Safety experts say that ever since pandemic lockdowns risky driving behaviors have become the new normal. During the darkest days of COVID-19, open roads and ample frustration tempted drivers to engage in everything from speeding to aggressive, distracted, and impaired driving.
Crash deaths rose 7% in 2020 despite a dramatic decrease in the number of miles Americans drove. But as drivers logged more miles in 2021, the pattern continued with fatalities rising by more than 10%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Finally, more than 9,500 people died in roadway collisions in the first three months of this year — the highest number of first-quarter fatalities since 2002.
What’s behind this spike in fatalities? The data indicates its due to risky behaviors that appear to have stuck with drivers since the start of the pandemic. Fleet managers can learn how to best support their drivers to avoid distractions, road rage, and more at the following two thought-provoking sessions at the upcoming Fleet Safety Conference (FSC).
“Driving in a World of Distractions, Impairment, and Rage”
Nov. 11, 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.; Moderator: Dan Belknap, Wheels Donlen
Presenters Phil Moser of Driving Dynamics and Katie Franssen of Roche Diagnostics Operations will dig into the reasons for our current alarming crash and fatality statistics. The duo will then introduce their respective cutting-edge methods around driver engagement and behavioral improvement to achieve real and lasting change.
Both Moser and Franssen bring a depth of real-world experience to the session. With over 30 years in the field of driver safety, Moser has assisted numerous Fortune 500 companies with developing and successfully implementing robust driver safety initiatives. As a former police officer and a vehicle crash investigator, Moser has also investigated thousands of collisions. Since 2014, Franssen has directed the safety policies, strategies, training, and tools to support Roche’s fleet of 1400 drivers.
“Driver Distraction: What Does the Data Say?”
Nov. 11; 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.; Moderator: Vesna Brajkovic, Managing Editor, Heavy Duty Trucking
Researcher Susan Soccolich will present results from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s (VTTI) recent commercial motor vehicle driver distraction study. It explores type, time, and frequency of behaviors before near crashes and collisions including cell phone use, drowsiness, other in-cab distractions, and external events. The study also reveals how drivers responded to onboard monitoring systems (OMBs) and coaching after these triggered events.
Soccolich is a research associate with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s Division of Freight, Transit, and Heavy Vehicle Safety. She brings to this seminar over a decade of research project experience that have focused on improving roadway user safety through studies of wide-ranging issues involving commercial motor vehicle drivers, vehicles and technology, roadways, and the environment. A sought-after expert on reducing driver distraction, attendees will walk away from Soccolich’s session with actionable insights to improve fleet safety.
Entering its 11th year, Fleet Safety Conference returns to an in-person format as part of the Fleet Forward Conference Nov. 9-11 in Santa Clara, California.
As part of a combined agenda, the in-person FSC will convene and opening and closing keynote as general sessions. Concurrent sessions will take place along with Fleet Forward Conference sessions. Attendees will pay one registration fee to access both events.