Free Windows 10 Upgrade Ends Shortly

Windows 10 Offer

Hurry! Hurry Hurry!

If you have purchased a device running Windows 7 or 8.1 in the last year or so, like I have, then you should qualify for the free Windows 10 Upgrade. But like any offer, this one expires in a few days on July 29, 2016, the one-year anniversary of the operating system’s initial release.

After July 29, the full price will apply for either the home or work editions.

The main reason for updating, in my opinion, is for the enhanced security features and malware protection.

Don’t wait until the last minute to download the product. Windows 10 has been noted for taking a while for the download. I’m assuming millions of people will have put off upgrading, as I have, and that could slow down things, too.

For more information, please visit Microsoft.

Thank you for reading this.

Normalization of Deviance . . . (Part 2)

normalization of deviance

A Predictable Surprise . . .

Should it take a driver over 30 minutes to spot a trailer? Should it take no less than three drivers over 30 minutes to dock a trailer?

Sure, docks aren’t always easy to maneuver around. Some are tight, really tight. Others have low overhangs or drooping tree limbs or even wires. A few are almost impossible “to bump.”

But how about over 30 minutes, three drivers and the destruction of the right front corner thrown in as a bonus?

CR England

The blogger who videotaped this backing disaster reported several months prior at this same location, another pair of drivers also gave up, and he backed the truck in for them.

A Normalization of Deviance?

In our last blog we discussed Normalization of Deviance.

“The gradual process through which unacceptable practice or standards become acceptable. As the deviant behavior is repeated without catastrophic results, it becomes the social norm for the organization.”

Normalization of Deviance is the result of a gradual erosion or drifting away from a standard, a rule, a policy or an established practice, etc., on a company-wide or organizational-wide basis.

“Social normalization of deviance means that people within the organization become so much accustomed to a deviant behavior that they don’t consider it as deviant, despite the fact that they far exceed their own rules for the elementary safety” Dr. Diane Vaughan

The more such deviations from the standard are allowed, the more “normalized” they become. Oft-times the rule-breaker knows of the risk but feels justified . . .

  • “This is how things are done ‘in the real world.'”
  • “We got a job to do.”
  • “We’ve never had an accident.”

The trucking industry is noted for its driver turnover. The American Trucking Association tracks driver turnover. For large fleets (more than $30 million in annual revenue) driver turnover was 102 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015. If the economy was better, turnover would be higher as drivers switch jobs for better paying positions.

Driver turnover has resulted in the rise of the “newbie” truck driver. Every year thousands of newbies obtain their Class A CDL to drive truck. Some attend truck driving schools, but that is not yet a current requirement of the federal government. Some train with a friend or family member. It is estimated a majority of new truck drivers will not complete a year on the job.

Poor training and lack of training standards contribute to driver turnover or “churn.” The trucking industry has been in denial on this issue for decades.

Backing is one area in which poor training and lack of training standards is evident. There are dozens of YouTube videos showing the sometimes comic, sometimes tragic results of poor training and a lack of training standards in backing.

When an ill-trained driver is behind the wheel, it doesn’t matter how many spotters the driver has in assisting him — he is likely to bump something, run over something or hurt someone.

Backing is not always easy to teach. Backing is a skill. Backing must be learned and most learning comes from experience. A newbie driver cannot teach another newbie driver how to back.

The basics of backing, however, can be taught or the driver indoctrinated:

  • Always do a good setup (usually on a 45 degree angle to your target)
  • G.O.A.L. — Get Out and Look – maintain good visual control of your vehicle, check your progress, when necessary. That means walking your intended path.
  • Pull far enough ahead for your setups. If the free space is there, why not use it?
  • Pick touchstones on the way to your target.
  • Respect property: don’t climb over curbs, drive on the grass or leave deep skid marks.
  • Use the painted dock lines to keep the trailer straight.
  • Always use spotters if possible, and communicate with your spotter.
  • Always have good visual contact with your spotter. Stop if you can’t see the spotter.
  • Bump the dock gently . . .

Following these backing guidelines will make learning how to back an enjoyable process — not a trial to be avoided . . .

What are the fruits of an industry in denial about its backing problem?

The results are what’s known as a predictable surprise – a crash, a fender bender, a ripped-off door or property damage . . .

Note in the below video:

  • The drivers don’t know how to position or setup the vehicle for a good back.
  • None of the drivers walk back and visually check their setup.
  • The spotter-driver standing in front of the truck does nothing to stop the truck from being damaged.
  • The drivers routinely drive over the curb and on the grass . . .
  • The truck is not properly positioned after 34 minutes . . .

Thank you for reading this.

