There Really Wasn’t Anything Anyone Could Have Done . . . Or Was There?

fatal collision

There Really Wasn’t Anything Anyone Could Have Done . . .

On Thursday, a young man with autism stepped off the bus in Omaha and was fatally injured. He attempted to cross the street from around the front of the bus and was struck by a tow truck. He was 24 years old.

“There really wasn’t anything anyone could have done.” Witness to the collision.

For those of us in the world of loss control and traffic safety and collision prevention, we might disagree with that statement.

Sure, a pedestrian has the duty to take reasonable and prudent caution before venturing out in traffic. But a driver can never assume a pedestrian will do this.

  • Children under the age of 10 or 11, for example, have no sense of traffic. They will follow balls, toys, pets or other children into a busy street.
  • Many traffic signals do not allow sufficient time for the elderly to cross a typical street.
  • Parked vehicles as buses, trucks, SUVs, etc., are huge blind spots and can hide someone about to cross into the street.

Countermeasures

  • A basic rule when driving past parked vehicles is to look for feet under the vehicle, indicating someone is about to step out.
  • Slow down. Slowing down gives a driver more time to process driving information and respond (not react in a panic). One study found that a reduction of 5 km/h or about 3 MPH could be expected to result in a reduction of 30% of fatal pedestrian collisions and 10% of collisions would have been avoided altogether.
  • Be alert and avoid distractions. Be mindful of driving. Focus, focus, focus.

What is Defensive Driving?

Defensive driving is a set of driving skills.

A skill is the ability to do something well, or expertly.

By that simple definition, the average driver is . . . well, average. Many U.S. drivers have never had any formal driving classes in their lifetime. Driver’s Ed is not universal because it can be expensive. I can remember a while back when Texas allowed parents to skip formal driver’s ed classes and teach their own kids how to drive in the parent-taught driver education (PTDE) program. Kids take on-line classes and the parent does the in-car training portion. (On a side note, It was interesting because at that time, Texas had an open-container law in which a passenger could legally drink alcohol while going down the road.)

The point is not everyone has good defensive driving skills because they have never been taught that particular skill set.

Secondly, we all need reminders from time to time because even the best defensive driving skills can get stale.

Over time one notices that certain types of collisions seem to occur in a series. Awareness of a particular danger is increased . . . and then, oddly enough, those types of collisions seem to disappear. Then the cycle repeats itself. (Some say all accidents simply follow the law of averages. I disagree.) Learning by making mistakes is neither the best nor the most efficient way to go about defensive driving. Drivers need training and retraining.

Defensive driving is a form of training or practice for motor vehicle drivers to drive in such a way that they consciously reduce the dangers associated with driving. www.roaddriver.co.uk

If you employ drivers, then teach them defensive driving. One advantage of living in the Age of Information is that the costs of training keep going down (while the cost of doing nothing keeps increasing).

There is no excuse for any employer of drivers not to have a defensive driving program.

Thank you for reading this.