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Developing methods to reduce and prevent vehicle backing accidents

Doug Cooper, Sarah Duffy, David Ragland and Glenn Shor

No 207614, 50th Annual Transportation Research Forum, Portland, Oregon, March 16-18, 2009 from Transportation Research Forum

Abstract: This purposes of this report are to (1) help the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) isolate causes of workplace backing collisions and (2) suggest methods of preventing backing incidents that result in accidents and injuries. While most backing collisions do not result in severe injuries, the large number of backing incidents make this type of crash a significant safety and cost problem. Data for the past 10 years was extracted from the Caltrans accident database and analyzed in order to isolate trends in backing-related collisions including incidence rates in comparison to other collision types, incident locations, and vehicle types, with particular attention to backing incidents reported as preventable. Backing crashes at Caltrans are deemed preventable when the driver could have averted the collision. Backing incidents represent the largest proportion of all preventable incidents at Caltrans; annually an average 30% of backing accidents are deemed preventable. After conducting an analysis of backing causal factors and incident trends, a thorough review of backing counter-measures at Caltrans was conducted. Based on an assessment of vehicle warning systems in place on Caltrans vehicles and of new developments in radar, sonar, video, and warning alarm devices, it was determined that video systems are a feasible technology that Caltrans should consider installing in several of its maintenance vehicles. Based on interviews with Caltrans district safety officers and a survey of safety management practices and policies, it was also determined that designing and enforcing systems of accountability are essential to ensuring employees follow backing safety protocol. Enforcement of driving related safety laws has been shown to have a significant effect on driver behavior because the general driving public has learned that there will be consequences for violating traffic laws through visible enforcement and publicity. The present review summarizes key findings on what backing-related technologies are most appropriate for the Caltrans fleet and reinforces the concept that implementing tougher enforcement policies and making safety and accountability key topics at tailgate and staff meetings will encourage a culture of workplace safety and will significantly reduce preventable backing accidents at Caltrans.

Keywords: Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies; Research Methods/ Statistical Methods; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009-03
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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.207614

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Handle: RePEc:ags:ndtr09:207614