It’s your life – you need to be seen by others! by Nick Nicholson

Looking at recent TV news, I saw how three people died in a motorcycle/SUV crash. A young male driver and his female passenger on the motorcycle and the male driver of an SUV. Very tragic. Why?

Seeing the TV footage, it instantly told me that it was a “T-bone” collision. One vehicle crashes into the side of another. In this case, it was obvious to me that the motorcycle went into the driver’s door of a vehicle. It was also obvious by the amount of crush, that high speed on the part of the motorcycle was involved.

I don’t know what type of motorcycle was used but, I can almost Nick-2015guess it was one known as a “crotch rocket’ or what the medical profession refer to as a “donor cycle”. Why do they give it that name? Because nearly every person killed on one is young, healthy and have useable body parts for the medical organ donor programs. These are the people who seem attracted to this type of motorcycle. They seek excess speed and thrill. Their brains have not yet matured to the point of having a balanced fear. The old (fear-experienced) folks (not that they don’t die on motorcycles) tend to drive “cruisers” and take fewer chances.

So, let’s look at this type of collision and what may have caused it. I have no evidence, no reports, nor have I reconstructed the collision, so, this is total theory. First, this was preventable. Both drivers could have avoided it.

The SUV driver had a destination in mind for this trip. It included making a left turn at a city intersection according to the news commentator.

If the SUV driver looked before entering the intersecting pathway, how far do you suppose he looked. As human beings tend to drive by old habits rather than safety conscious thinking, the SUV driver would likely look as far one would normally (from experience) expect to see a vehicle coming that might intersect with his. Within a speed limited city, that would reasonably be around 500 feet. (150m). When no movement is detected during this two-second view, the driver automatically proceeds into the cross path. I can assume, in the best case scenario, that this is what happened. (Your defense? – look (study) as far as you can.)

On the motorcycle, the passenger normally has no control over the bike other than to scream her fear into the driver’s ear. Beyond that, hang on as tight as she could in hopes that somehow they get through every situation without touching anything. (Your defense? – if you don’t trust the driver to be sensible, stay home.)

This motorcycle driver had a serious judgment problem. For whatever reason, this driver chose to speed beyond the limits the engineer designed into that road for safety. When speeding beyond what people reasonably come to anticipate, your life’s expectancy drops dramatically. This fellow included his girlfriend and the other driver with him, taking their lives as well.

In no way am I recommending speeding but, in all scenarios with any kind of motorcycle, your visibility to others becomes paramount. Having lived in Southern Ontario for years I have made a point every Friday the 13th to watch motorcycles coming toward me on long stretches of highway. Thousands of motorcycles head to Port Dover on that date for a celebration that has become a tradition.

From the furthest distance away, the motorcycles that stand out first in any group, are those that when they get up close enough to see, have three headlights. Usually, they’re in a row across in-front-of the handlebars. From that discovery, I have always urged motorcyclists to install (at least) three headlights on their rides.

Human beings react to light and movement. As a motorcycle comes toward you, there is no sideways movement to draw your attention but a wide grouping of bright lights gives you a much better chance of seeing the bike. You notice it because it’s bright, wide and different.

There is a solution that is better. I have seen it on American bikes but not so much in Canada. Those are fluctuating or modulating headlights. The lights themselves, move up and down in a regular pattern which draws the eye because it is both light and movement at the same time. (like emergency vehicle headlights) This, to me, is the best safety precaution one could take to be seen on a motorcycle. These should be mandatory in my opinion. I have attached a link to a video of the “plug & play” modulating motorcycle light harness.

