A Letter to the Professional Driver – Preventable Accident
Dear Professional Driver,
The accident frequency for this company has been trending in the wrong direction the past few months. Thankfully, those accidents have been relatively minor in nature. When we review accidents to classify them as preventable or non-preventable, we use guidelines created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), National Safety Council (NSC), American Trucking Association (ATA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Let us define a “Preventable” accident: An accident in which the driver failed to do everything reasonable to prevent it from occurring. When looking at this we would like you to drive defensively which means: preventing accidents in spite of the incorrect actions of others, and in spite of adverse conditions.
The usually mistake that drivers and managers make is in assigning “fault” rather than “preventability”. A driver can be technically free from fault, yet may have been able to avoid the accident. Therefore when determining if the accident was preventable or non-preventable we look to see if the professional driver used all his/her defensive driving skills to have reasonably prevented the accident.
The accidents that normally get classified as non-preventable are when our vehicle is properly parked, stopped at a controlled traffic device or involved in an accident when moved at the direction of law enforcement officials.
The goal here is not to have an accident in the first place. We all know however that things will happen and that’s why we call them accidents. The job of the professional driver is to use all his/her defensive driving skills to reasonably prevent occurrence. Remember, the Commercial Motor Vehicle driver, especially one transporting hazardous material, is held at a higher standard than a regular motor vehicle operator. Be safe on the roads today and every day.