Although the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver is celebrated in an annual one-week enforcement and educational blitz – celebrated July 15-21 this year – SmartDrive embraces and acknowledges safe driving every day of the year.
Operation Safe Driver is a CVSA program aimed at reducing deaths and injuries involving large trucks, buses and cars due to unsafe driver behaviors. The Alliance intends to accomplish this goal by educating both commercial motor vehicle drivers and youth drivers about ways to share the roads safely.
This year we acknowledge three drivers who are making a difference!
John Hillworth of B&B Trucking is a star player – both on the road and on the ice. Having completed a career as a professional hockey player with the Detroit Redwings, John then embarked on a driver career, achieving 34 years of accident-free driving with B&B. In one incident, John was driving in the middle of winter with lots of snow on the road. He was in the right-hand lane and another truck came into his lane – with no warning. John maintained his cool, did not panic, did no sudden moves and eased his truck onto the shoulder to make room for the other truck.
When asked what makes him a safe driver, John replied: “I’ve been driving for so long that it all comes natural. I feel if you want to keep out of trouble, you have to be able to read the traffic, keep your distance and look around. Watch the fourth, fifth, or vehicles even further ahead of you, so if they hit the brakes or slow down, you can do the same before the vehicle right in front of you does. This keeps me from doing a panic stop. One last thing, know your limitations and drive under them.”
LA Metro Division 8 Operator Carlos Iglesias has a family history with RTD/Metro. His father was an operator for many years (retired now) and his brother David Iglesias is a bus operator with another division of LA Metro. With only one avoidable accident in his 37-year career (and that was 37 years ago!), Carlos is very conscientious and safe. In addition to his safety and great attendance record, he also won an award for collecting almost $4, 000 for April and classifying over 95% of his cash fares. He also has a great attendance record. He hasn’t had a missout since 2012 when he misread his assignment. In 2016, he avoided an accident when a driver ran a red light. According to his supervisor, “Carlos is an inherently safe driver. He’s been driving for so long that he knows how to maneuver his bus, knows what to look for and knows how to treat his passengers the right way … every day.”
Ray’s Safety Score was dangerously high. In fact, it was so high (2006) that Bruce Morris, Dunbar Armored’s Vice President of Safety & Compliance thought it was the year of the vehicle he was driving! After due diligence, the safety team at Dunbar Armored discovered that he had not been coached effectively. However, soon after constructive coaching began, his score improved. He’s now one of the safest drivers on the road. Ray’s Safety Score dropped from 2006 to 54, becoming one of the safest drivers at Dunbar Armored. Where some fleets may have looked at Ray’s score and dismissed him, Dunbar did the necessary coaching to keep Ray employed so he can continue to make a difference.
Video and Coaching – The Keys to Safer Drivers
The SmartDrive video-based safety system not only captures bad driving habits that can lead to collisions, but also provides evidence when a driver is doing everything right. In this instance, the driver had a bad habit of being aggressive on the road and following too close. As a result, he had a collision twice.
After thoughtful coaching from his supervisor, his behavior changed and when another potential collision arose, he maintained the proper following distance and avoided this very dangerous and costly five-car pileup.
Congratulations to all of these drivers. Thank you for making our roads safer.