Fluctuating motorcycle lights video:

Learn more at: http://www.signaldynamics.com/plugandplay

The beauty of life is in your hands ……..
THINK ABOUT YOUR OWN SAFETY …… EVERYWHERE …… ALL THE TIME

About the Author

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council

Truckers Implicated in Another Fatal Crash

Another huge crash on a 400 series highway again with multiple fatalities. As I understand it, there was a previous collision backing up traffic some distance ahead and one trucker failed to stop in time. My friends, jumping on Facebook were quick to criticize inattentive driving and cell phone/texting as a likely cause. (Today’s excuse for everything.) In a statement, one friend had this idea:

“Trust me when I say this is not meant as a dig or generalization of all truckers but I do put a considerable amount of windshield time in. Every time I’m on the road I see distracted transport truck drivers. I’ve seen countless tractor-trailers crossing lines into other lanes only to come along beside them and find them with their phone in hand texting on the wheel or with it up to their ear. I’m at a point now if I have to pass a transport I switch lanes if possible or accelerate to get past them because I don’t want to ever be beside one.

Let’s face it every driver out there has crossed over the lines at one Nick-2015time or another. Reaching for a coffee, changing the radio station, looking at the scenery, not to mention the volumes of idiots in passenger vehicles I see with their phone in hand every day! We have a serious problem on our roads that is killing people daily. Here are a couple of suggestions for solutions:

1) There should be technology installed in cell phones that disables them from making outgoing calls, answering incoming calls or texting when the phone is mobile unless connected to a secured, hands-free system.

2) All transport trucks should be equipped with lane sensor technology. My wife has it in her vehicle and it is quite remarkable! You can adjust the distance to the car in front of you to 2 or 3 vehicles and the system tracks and keeps your distance and will slow the vehicle to keep the separation or stop the vehicle to prevent a collision. The system also keeps the vehicle from ever being able to wander out of the lane! It’s quite incredible technology and I truly believe it can save lives.”
(my friend Vic Berzins)

I like Vic’s suggestion and would like to see this as standard equipment on all vehicles, not just trucks. I can see some obstacles to having this implemented regarding the changing weight and load dynamics with commercial vehicles. Not to say it can’t be done but, not likely in my lifetime.

I agree with Vic that one should get past big trucks whenever possible, with as much space as possible. There are a lot more reasons for this than what he mentioned. My personal opinion is that drivers following too close cause the majority of the mishaps on our highways. I like the fact that Vic is offering solutions. Most people just criticize without any thought.

I don’t know why this particular driver failed to stop but, I’d like to add this thought to Vic’s technology suggestion:

For at least, the last 27 years in Britain, on “M” (Motorways – highways like 400 series) there have been message board, electronic road signs every few hundred feet that light up indicating stoppages on the path ahead. I made fun of them when I was there because the message on the sign was usually “Slow Police Ahead”. It included whatever reduced speed you should adopt. The advised speed got slower the closer you were to the stoppage. My sarcastic comment was always “Those poor dumb witted, slow thinking, British Police.”

If Ontario can erect huge signs that tell you that it is so many minutes to such, and such an exit or transfer point, then surely this kind of advanced warning can be installed. All that’s needed is something to catch the driver’s eye warning of problems ahead. Race tracks have had warning flag systems forever. Panic actions or stops have always been traffic’s worst hazards in any situation.

Keep in mind that Ontario licenses 30,000 new drivers every year and only the worst of the worst ever have to retest until they reach age 80. For the most part, truckers and bus drivers with safety-conscious fleets are usually the only ones taking regular driver training/refreshing.

When I was still actively teaching Defensive Driving, our drivers had to attend my course once every year. Beyond the very first mandatory commercialized Defensive Driving Course they had to take, set by the various safe driving organizations, our drivers came back annually to my own specialized course designed specifically to address the daily hazards they faced. I found those drivers to be very participative, attentive and appreciative on a regular basis, This was especially so when they were proud to take home their certificate which declared them to be “Defensive Driving Specialists”. They could “stick their chest out” and be proud of their ability. I believe that pride made them safer on the road. They certainly carried those certificates with them regularly and were quick to point out when the next course was due.

I would like to add one more point. Regardless of what we do, there are no guarantees of safety anywhere or at any time.

About the Author

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council

 

Do you have an Emergency Response Plan? By Nick Nicholson

This is very long because I’ve included the actual Emergency Response Plan that I kept on hand when I was working. My thinking is that maybe safety people who have never given it any thought might find it useful as a guide to make their own preparations.

