HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 13, 2013--
On Friday, August 9, Travelers and Northland
Insurance, a division of Travelers with more than 65 years in the
transportation industry, in partnership with the Virginia Tech
Transportation Institute (VTTI), co-hosted a symposium where research on
some of the top concerns of the trucking industry was discussed with
fleet managers and insurance brokers. Topics were selected through a
VTTI poll of fleet managers, and focused on the impact of driver
wellness, managing distraction, hours of service regulations and new
technology on safety.
“At Travelers and Northland, it is important for us to advance
strategies that can help keep commercial drivers safer,” said Chris
Hayes, Director of Transportation Services, Travelers. “The goal of this
program was to outline solutions to help fleet managers address their
most significant concerns and improve overall driver safety. The
research discussed was conducted by the National Surface Transportation
Safety Center for Excellence, where Travelers and Northland work with
VTTI to continue advancing the science of roadway safety.”
During the symposium, workshops were led by VTTI experts and Travelers
claim professionals at Travelers’ Claim University to provide fleet
managers and trucking industry leaders with tools to help improve driver
safety. In addition, Travelers representatives walked through an
accident reconstruction display, discussed tactics for preventing cargo
theft and shared ways fleet managers can help minimize risks. Tours of
the Travelers’ Heavy Equipment Laboratory were led by the company’s
claim professionals and featured discussions on the risks associated
with operating large vehicles as well as tips to reduce potential losses.
Driver Wellness Impacts Safety
Driver wellness was a topic
in many of today’s workshops, particularly when it came to fatigue. Dr.
Erin Mabry, Research Associate for the Center for Truck and Bus Safety
at VTTI, focused on how safety may be impacted by common health concerns
such as fatigue and sleep apnea. One in four commercial motor vehicle
(CMV) drivers in the U.S. may be at risk for moderate to severe sleep
apnea, and the majority of sufferers are undiagnosed and untreated,
according to VTTI.
“The typical lifestyle of a CMV truck driver may include irregular work
and sleep hours, physical inactivity, poor eating habits, and mental and
physical stress,” Mabry said. “Health interventions that target weight
management are critical for addressing the many components of poor
health that is widespread among the population.”
Mabry outlined the steps fleet managers can take to implement a
successful wellness program, including offering physical and clinical
testing, health education, accessible health clinics and exercise
coaching and monitoring. Information from DrivingHealthy.org
also was highlighted as it is a resource drivers can easily access, with
updated information on maintaining a driver medical card, developing an
exercise regimen, and making healthy food choices on the road.
Distracted Driving & Effective Use of Safety Technology
theme covered in the workshops was the impact of technology on CMV
safety. Dr. Jeffrey Hickman, a specialist in behavior-based safety
research at VTTI, focused on ways that trucking operations can minimize
distraction. He suggested training and education, establishing a policy
defining distractions and the consequences for each, securing management
buy-in, onboard safety monitoring systems, and crash avoidance systems
as tools to assist in curbing the distracted driving issue.
“Drivers need to be educated about the dangers of distracted driving and
which activities are considered distractions,” Hickman said. “If drivers
engage in distracted driving after training and education, this suggests
a motivation deficit. This is when a distracted driving policy or other
technologies should be considered.”
Dr. Gregory M. Fitch, Senior Research Associate in the Center for Truck
and Bus Safety at VTTI, discussed trends in safety technologies
available for CMVs. According to Fitch, 78 percent of crashes involve a
driver not looking forward at the onset of the lead vehicle braking.
Forward Collision Warning systems with active braking can direct
drivers’ attention back to the road to avoid an incident. These systems
are now even able to fully stop a truck if the driver fails to do so.
Hours of Service Regulations & Sleep Requirements
S. Bowman, group leader for Advanced Systems & Applications in the
Center for Truck and Bus Safety at VTTI, also discussed risks associated
with driver drowsiness and fatigue and suggested ways to monitor and
manage the problem, including maintaining more predictable work hours,
getting adequate sleep before driving, taking rest breaks and naps and
utilizing an online fatigue management program for drivers. Susan
Soccolich, a VTTI statistician, discussed fatigue and the new
hours-of-service (HOS) rules. Driver drowsiness, HOS research and the
safety impact of HOS regulations are among the reasons for the recent
change in rules. Soccolich showed the benefits for drivers and companies
using new technology such as Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) to
help the driver stay awake, alert, and compliant with the latest
For more information, access to the Roadmap
to Transportation Safety and tools to help manage driver risks,
please visit www.Travelers.com.
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV)
is a leading property casualty insurer selling primarily through
independent agents and brokers. The company’s diverse business lines
offer its global customers a wide range of coverage in the auto,
settings. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has
more than 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately $26
billion in 2012. For more information, visit www.travelers.com.
Source: The Travelers Companies, Inc.
The Travelers Companies, Inc.