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Our roads, and the hazards they present, are much different today compared to before. Traffic is down all across North America with non-essential workers either working from home or furloughed, events cancelled, and many stores closed while we all practice social distancing to the best of our abilities during COVID-19.
In fact, personal travel across the Unites States was down 41-47% throughout April. This presents its own challenges, and one of the biggest is the increase in speeding, especially on local roads. Some areas are seeing double the amount of speeding tickets over 100 miles per hour.
Massachusetts saw a 50% decline in traffic, but the rate of fatalities has doubled compared to normal averages, as reported by MassDOT. This is because the faster a vehicle is traveling, the more serious the injuries will be if a collision occurs.
Another contributing factor to the new dangers on the roads is a result of more people out as pedestrians, bicyclists and runners, as well as more children out playing. According to a study by IIHS, pedestrian survival rates are approximately 60% when hit at 30 mph, but survival rates plummet to just 20% when speeds exceed 40 mph.
Collisions that are more severe will lead to hospitalization, and our hospitals are already overburdened with COVID-relief efforts.
Two Types of Drivers Today
While many drivers are off the road today, other drivers who deliver essential goods or services are driving more than ever. These drivers are experiencing the hazards of an empty road and could encounter speeders, or be tempted to speed themselves. Drivers need to be reminded and encouraged to follow the speed limit and maintain best practices for safe driving.
When North America begins to reopen, we expect a mass return to work and chaotic roadways, as many of these drivers will have not driven meaningful distances for several months. Research analyzing driver-assist technologies show that skill erosion can begin after just a few hours of heavy reliance on these driver-assist features. We anticipate a more dramatic skill erosion across the population after several months of only sporadic, quick trips for essentials. Are your drivers prepared to return to the road, or for the sudden increase in traffic?
Provide Cohesive Training Remotely
CEI has developed a fully interactive Hazard Awareness training module, which immerses drivers in a number of real-world scenarios with scoring based on reaction time using advanced, live-action video. These hazards are highly relative to the current driving environment, including children playing, bicyclists weaving into traffic, pedestrians crossing the road, and other vehicles displaying poor judgement, just to name a few.
Hazard awareness will help your drivers keep their skills sharp and adapt better to current conditions, as well as prepare for a return to the road.
By educating your fleet with this information, you can proactively reduce repair costs and vehicle downtime, and, most importantly, ensure your fleet drivers are better protected on the road.
Whether your fleet is operational or at a stand-still right now, CEI’s DriverCare Hazard Awareness training module makes it possible to sharpen your fleet drivers’ safety skills during COVID-19.