Research Papers

Distraction in the Heavy Truck Industry in Canada — Drop It And Drive™ (DIAD) Program

Version 1
Date added July 10, 2018
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Category 2018 CARSP XXVIII Victoria
Tags Policy and Practice, Session 5A
Author/Auteur Bowman, Robertson
Stream/Volet Policy and Practice

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)

5A - Bowman

Abstract

Distraction has emerged as a prevalent contributing factor in fatal crashes. Due to their size and mass, heavy trucks are more often involved in multi-vehicle crashes which result in a larger number of fatalities and injuries. Heavy trucks accounted for just 4% of all registered vehicles in Canada in 2014 (Statistics Canada 2015), but were estimated to be involved in 15% of highway deaths each year (TIRF 2015). Distraction is a substantial concern for the trucking industry, governments, and the public, however, data about this problem are limited. First, baseline data was gathered about distraction in the heavy truck industry through the use of pre-seminar online surveys designed to gauge driver knowledge, workplace practices and sources of distraction. A second objective was to engage employees during the seminar to identify distractions in the workplace, and various strategies were utilized to help them understand the risks and consequences resulting from distraction. Finally, these seminars helped employers and employees develop a better understanding of the kinds of prevention and workplace safety strategies and education strategies that were most relevant to their industry. Seminars increased awareness of priorities and the types of messages and practical examples that were personally relevant to all staff. The audience for these seminars included heavy truck drivers, dispatchers, plant managers and administrators. 1. Current research and best practices informed the development of online pre- and post-surveys to identify distractions, trends in workplace practices and distraction-related events, and measure outcomes. These data increased understanding of driver experiences, safety priorities, and day-to-day activities contributing to distraction. 2. Pre-seminar customization calls were conducted with key staff to tailor seminars, identify priority issues, and select activities relevant to the workplace. Seminars ranged from one to four hours. Interactive and practical exercises increased motivation and built buy-in for relevant measures to address distractions. 3.Survey and seminar data were synthesized to develop a summary report that highlighted practical strategies and tools to minimize distractions in their workplace. Results identified which strategies contributed to change and the types of exercises and knowledge transfer methods that were most appropriate. A synthesis of the anonymous surveys was provided to employers to inform the development of workplace safety practices, policies, educational opportunities, and employee wellness strategies. Related road safety educational resources were shared based on issues that were identified, including fatigue, wildlife, drug-impaired driving and in-vehicle technology. Both short-term and long-term opportunities to improve workplace safety were provided for consideration. Seminar outcomes provided insight into ways that distractions were being addressed in the workplace and ways that safety policies had evolved to address this issue. Collectively, the deliverables and outcomes contributed to more robust data to guide educational strategies. Lessons learned included the types of distractions that were most prevalent in the heavy truck industry, the importance of tailoring strategies to workplaces, and the value of engaging staff in the development of policies and practices.