance. CSA2010 is all about the FMCSA’s method to track motor carriers’ Safety Performance and to intervene when a carrier’s performance shows a score high on the percentile chart. Carriers will have no trouble knowing where they are in the percentile rankings but where’s the help? The intervention process will require a “cooperative safety plan”, only AFTER a carrier is shown to be deficient in its safety performance in a given BASIC.

A company’s safety performance (and a driver’s performance) will be available to you, your insurance company, your customers, etc., with permission, but this information alone will not be of any assistance, rather it is just to inform you, or your insurance company (or anyone else, such as a paying customer) that you need to DO SOMETHING to improve your safety performance.
The Question Is This: what are you doing and what are you going to do?

Here the starting point, and we have lot more. Carriers must get everyone in their respective companies involved. This is not just about Safety Directors and Drivers. Top management, dispatchers and everyone else in the company must fully understand that their job tasks directly affect the company’s total “Safety Performance”, which will also affect the company’s marketability and ultimately affect its bottom line profit.

We have found that many insurers are willing to help the motor carriers they insure, but are wisely not interested in providing additional products or services that are redundant or have little or no affect on actual performance and profitability of the company they insure. That’s another reason why we built, and constantly add to, our own website. We show our members “how” to get those necessary things done.

Don’t wait until the CSA2010 implementation dates roll around because the data is already being collected. We are the REAL experts and we have been here, assisting motor carriers and their insurance companies for just about 25 years. And we don’t charge exorbitant rates for our services. We will continue to give you lots of good information, FREE and additional information and services at a fair price.

CSA 2010 “Death Sentence or Pot of Gold?”

Throw out everything you’re hearing from the self appointed professional speculators because that’s exactly what’s flooded our media channels and inboxes. Speculation. Assumption. Opinion. FACT: Whether you like, love it, hate it, don’t understand it, don’t want to understand it or plan on putting your head in the sand, CSA 2010 is here; in a BIG way. In a Good Way.

Before: What You Don’t Know, You Don’t Know.
NOW: What You Don’t Know, Will Hurt You and May Kill Your Business.
One thing hasn’t changed. You are still responsible and held accountable for your company. Has this ever been a bad thing? Do we really need reminded?
There are (2) types of business owners, those “reactive” and those “pro-active”.
The businesses clutching desperately onto what they have left, waiting to see “how this thing fairs out”, are already dead. They just don’t realize it, yet.  There’s “speculation” on horrific and terrifying statistics, such as how many people will be adversely affected, further job losses in an already shorthanded field. (etc.)
To some, CSA 2010 is a Blessing in Disguise. It’s the New Paradigm for The New Trucker. The old way of doing business and perceptions of safety being plagued by “big brother” are now grossly overshadowed with a bright, fresh, new systematized way of doing things the way they should have, and always have been (by some), done. This “new way” garners Efficiency, Accountability and Performance. It’s straight forward and results driven.
Ethical, hard working, quality driven businesses should find comfort in CSA 2010. The focus, if clarity has been attained, is, without doubt, “Pro-Active Implementation and Profitability”. To ignore CSA 2010’s opportunity for profitability is naïve and businesses WILL suffer. This will also make more room for rapid growth among a percentage of savvy, growth hungry and “pro-active” company owners.

So what’s the good news?
It’s as Easy as 1,2,3.
Even though there are a plethora of resources out there, who realistically has time to sit in on another webinar or teleseminar? Times waits for no one. We’re trying to navigate through rough waters and the coast guard wants to talk. Right.  These are ok resources, most of which regurgitate what the feds have already put out there for the taking. And, it should be noted, they did a pretty damn good job at it, which is making it difficult for all those “copy and paste” happy folks out there that want to turn lemons into lemonade and cram the full version back down your throat.
So, here’s your options to getting an edge on the competition and not viewing CSA as another “compliance woe is me”, rather a new, and time deserving business strategy, that when implemented efficiently and rapidly, will not only produce enhanced levels of safety, but without a doubt, rapid profitability in multiple streams of direly needed revenue.