I hope this helps:

23 EMERGENCY RESPONSE

About the Author

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council

Fleet Safety Council is Freedom! By Nick Nicholson

A couple of years back, a chap in the business of selling transportation safety, knowing I was part of FSC, sent me a questionnaire. He was looking for advice on how to improve his service. My response to him was as follows:

Further to your questionnaire the other day, here are some of my thoughts:

1. I am afraid you are seeking something that, unless you can overcome your own organization’s rules, you can’t use.
2. Your organization is not free to provide the kind of safety that the FS Council can.
3. You profess that safety is your prime goal but, yours is a business designed to make money. You have strings attached that you’re going to have difficulty overcoming:

Take your own audio-visual catalogue for example. At least 25 years Nick-2015ago, Council was introduced to a video put out by Michelin Tire telling us how to overcome a tire “blowout”. It was a wild change of technique to anything we’d ever heard of before. Michelin put it out there for free to the general public. “The Critical Factor” video is now close to 40 years old. I know, from my own experience, that it has saved lives. Council (in those days) obtained a copy for our own library – it is still free. Our FSC members still teach from it. Various formats of the film for various vehicles are still free on the internet today through Michelin. It is a real driving lifesaver! Does your library have a copy listed? No! There is not even a reference to it and you don’t teach it.

Read the MTO’s driver’s handbook to see what they recommend for a “blowout”. There’s nothing there! They don’t even address it. I couldn’t help think of this video every time I heard of the US blaming Ford Explorers and Firestone for deaths from blown out tires over the years. The safety solution to save lives is already there but, because it was developed by a commercial enterprise, nobody proclaiming “best practices” with ANY commercial or government-supported body will touch it. That, to me, is paying “lip service” to safety not, providing a solution. That’s a great part of the reason I stick with Council. As a commercial operation, you do not have the freedom to provide what the Fleet Safety Council does.

Current televised advice from the Ontario Provincial Police is scolding commercial drivers for inattentive driving resulting in huge fatal crashes. Inattentiveness was addressed 65 years ago by the “Smith System”. Unless you were taught his system, nobody, today is aware of it. The solution is there but not shared without cost.

When dealing with any of Ontario’s Ministries, I have often found the same problem. They’ll tell you that you have to come up with a better policy, program, solution or directive for your organization but, they will not provide a hint as to how to go about it. These people see examples of their idea of acceptable parameters of subjects every day, but will not provide, even, a clue as to what anyone else is doing (best practices/examples) citing privacy. If they are telling you to make a change then, they must have some kind of preconceived, acceptable solution in their mind already. It doesn’t have to be a copy.

• I’m don’t care who’s policy it is. What I’m looking for are the principles, parameters, and verbiage used to convey a positive acceptable message to protect people. I shouldn’t have to re-invent the “wheel”.
• I’m looking for an acceptable and realistic solution and timeline from the introduction to completion. It needs to have a simple, easy route to finding it.
• I am looking for the pitfalls to overcome; the errors to avoid and the acceptable language with which to present it. It shouldn’t be like an “appeals” court where you go back again, and again until you get it right (in somebody’s opinion).
• All proponents talk about “best practices” but, refuse to share them. (This is where FS Council has always shone ahead for me – the ideas are freely shared and Members actually are eager to help without expecting a fee in return.) The prime focus with Fleet Safety Council is actually safety – not money!
• So often, it’s immediate. Right there, right at the meeting, somebody will ask how to write a policy regarding marijuana (a hot issue at the moment) or another such topic. The answers are immediate, without fear, on how to solve your query. Council members will steer you in the right direction. Even though members all work for competing companies, overall safety is what is important to us for everybody’s benefit.
• In my opinion, the $50 membership in Fleet Safety Council is the best investment you can make if you’re in the transportation business. I’m in my thirtieth year of membership and its benefits have been unbeatable.

At Fleet Safety Council we are all equal members in it to share safe practices with each other, therefore, truly making the world around us safer. The driver coming towards you may have been taught some safety technique you’ve shared. Now, it’s your life on the line!

