June 16, 2008 | Mark Paradies

Monday Accident and Lesson Learned: Fatal Traffic Accident

From an OPG Safety Alert …

S192 Img1
SAFETY ALERT NO. 192: FEW SECOND LAPSE WHILE DRIVING CAN KILL!
Type of Activity: Transport – Land
Type of Injury: Crash injuries

A 3rd party light vehicle interposed between a convoy of four company vehicles travelling towards the oilfields. Subsequently one of the company vehicles swerved onto the oncoming lane into the path of a 3rd party heavy vehicle. This resulted in a head-on collision. The company driver was thrown from the car onto the hardshoulder. He was taken to the nearby hospital, where he died shortly after arrival. The company driver had been on duty for approx. 12 hours at the time of the accident. The investigation team concluded that driver fatigue is one of the main causes of the accident.

What Went Wrong?:

We sometimes seem to think that driving a car is a simple thing to do. Yet, worldwide every year some 1,200,000 people die in road safety accidents. It is estimated that approximately 15 – 20% of road transport accidents are fatigue-related. Why is it that we get such a “simple” thing so seriously wrong so many times? Maybe driving is not such a “simple” thing after all. This accident shows that a few seconds’ lapse in attention while you are driving can kill you. Safe driving is hard work and requires a well-rested driver.

Corrective actions and Recommendations:

Drivers:

1.Refuse to drive when you feel not fully rested;
2.Advise management of any disability or condition that could prevent you from driving safely;
3.Pull over at a safe location when you feel sleepy – a 15 minute nap often helps;
4.Ask your supervisor to check that your driving and duty time are within the company requirements if you can not meet any of the following:

Do not drive more than 10 hours per day;

Do not drive for more 7 days in a row;

Take a 15 minute rest break every 2 hours.

Supervisors:

1. Always check whether the driver is fit to drive;
2. Inform drivers they have the right to refuse to drive when they feel not fully rested or alert;
3. Encourage drivers to pull over at a safe location for a 15 minute nap when they feel sleepy;
4. Ensure you know and apply the driving and duty time requirements in the mandatory company EP standard.

Journey Manager:

1. Assure the journey is within required time limits;
2. Have available a back-up plan in case of delays.

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