Who are the safest drivers in the USA?
All drivers are not created equal. Some drivers just seem to have a knack for driving. Other, seemingly bright, intelligent people are all thumbs behind the wheel of a car.
In my career, I’ve been fortunate to have evaluated thousands of drivers from almost every part of the world and of various ages, occupations, and social backgrounds.
When it comes to safe driving, I have found the children of truck drivers or police officers fair not much better than average when it comes to driving. Perhaps many truck drivers are gone and let mama do the driver’s ed stuff. Due to the nature of their work, police are notorious for having some of the highest collision rates, even though being specially trained in high-risk driving.
When it comes to safe driving, there is one segment that always stands out. Here’s a hint . . . These are the children of the folks who, on a daily basis, have to deal with the direct consequences of bad driving. The folks who see the broken bones, severe burns, missing limbs, life-altering injuries, wicked whiplash, TBI, paralysis, and other horrors of bad driving that polite folks don’t talk or even think much about. These are the folks, all the livelong day, who have to take the mush and pieces that are left from a bad collision and try to make what resembles a human being from the anatomical jigsaw puzzle.
On occasion, they share their work with their trusted inner circle, the members of their family. “Yeah, that Smith kid —the only one in the car who didn’t wear his safety belt— he’s going to live. It took six surgeries over 32 hours and 42 pints of blood — but he’s going to live. He’s going to live . . .”
Yes — the children of emergency room doctors are some of the safest drivers I have had the privilege to observe. They do their traffic checks, make full stops, yield to pedestrians, check the railroad tracks, check their blind spots and the hundreds of other safe driving behaviors that many drivers “forget” to do. And they do it naturally, as if they had been driving for decades.
Two Lessons Learned
The moral of this story is twofold.
Firstly, safety indoctrination works.
1. the act of indoctrinating, or teaching or inculcating a doctrine, principle,or ideology, especially one with a specific point of view
The word indoctrination is formed from indoctrinate, a word whose Latin roots mean “to teach.” It also means to inculcate or imbue with learning.
Whether it is politically correct or not, from my observations, safety indoctrination works. If you teach it, really make an effort to teach it, they will learn.
The second point, related to the emergency care scene, is that we’ve become better as a society at patching up people after crashes. Crashes are more survivable due to vehicle safety improvements. The tools and resources and training of the first responders are better. The emergency room technology is improved.
In general, the number of fatal car crashes have been falling. The declining number of fatal car crashes might be a false metric. Are we really any safer?
But there is another statistic that should concern us all. Take a look at the handicapped parking spots at any retail store. Usually they are in use by somebody. By some estimates, there are up to fifty-six million disabled people in the U.S., sometimes called “the hidden society.” Every year thousands of people are injured or disabled, and many of these in car and truck crashes.
That tells me there is still much work that needs to be done in driver safety training and education (indoctrination) at all levels of driving. Most of us did not have emergency room doctors as parents.
Dollarize the Safety Value Proposition
The majority of companies are small and lack either a vision or budget for training and education. With everything else going in in the business, it’s sometimes hard to see the oftentimes hidden value of safety. Here’s how one safety training company dollarized the value of their safety training . . .
Thank you for reading this.
Disclaimer: Reference to any specific product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, company name or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the author.
Another Post . . .
What are the qualifications or standards to administer company D.O.T. driving tests?