Distracted & Deadly . . .

Distracted driver crashed into stopped tracffic

Zombie Driver . . .

It was the start of an ordinary day. Traffic on eastbound Hwy. 13 was stopped for a red light at the Washburn Avenue intersection in Burnsville, Minnesota. Little did four people know they would be involved in a serious crash that would send two of them to the hospital for treatment for injuries.

Rear-end collisions are a fairly common occurrence, about 28% of all crashes, according to the NTSB. For 2016, the last year with complete data, “Large Truck Rear-Ending Passenger Vehicle” were the cause of 4.5% of fatal collisions involving a truck (FMCSA).

This collision is unusual in two respects:

  • The crash was caught on video
  • Bad as it was, the crash could have been much, much worse

Posted by Pat Nelson on Friday, September 7, 2018

 

Ninety-seven percent of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck in 2016 were occupants of the passenger vehicles.  Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Lessons Learned

  1. Drivers of large vehicles need to be trained. And trained in emergency procedures, to include knowing when to swerve to avoid a collision. This topic is beyond the scope of the CDL manual and needs to be covered at the company level. Drivers need to be completely indoctrinated in executing proper procedures in an emergency situation. Advanced training can include attendance at a truck skid school to practice what was discussed.
  2. Savvy fleet owners invest in collision-avoidance technology. As there are many older trucks on the road, the age of the vehicle is no excuse with new systems as Forward Collision Warning (FCW) from Mobileye, which can be mounted on any vehicle. The deployment in the 1990s of the rear-center stop light resulted in a decrease in read-end collisions, so technology can make a difference.
  3. Automobile drivers need to stay about 100 feet (7 car lengths) behind any stopped truck and use their warning flashers to get the attention of the drivers behind them, paying attention to traffic that might not stop. Then, after several vehicles stop behind their vehicle, close the gap with the truck ahead.

Thank you for reading this.

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John Taratuta, Safety & Risk Engineer, 989-474-9599