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Why A False Sense Of Security May Put Fleets At Risk For Dangerous Driving

Posted By: GoFleet on Oct 5, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a drastic impact on people’s everyday life and businesses’ operations. Because of the “shelter-in-place” order and travel restrictions imposed by the government, the traffic volumes in cities across North America have dropped dramatically. 

Although many people expect that emptier roads translate to safer driving environments, the data suggests that is not the case. 

Statistics show that our roads have become more deadly since the beginning of the pandemic. In the United States, the fatality rate per mile driven went up by 14% compared to the same period last year. For commercial fleets, the mileage driven by commercial vehicles has declined by 20% since the pandemic; however, the amount of miles driven over the posted speed limit has increased by 17%, and the harsh cornering event has also increased by 15%

A psychological belief called a false sense of security might explain why we see a surprise growth of careless and reckless driving behaviours during the pandemic. We will also explore options and solutions to crack down dangerous driving behaviours and enhance overall fleet operation safety.

Why Do We See an Increase In Dangerous Driving Behaviours?

If something gives you a false sense of security, it makes you believe that you are safe when you are not. That’s exactly what happened to roads during the pandemic. The emptier roads and reduced traffic prompted drivers to feel safer, resulting in increasing speeding and reckless driving activities. Drivers also carried the view that there will be fewer pedestrians and cyclists on the roads during the pandemic, so they believed that cars would get more road space, leading them to commit dangerous driving behaviours, such as failing to stop at stop signs. 

Psychological Impact

The pandemic could be stressful, as it can cause fear, panic, anxiety in many people. This often leads to increased alcohol and drug consumption, contributing to increased aggressive driving behaviours on the roads. Commercial fleet drivers often experienced greater stress because of the increasing workloads caused by the growth of cargo transport and delivery activities during the pandemic. 

Many businesses are operating a reduced fleet because of drivers’ absences due to isolation and sickness. That forces rest of the on-duty drivers to take additional tasks to cover the reduced workforces. Some might choose to commit dangerous behaviours such as speeding to finish all the tasks within business hours. The rise of risky behaviours during these times may put all road users in danger and lead to serious accidents resulting in injuries or deaths and unnecessary costs to businesses. 

Impact Of Distracted Driving 

Distracted driving has often been described as one of the biggest challenges for modern drivers. Almost 80% of road accidents have seen distracted driving as a contributing factor. Hands-free devices have become a popular tool among fleet drivers, as many believe it will reduce the risks of taking a call during driving. However, even drivers’ hands remain on the steering wheel while taking a call through hands-free devices, their mind and concentration might be distracted by talking. This creates a hidden risk and may negatively impact the drivers’ response time to an unexpected road situation. 

Impact Of Reduced Training

The reduced amount of face-to-face fleet safety training might be another reason why some drivers become less vigilant during driving. Routine safety training is an essential pillar of establishing and maintaining a strong and positive workplace safety culture. Many businesses and workplaces have decided to postpone or reduce these kinds of face-to-face safety training programs due to the growing concerns of virus transmission during personal interactions. Lack of road safety education sessions during the pandemic has let drivers guard down, and some chose to carry out aggressive driving behaviours on the roads. 

Deadly Consequences Of Careless Driving

Dangerous driving and failing to obey road signs put the safety of all road users at risk. It could lead to severe consequences, such as fatal accidents and unintentional injuries. Drivers and businesses might face huge fines, penalties, or lawsuits if they are involved in road accidents and collisions. Depending on the severity of the accidents, drivers might be charged for dangerous driving and received license suspensions and a criminal record. Businesses might also bear unnecessary costs and expenses in recovering assets damage, paying for additional maintenance costs, suffering increased insurance premiums. 

The social costs and damages made to brand reputation are two factors that often are neglected when evaluating the cost of a road accident. Any injuries or deaths resulting from the road accident place additional expenses and burdens on the local healthcare system, transportation networks, and legal system. 

For individuals, loss of life and life quality, loss of output due to temporary incapacitation should also be quantified in monetary values when calculating accidents’ costs. Accidents could also severely harm the brand’s reputation in the industry and have a long-term adverse impact on the businesses’ operations, revenues, and financial stability. Businesses need a spotless fleet safety record to win customers’ trust and differentiate themselves – so maintaining a high fleet safety standard is a “must” for fleets of any size. 