About the Author

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council

Hamilton Fleet Safety Council shows proud support at 26th Annual Conference

The Hamilton Niagara  Chapter of the Fleet Safety Council showed Fleet Safety Council 26th Conferenceup in strong numbers at the 26th annual conference. Not only were there many members in attendance but many were also involved in presenting and sponsoring the conference. Member Bruce Outridge offered a workshop on creating content for safety programs and Jodi Burness was involved on a legal panel to round out the afternoon sessions. many of the sponsors such as The Guarantee Insurance Company, Ontario Truck Driving School, Fleet-Tax Services, Old Republic Insurance, CPC Logistics, and DriverCheck all were sponsors of the conference. Mike Lotakow and Sheila Land who were the safety award winners were also in attendance.

Congratulations to the Hamilton members for showing up in strong numbers and the Fleet Safety Council for putting on another good conference. make sure you join us for the 27th annual conference next year.

Here are some pictures from the conference:

About the Chapter

The Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council is part of the Fleet Safety Council of Ontario and promotes safety within the workplace and transportation industry. To learn more about the Chapter visit their website at www.hamiltonniagarafleetsafetycouncil.com

A look into the life of Driver of the Year Mike Lotakow

Mike Lotakow of Verspeeten Cartage was awarded the Driver of the Year for 2017 with the Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council under Supervisor Rick Brown. Congratulations to Mike for a job well done and if you would like to see the presentation to Mike you can view it here.

About the Chapter

The Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council is part of the Fleet Safety Council of Ontario and promotes safety within the workplace and transportation industry. To learn more about the Chapter visit their website at www.hamiltonniagarafleetsafetycouncil.com

A look into the life of Safety Person of the Year Sheila Land

Bruce Outridge interviews Sheila Land on her passion for safety.

In September Sheila Land a long standing member of the Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council was awarded Safety Person of the Year for her tireless dedication to safety in the transportation industry. Below is the video portion of that interview with Sheila. Thank you Sheila Land for her dedication to safety. If you would like to view the presentation to Sheila click here.

About the Chapter

The Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council is part of the Fleet Safety Council of Ontario and promotes safety within the workplace and transportation industry. To learn more about the Chapter visit their website at www.hamiltonniagarafleetsafetycouncil.com

Mike Lotakow is awarded Safe Driver of the Year 2017

The Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council awarded the Safe driver of the Year award also known as the Rick Grammick Award to Mike Lotakow of Verspeeten Transport for his immaculate driving record, compassion for his fellow man, and leadership in being a true professional driver. Mike works under Rick Brown who is the Safety Supervisor for Verspeeten.  Mike was in attendance with family members to receive the award and honoured for his professionalism. You can learn more about Mike Lotakow in future posts with his interview with Bruce Outridge. here are the highlights from the presentation.

About the Chapter

The Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council is part of the Fleet Safety Council of Ontario and promotes safety within the workplace and transportation industry. To learn more about the Chapter visit their website at www.hamiltonniagarafleetsafetycouncil.com

Sheila Land is awarded Risk Safety Professional of the Year

For those in attendance it was a great time honouring Sheila Land the Risk Safety Professional Award for her hard work and dedication to our Chapter, industry, and her company. If you missed the presentation you can see the highlights here. Look for more on Sheila’s story next week in the interview with Bruce Outridge.

About the Chapter

The Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council is part of the Fleet Safety Council of Ontario and promotes safety within the workplace and transportation industry. To learn more about the Chapter visit their website at www.hamiltonniagarafleetsafetycouncil.com

Smart Trucker Seminar-September 12th-Grimsby Ontario

Member Bruce Outridge along with other industry professionals will be holding their Smart Trucker Seminar series focusing on women in  the industry. Guest speaker Shelley Uvanile-Hesch will be offering a presentation on women in the industry. To learn more about the seminar and to register for this free event please click the link for the seminar page.

Tuesday September 12th, 2017 – 5:00pm-9:00pm

Click here to register

Smart-Trucker-Flyer-Grimsby-2017

Promoting Safety within the Transportation Industry

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