Lessons Learned from a Tragic Vehicle Crash

3/30/15

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A recent client DOT compliance review to address a fatal driver crash serves as a reminder about the importance of Motor Vehicle Reporting (MVR) criteria and policies to hold drivers accountable for continued training and driver performance. The deceased driver’s DOT qualification file and roadside inspections from the previous year reflected a history of avoidable traffic violations, poor safety training and dangerous driving habits.

The deceased driver was a long-term, reliable employee who was well liked and could be counted on to get the job done. He was home every weekend to assist his ailing wife and to get his 34-hour restart hours of service. His MVR record though showed three moving violations and one crash from the previous two years. Two of those violations were for speeding. The report also indicated two roadside inspections that showed seatbelt infractions. This veteran driver had not kept up with safety training, and did not adhere to current safety practices. The fatal single vehicle crash that took his life revealed that while he was hauling a load his tractor trailer rolled onto its side and crushed him as he was partially ejected through the window. He was not wearing a seatbelt.

It is telling to read through all of the past infractions and clearly see the road map leading to this driver’s horrific death. While very unfortunate, there are a number of lessons to be learned from this situation. 

Pay attention to MVR and PSP/CSA data when looking to hire a recruit or reviewing an existing driver’s safety record. It is telling a story that is usually pretty accurate.

  1. Have objective criteria in place for reviewing MVR’s. Let your drivers know what the company’s safety expectations are and what will happen if they are not met.
  2. When a driver has moving violations or poor roadside inspections, take the time to coach and retrain him/her. Even though this can be time consuming and frustrating the information you provide will hopefully sink in and prevent a tragic event from happening in the future. In many cases, just wanting to avoid another educational experience/lecture may be enough to change a driver’s behavior.
  3. The worst time to learn about the importance of training and identifying at-risk drivers is after a catastrophic loss.

It is never easy to address the “what if’s” following a tragic event like this yet it is a necessary process to uncover what could have been done to avoid these circumstances and how those lessons can be implemented going forward. Watch our on-demand webinar Critical Crashes – Things You Can Do Before and After a Crash to Reduce Your Exposures and read more on driver safety best practices and fleet 101 safety training.

HUB Transportation Insurance Services experts are able to guide you through safety measures for your business. Contact a HUB Transportation expert today.