Further questions on regulatory compliance

CVSA Operation Safe Driver Takes Aim at Speeding Vehicles

(TORONTO, July 15, 2020) — The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) annual Operation Safe Driver is underway across North America – with special attention this year on speeding vehicles and dangerous driving.   

“Law enforcement personnel will issue warnings or citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in dangerous driving behaviors,” CVSA stated. 

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that driver’s actions have historically contributed to approximately 94 percent of collisions.  

Data available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Analysis and Information Online shows an upward trend in speed related violations for heavy trucks over the past five years with the most significant increase in the 60 percent range for speed violations in excess of 15 mph (24 km/h) over the posted speed limit.

“With the ELD mandate in effect in the US and the Canadian mandate set for June 2021, we are keeping a close eye on the speed issue as a small, but growing, segment of the industry operating in Canada will try and overcome the safety benefits of ELDs by speeding,” said CTA’s Geoff Wood, Senior VP, Policy.

Operation Safe Driver was launched in 2007 as a partnership between the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the law enforcement communities and the trucking industry across North America, to reduce the number of collisions resulting from dangerous driving behaviours. As part of a broader strategy in the lead-up to the Canadian ELD mandate in 2019, CTA highlighted the need for the development of a national, focused speed enforcement strategy with CVSA Region V (Canadian Provincial and Territorial jurisdictions) and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.

“CTA applauds Canadian CVSA jurisdictions’ focus on speed. It will not only improve highway safety but also addresses industry concerns with the practice of time compression used by non-compliant fleets and customers to make up for inefficiencies in their supply-chains,” added Wood. “There is no need for speeding – it is unsafe, generates excessive green-house gas emissions and is completely counterintuitive from an operational-cost perspective.  

“Speed enforcement, coupled with a third-party certified ELD regime, will force the noncompliant carriers and drivers, as well as their customers, to change behaviour for the better and the safety interests of all road users.”

Further questions on regulatory compliance

Ontario Ministry of Transportation announced the alignment of its exemptions to the Highway Traffic Act pertaining to, Hours of Service, Vehicle Inspections and Speed Limiters in support of COVID-19 relief following the Federal Transport Canada announcement March 24, 2020.  Click Here:  MTOCovid

Commercial Motor Vehicle compliance amid the COVID-19 pandemic Click Here: MEOA COVID-19 3-25-20

MEOA MTA AG Report

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Industry News

MEOA CVSA Roadcheck 2019  

 

Canadians who smoke marijuana legally, or work or invest in the industry, will be barred from the U.S.: Customs and Border Protection official

WASHINGTON—Canadians will be barred from entering the United States for smoking marijuana legally, for working in Canada’s legal marijuana industry and for investing in legal Canadian marijuana companies, a senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection official says.

Todd Owen, who spoke to the U.S. website Politico, said the U.S. does not plan to change its border policies to account for Canada’s marijuana legalization, which takes effect on Oct. 17.

Canadian perspective: If you like smoking the occasional spliff, keep it under your hat when talking to U.S. border agents; they regard this as an illegal act, even though marijuana will soon be legal in Canada and is already in some U.S. states.
(Glenn Russell / AP file photo)

“We don’t recognize that as a legal business,” said Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the office of field operations.

Owen’s comments corroborated anecdotal reports that have accumulated over the course of the year. Canadians with links to the nascent legal industry, including venture capitalist Sam Znaimer and the chief executive of a B.C. agricultural machinery company, have already been given lifetime entry bans.

News Release

June 29, 2018

CMV Stakeholder Letter

June 21, 2018

Zero Tolerance

June 18, 2018

Class D Drivers Test

May 30, 2018
Impairment and Workplace Health and Safety

Click Here

May 29, 2018

Recent Amendments to Schedule 1 Trip Inspections – Educational Period:

Click Here to Read

 

 

Road Safety ahead of Cannabis:

Ontario Improving Road Safety Ahead of Cannabis Legalization

September 18, 2017

New Measures Include Tougher Penalties to Deter Drug-Impaired Driving

To help keep roads safe, Ontario plans to introduce new measures to make drug-impaired driving laws even tougher. 

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation, were in Toronto today to announce that Ontario plans to introduce legislation this fall that would increase the consequences and costs for those who drive under the influence of drugs, including cannabis. The measures add to Ontario’s comprehensive cannabis plan, introduced in advance of the federal government’s plans to legalize recreational cannabis by July 2018.