“Step-by-Step to ProACTIVE Implementation & Profitability”

1. Update Your MCS-150 Form
2. Check Your Inspections & Crash Reports at http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov
3. Visit the Official CSA 2010 website at http://csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov
1. Be Pro-Active in analyzing (consistently) all 3 steps above.
2. Go to www.professionalsafetyconsulting.com and Sign Up for our CSA 2010 Updates FREE eNewsletter Updates.
3. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest NEWS and TIPS.
Turn your F-O-C-U-S to Marketing & CSA 2010. These are the (2) fastest roadways to Success and Profitability in the Emerging New Economy. You CAN turn CSA 2010 into a Profit Center by The End of January 2010 by Investing in Yourself Now for The Trucking Info Summit 2010 at http://www.thetruckinginfosummit.com While everyone else is still trying to figure out how to implement it by this coming July, we’ll have already taken you, step-by-step, hand-in-hand, through a systematized process, far beyond “hopeful” compliance, peeling back the curtain, and exploiting the strategies you need to produce results now. You can move on quickly, get back to working ON the business and let us show you how you can profit (sustainably) from fast implementation of CSA 2010. It’s the biggest opportunity our industry has had in years and will be garnered by the savviest of trucking professionals and entrepreneurs. So invest in yourself, and immerse yourself, among the best marketing and safety professionals in the industry, for 3 Full Days, taking away information you can implement immediately to kick start your business in 2010 and for years to come.

Predictably Irrational…

Since my last blog, I took my own advice and went hunting, both figuratively, and literally. I bagged a deer, couple of pheasants, a quail, missed a duck and two geese and picked up some new customers. Also launched and started receiving registrations for The Trucking InfoSummit 2010.


In that time, Thanksgiving also rolled around, and I also lost a very close cousin (Jason) who was at the ripe age of 33 with 4 kids. It’s a profound thing when we allow business (work) to consume our lives to the extent that when we lose an important part of our life, everything comes to a screeching halt and we put things into an entirely different perspective, dramatically different, and very quickly. It’s then I realized, how many of us really live like this, with this perspective, all of the time? This mindset that is so laser-beam focused, it see’s no failure. Not everyone experiences it. I wish they would but then we would have no critics. They would call it “hype” or being “irrational”. I’m sure they’re right. They seem to be most of the time.

If you put what’s important first, really first, then work backwards, completely immune to criticism, speed limits, and defying status quo, working like your life completely depended on it; if you did this all the time, to the majority, you’d be “predictably irrational”. I’ve learned to garner this term. It should be posted above a doorway, something you can slap on the way out, just like Rudy did. “Whatever it takes”.

Here’s a tip. Surround yourself with reminders of what you’re working for. It sounds simple, but I bet I’ve just stumped quite a few folks. Don’t worry, no one is looking over your shoulder or lurking in on your thoughts. Be real with yourself. What are you really working for? Is it family? Is it a spouse? Is it for your kids and/or grandkids? Put those images around you, remind yourself not to be distracted from why you’re doing what you’re doing. Time waits for no one. And when we’re gone, we’re gone. Nothing profound about that, eh?>

Be irrational. What the hell is wrong with that? Since when is it cool to be another average company (victim) complaining about some aching economy. Now that’s it completely tanked, it’s looked upon “distastefully” to nipping on the heels of success or defying status quo. There’s a lot of professional spectators out there today with professional speculations. You roll with the majority, and you’ll roll with the majority’s results Expectations have plummeted. Opportunity prevails.

Don’t underestimate the power that other people’s thoughts and actions have over you. If you’re surrounded by 5 negative people, chances are, you’re going to be #6. They influence you in many ways. If you find yourself following the herd, or having a difficult time making intentional decisions, maybe it’s time to find new friends, join new groups, and spend more time working on what YOU really want – not what others around you want you to want. Be a kid. It’s cool.

If something smells like crap, it usually is.