Normalization of Deviance . . . the Root of Evil


Repeated Mistakes . . . Errors Made Over Time

NASA did it. Air Traffic Controllers do it. Fire fighters do it, and doctors, too. In fact, no one is immune from making rule deviations that can end in a bad way.

How bad? Really bad . . . like Chernobyl bad , or the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia bad, or Bhopal bad, and in any number of lesser-known catastrophes.

What happened in each of these instances were not simple mistakes or human error, but a series of perhaps small errors, shorts cuts or deviations from rules and standards. Each error may have been insignificant in of itself, but when combined with other errors or rule deviations, over time the results can be injurious or deadly.

Safety experts call these repeated mistakes or errors made over time, a normalization of deviance.

In fact, deviations (sometimes going under the name of errors, mistakes, or oversights) are common occurrences in most workplaces. These deviations are made without the intention of hurting anyone, usually under pressure or within time constraints. The person breaking the rules may even feel justified — they are saving time and money while getting the impossible done.

Many of these violations or shortcuts often result in no ill effects. The violations, shortcuts or deviations then continue. A normalization of deviance takes place. What should never happen, starts to happen on a routine basis.

At Chernobyl the emergency core cooling system was disabled and had everything went according to plan, it would have been no big deal. At Bhopal, many safety systems were not in working order, but management expected to find any leaks before something bad would happen. In the case of the space shuttle Challenger, NASA knew they had a critical seal problem for six years, but expected a solution or workaround before a dangerous or deadly situation developed. A lapse years later into that same approach resulted in the loss of Columbia.

In many situations, the normalization of deviance is subtle, even invisible to the people involved. It’s “how things get done” around here. Efficiency takes precedent over inspections or maintenance. Small equipment defects are let go, or standards are not met . . . on a regular basis. Operators start spending more time with their electronic devices than their instruments or gauges.

What happens next is no accident . . .

To be continued . . . .

Thank you for reading this . . .

Defensive Driving: Dead On or Merely Dead?

Speed and inexperience

Is Defensive Driving Dead?

If you have ever taken a driving course, then you likely have been exposed to some aspect of instruction known as defensive driving.

What is Defensive Driving?

The written standard for driving, ANSI/ASSE Z15.1 Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations — defines defensive driving in Definition 2.5 as . . .

Driving to save lives, time and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.

This definition originated from the National Safety Council’s (NSC) Defensive Driving Course.

The National Safety Council created the first defensive driving course in 1964 and has been the leader in driver safety training ever since.

The National Safety Council cuts to the chase right away on their defensive driving page . . .

Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death and injury in the workplace and the cost of a single accident could easily exceed $1.4 million.

And accompanying NCS video on distracted driving ends with a driver talking on a cell phone and missing a curve . . .

distracted driving


What’s wrong with this picture?

A lot according to some safety theorists, starting with the basic concept of defensive driving. It’s negative, perhaps even too negative.

ReplacIng Defensive Driving with a Positive Mental Framework (PMF)

The concept of defensive driving was developed to counter what is known as reactive driving. Reactive driving is a style of driving in which the driver reacts to current driving situations. Defensive driving is about planning ahead and being more responsive and proactive. Reactive drivers react to situations, ofttimes with negative consequences. So a comparison of reactive and defensive driving has a built-in negativity.

The concept of defensive driving, say some safety training experts, should be replaced with a positive mental framework as in the AAA Foundation’s Zero Errors Driving (ZED) 3.0 Program. The phrase ‘defensive driving’ is never mentioned. The terminology of the IPDE process (I-Identify–Locate potential hazards within the driving scene. P-Predict–Judge where the possible points of conflict may occur. D-Decide–Determine what action to take, when, and where to take it), the foundation of driver’s training for millions of U.S. students, has been streamlined. Words as “minimize, separate, compromise, and stabilize” have been eliminated, with a focus instead on vehicle timing and positioning.

Other concepts and terms have been modified:

  • “Space margin” is used instead of “space cushion.”
  • “Probable” refers to things that are more likely to happen.
  • “Conflict probability/probabilities” replaced the words possible, potential, and immediate, and indicates the seriousness of a hazard.

The Smith System® also avoids the term defensive driving, calling itself “the leading provider of collision avoidance driver training.”

The keys to the positive mental framework in driving are planning ahead and being prepared. Says a ZED 3 teaching guide . . .

“Expect the unexpected” is a catchy phrase that has little or
no application. “Expect other user errors and be prepared” is a more practical guide. It is hoped that this approach will produce drivers who are active seekers and copers rather
than defenders or passive acceptors.

Thank you for reading this.

A Bus, A Truck, An Intersection

FL 7-2-16 crash

Dateline: Wakulla County, Florida Panhandle

The bus and tractor-trailer were on fire, entangled in live power lines. First responders started pulling passengers from the bus, until they could do no more because of the flames. Fire trucks had to stand down until the power was shut off to the utility pole. By that time, the vehicles were engulfed in flames.

