'Sticking' it to Vehicle Accidents
June 9, 2013
- This story and more in the June online edition of Knowledge Magazine - the Official Safety Magazine of the U.S. Army.
FORT KNOX, Ky. (June 9, 2013) - Often, a simple approach to safety can be effective. What started as an aggressive, revamped vehicle backing safety program evolved into a unique initiative that reduced Fort Knox transportation motor pool nontactical vehicle accidents by 50 percent. Here's how we did it:
For several years, there was a rash of fender benders in the TMP. Although these were minor accidents that only damaged vehicles, personnel from the Fort Knox Directorate of Logistics and contract employees realized something had to change. After carefully studying the mishaps, it became apparent there was a common type of accident that involved driver error - improperly backing a vehicle.
We decided to revise our vehicle backing safety program and implemented several measures such as requiring all contract drivers to "combat" park (when they pull out of a spot, they are facing forward). Additionally, prior to backing up, bus and tractor-trailer drivers had to radio the dispatch office before exiting their vehicles and performing their 360-degree clearance checks. Once drivers reported an "all clear" to dispatch, they were given the OK to proceed. Dispatch personnel also reminded drivers to use a ground guide.
To date, these small steps have removed all backing accidents for DOL-contracted drivers. For our team, this was an indication that implementing easy guidelines would produce the positive effects we were seeking.
We continued to look for other ways to reduce nontactical vehicle accidents for all drivers, not just those who are contracted. With more than 700 vehicles assigned throughout Fort Knox, we knew it wouldn't be feasible or practical for the drivers to radio dispatch for clearance. So we looked for an innovative solution and decided an "in-the-face" reminder to follow Army regulations might do the job. A 50-cent sticker/decal proved a winning solution.
After affixing decals to the fleet of TMP vehicles that stated, "Look before backing! Use ground guides, or dismount & perform a 360 degree walk around. Ensure adequate clearance & safety! Fort Knox Reg: 385-10, Para 4-4," the number of backing accidents dropped to zero for all drivers. During the last quarter of fiscal 2012, the number of overall accidents has dropped an average of 50 percent, and the total cost of vehicle repair has dropped more than 50 percent.
All of these initiatives have been a joint effort among Fort Knox DOL, the contracting office representative and the contractor with a common goal in mind - preventing dangerous and costly accidents. We're in this together, and collaboration and safety sense go a long way!