In Ontario, the penalties for impaired driving are already among the toughest in Canada. The province has been working closely with public health and safety experts, police, and federal and municipal governments to develop the proposed measures, which build on Ontario’s recent action to align penalties for drug-impaired driving with those already in place for drunk drivers.

New, tougher laws against drug-impaired driving will include zero tolerance for:

  • Young drivers aged 21 and under
  • Novice drivers — G1, G2, M1 and M2 licence holders
  • All commercial drivers.

Zero tolerance means that drivers should not get behind the wheel if they have any detectable presence of drugs or alcohol in their system. For cannabis, the federal government will be approving a screening device and setting the thresholds for detectable presence in the coming months.

Ontario’s legislation would also increase monetary penalties for all drivers who fail, or refuse to perform, a sobriety test.

As the federal legalization of cannabis approaches, Ontario plans to convene a summit in the fall of 2017 with policing partners, public health and other stakeholders. With the goal of keeping communities safe, the summit will be an opportunity to identify the resources necessary to address illegal storefront cannabis sales, proposed provincial offences, enforcement, opportunities for coordination and collaboration, and associated resource requirements.

Proposed New Measures for Drug-Impaired Driving

September 18, 2017 9:20 A.M.

Ministry of Transportation

To help keep roads safe, Ontario plans to introduce new legislation to make drug-impaired driving laws even tougher. These tough new measures would be in addition to penalties for an impaired driving conviction under the Criminal Code of Canada. If passed, the new measures would include:

Young and Novice Drivers

  • Creating a zero tolerance approach prohibiting young (age 21 and under) and novice drivers (G1, G2, M1, M2) from having the presence of a drug in their system, as detected by a federally approved oral fluid screening device
  • Aligning existing zero tolerance for alcohol sanctions for this group with the proposed sanctions for zero tolerance for drugs
  • The proposed zero tolerance penalties for drugs or alcohol are:
  Licence suspension Monetary penalty Other penalties
First occurrence 3 days $250 Other penalties, such as mandatory education or treatment programs may also apply for repeat offenders.
Second occurrence 7 days $350
Third and subsequent occurrences 30 days $450

Commercial Drivers

  • Creating a zero tolerance approach prohibiting commercial drivers from having the presence of either alcohol and/or drugs in their system, as detected by a federally approved screening device
  • The proposed penalties are:   
  Licence suspension Monetary penalty Other penalties
First occurrence 3 days $250 Other penalties, such as mandatory education or treatment programs may also apply for repeat offenders.
Second occurrence 3 days $350
Third and subsequent occurrences 3 days $450

All Drivers

  • Enhancing Ontario’s existing penalties by introducing escalating monetary penalties that would apply to all impaired driving sanctions (alcohol and/or drugs)
  • Drivers found to be in the warn range (Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) between .05 and .08) or drug-impaired drivers who fail a roadside Standardized Field Sobriety Test would face:
  Licence suspension Monetary penalty Other penalties
First occurrence 3 days* $250 Mandatory education or treatment programs, and an ignition interlock requirement*
Second occurrence 7 days* $350
Third and subsequent occurrences 30 days* $450
*Current sanctions that will not change due to the ministry’s proposals    

 

·         Alcohol impaired drivers (BAC above 0.08), drug-impaired drivers (as determined by an evaluation from a drug recognition expert) and any drivers who fail or refuse to submit to tests under the Criminal Code would face:

 

  Licence suspension Monetary penalty Other penalties
First occurrence 90 days* $550 Mandatory education or treatment programs, and an ignition interlock requirement*
Second occurrence 90 days* $550
Third and subsequent occurrences 90 days* $550
*Current sanctions that will not change due to the ministry’s proposals

NOTE: Unlike a fine, which is imposed once a driver has pled guilty or been convicted, monetary penalties are provincial administrative sanctions applied at the time of the offence.

 

Minister Raitt announces support for mandating ELDs and ESC in Canada
TORONTO, Ont. – After a roundtable meeting with the Canadian Trucking Alliance carrier members earlier today, Federal Transport Minister, Lisa Raitt announced she was personally supporting both electronic logging devices (ELDs) and electronic stability control systems (ESC) in order to improve safety for everyone on the road. Read More…

Resources

MTO-Stakeholder-Consultations-Road-Building-MachinesVehicle-Weight-and-Dimension-Limits-in-Ontario.

Ministry of Transportation website for Trucks and Buses
Commercial Vehicle Operators’ Safety Manual

Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA)
National Safety Code Standard 11 (Part B the Periodic Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspections starts on page 46)