The driver of the tractor-trailer,  Gordon Sheets, 55 of Copiague, New York, was fatally injured in the July 2nd, 5:20 AM collision, when a bus loaded with farm-workers ran a stop sign and a flashing red light. Sheets was headed westbound on US-98 (the Coastal Highway), when his tractor collided with the southbound bus from Woodville Highway. Four on the bus succumbed to their injuries and another 20 were injured, including the bus driver who was hospitalized in critical condition. A passenger in the tractor-trailer was not injured said ABC News.

The collision remains under investigation by Florida Highway Patrol.

The One Critical Factor in Most Fatal Collisions

Failure to yield right of way is the one common factor in most fatal cashes. A driver can fail to yield right of way due to: missing visual cues as warning signs or other information indicating another vehicle’s intentions, not seeing an approaching vehicle, or sometimes by simply carelessness or negligence. Examples of a failure to yield right of way include:

  • a driver making a left turn fails to yield to oncoming traffic
  • a  driver enters the street from a private driveway or sideroad
  • a driver aggressively merges onto a highway. or
  • a driver does not heed a flashing yellow or red light, or yield or stop sign.

In the crash above, the bus was traveling a state-highway and perhaps did not expect to see an intersection that was controlled by a stop sign.

Every intersection carries an element of risk. The defensive driver needs to acknowledge this risk and modify their driving habits.

What to Do . . .

Over the years, however, there has been an ongoing controversy by defensive-driving experts on just exactly what should a defensive driver should be doing when approaching an intersection and what it is called.

Is it looking? As in . . . Look both ways — or Look left-right-left, or Look far ahead?

Is it scanning? As in . . . Scan the intersection, Scan the road, “Scan high ahead,” or Scan the mirrors every 3-5 seconds?

Is it checking? As in . . . Check your mirrors, Check both ways, or Check the intersection?

Is it watching? As in . . . Watch for cross-traffic or Watch for caution signs or Watch for other vehicles?

Whenever ideas fail, men invent words. Martin H. Fischer

Other visual technique concepts include: active searching,  selective visual skills (AAA), and visual selective attention (motor skills performance theory). 

All in all, good defensive driving involves the active acquisition of information. However it is understood, this is what we need to teach all drivers.

Thank you for reading this.

When White on White is Code Black . . .

 light effects

White Trailer, Bright Sky

What we know is that the vehicle was on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S. Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied. Telsa

So reads the June 30th press release from Tesla Motors on the May 7 crash involving a driver of a Telsa in Autopilot mode with a tractor-trailer in Williston, Florida. Autopilot is considered semi-autonomous driving (Level 3) as control of the vehicle is shared and human intervention is required. Fully autonomous driving, without any human control, is considered Level 4

Florida is one of several states that allow  “autonomous” or “self-driving” vehicles. Williston, FL is known as the hometown of the horse “Foolish Pleasure,” winner of the 1975 Kentucky Derby.

The driver involved in the collision was Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, a former Navy Seal, entrepreneur and technology enthusiast. Brown named his car Tessy and posted various performance videos on YouTube, including a video of a near side collision with a small boom truck . . .

Note: the driver of the boomtruck does not signal and isn’t using his mirrors . . .

In the May 7th crash, neither the Autopilot nor Brown saw the truck. In the resulting collision, Brown was fatally injured. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration informed Telsa it is opening a preliminary evaluation of the Autopilot system.

How Can This Happen?

It seems almost impossible that someone could not see a tractor-trailer. Yet crashes involving “invisible” trucks are not that uncommon.

One of the factors in these kind of collisions is a truck making a left turn. Savvy transportation companies discourage left turns and indoctrinate their drivers against making left turns in traffic.

Why are turns dangerous?

  • It can take up to 40 seconds for a tractor trailer to clear an intersection in a left turn.
  • Turns should never be rushed. Drivers negotiating turns need to travel at a speed slow enough that they can not only see what is coming at them, but where they are going and who might cross their path.
  • The backdrop can make a truck invisible. The most dangerous times are in twilight, before the sun appears or after it disappears. In these times, reflectors and reflective tape may not shine as well as they do in pitch darkness, especially if the backdrop is brightly lit.
  • Fog and inclement weather can hide a truck until it’s too late for another driver to see it.
  • Not all drivers follow the rules . . .  some drivers do not slow down for intersections, do not cover the brake before the intersection, or check for traffic.

In short, the majority of drivers do not drive defensively. I’ve road tested thousands of drivers. Most drivers can pass a driving test, but few can pass with flying colors.

That’s why we need to stress defensive driving. Safe Level 4 autonomous driving may be a long, long ways off.

Thank you for reading this.