Distracted Driving Archives - VDI - Only in Simulation

Distracted Driving

February 12, 2019

Is Your Driving Simulator a Flip Phone?

Do you know someone who still uses a "flip phone"? I'm sure you do but what does that have to do with driving simulators? Any organization that owns a driving simulator knows that they are not inexpensive. It is only natural to want to use it as long as you can to maximize your investment, right? That's just what the owner of the flip phone says, "I paid good money for this and it still works". Well, simulator training effectiveness has changed dramatically over the years and if your system is older than the iPhone 5 (2013), you are seriously missing out on all the modern features. To make matters worse, your existing simulation vendor (unless it is us) does not provide you with periodic updates for features and fixes!  There are many $10,000+ "flip phone" grade simulators out there running antiquated Microsoft operating systems, non-HD screens and clunky cockpit drive-in movie style experiences for the teens.  If you want students to realize safety is important, then the system should demonstrate that you believe it is too! by Bob Davis, CEO & President of Virtual Driver Interactive  

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February 4, 2019

Peripheral Vision and Teen Tunnel Vision

I didn't see that coming!"  Famous last words after a crash.  So why is that teens have the best vision and the best reactions but absolutely the worst crash stats?  It comes down to scanning techniques. The more "focused" a person gets the more they tend to stare at a fixed point. Since teens realize they lack experience, they tend to narrowly focus their vision on the car in front of them. Good adult drivers realize that dangers and surprises tend to come from many places that are NOT in front of you: - the pedestrian about to walk out into the crosswalk, - the car approaching the intersection much too fast or - the motorcycle that is about to pass you unexpectedly that you can only see in the rear view mirror. So at VDI we decided that having a very wide field of view (sort of peripheral vision) is really, really important to learning safe driving.   For our simulators, wow, you can look left and right and even "turn your head" to see way down the street. And we measure if you did! When we are done with them they KNOW to look all around, left, right, mirrors, and even behind the car before they get in the car. So from now on they might not see the note you left them about taking out the dog or cleaning up their room, but they will see that pedestrian! by Bob Davis, CEO & President of Virtual Driver Interactive    

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January 16, 2019

Fleet Management: The Cars or the Drivers?

Fleet Management:  The Cars or the Drivers?

There are many publications, trade shows and job titles that are about "Fleet Safety or Fleet Management". Some years back we thought, "this is great, these people really care about crashes." Well, the answer is "sort of".

It is all too common for "fleet" to mean really only the cost of the vehicle, gas costs, leasing terms and other asset management metrics. I'm not saying those aren't important but they never seem to include the driver involved. Your employee, the one with the family that faithfully does their job every day. Where is the department that takes the same amount of time and attention to the employee as the key "asset" they need to protect? At this point we can divide up a typical large company. HR responsible for the people? Nope, not when it comes to driving. Fleet safety? Nope, they buy, sell, maintain and repair vehicles. Risk management (sounds right doesn't it), no chance except to the extent it affects insurance policies. You would think "legal" would care since multimillion dollar lawsuits are not uncommon in traffic related deaths. Never once hear of them focused on avoiding the crashes that created the liability. Worse yet, companies that DO have some driver training offer it to only those who "drive for the job". These are the same companies that often offer gym memberships; wellness programs; CPR courses and other services that are focused on keeping employees happy and healthy. And yet, a significant reason for an employee to miss work for an extended period of time is related to themselves or their family member being in a car crash.

Where is the driving wellness initiative?

by Bob Davis, CEO & President of Virtual Driver Interactive   Virtual Hazard Detection:  Corporate Fleet Driver Safety Training [embed]https://vimeo.com/112231426[/embed]    

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March 19, 2018
car crash

Is Behind the Wheel Behind the Times? Part 2: Financial Advantages

Reduce Crash Rates & Limit Liability Exposurecar crash Vehicle crash costs can be the difference between making and missing the number. So it’s not enough to provide the information – employers must be certain that the drivers learned crash avoidance and hazard detection skills necessary to protect the fleet. Evaluating Training Choices: Behind the Wheel: Behind the Wheel can be valuable in specific circumstances such as when an employee operates a specialty vehicle with unique characteristics like a garbage truck, semi-truck or bus. It is very valuable for novice drivers learning the basic handling of a car. But for normal adults driving for their jobs, there are much more effective ways of building their skills and keeping their attention. Behind the wheel training cannot be conducted for the higher risk situations that lead to crashes such as fog, night, snow or distracted driving scenarios.   Online Courses: While web training is simple, do “read and click” web-based courses truly translate to improved driving skills for adults? Online training is useful for novice drivers and is an effective, scalable way to deliver that information.   Driving Simulators: There is a long history of scientific justification for simulators and their value for training. Air Force, Marine Corps, the Army and Navy have trained their airmen, sailors and soldiers in the rules of engagement, judgment, combat, marksmanship and indirect fire on simulators. Likewise, driving simulators put drivers in dangerous situations and measure what they do to ensure competency. Also, there is compelling evidence that simulator-based instruction provides a high transfer of learning rate on new and experienced drivers.   US Post Office Case Study Andrea Maddicks USPSIn 2015, Andrea Maddicks, Transportation Manager at US Postal Office in Queens, NY/Triboro District, recognized the need for driver safety training for her fleet of drivers.  She turned to VDI to implement an innovative approach in reducing accidents in a cost-effective and engaging method.  After recommending and purchasing a VDI desktop driving simulator with the Virtual HD program, the Triboro District recognized a 7% reduction in 2016 in MVS driver motor vehicle accidents and has continued to see a reduction through May 2017.
“VDI’s driving simulators have proven to be a cost-effective and engaging way to provide refresher training before and after accidents to our Postal Carriers and Tractor/Trailer Operators", said Andre Maddicks.  "More importantly, the simulation-based driver safety training has considerably reduced accident rates in the Suncoast District during our trial period compared to the same period last year. In fact, we have had only one backing accident since we got the simulator in Tampa compared to last year when there were 26!”
Based on the success of the Triboro District simulator decreasing accident numbers, Andrea recommended that the Suncoast District in Tampa, FL pilot the Virtual HD program.   The pilot was proven successful in reducing crash rates and Andrea has now implemented simulation training in this district as well. So while you continue to battle the war between controlling costs and improving driver safety, consider the emerging technology solutions now available in your arsenal that will provide you with a tactical edge. Coming Soon:  Is Behind the Wheel Behind the Times? Business Operations Considerations By Bob Davis & Pam LeFevre, VDI

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March 9, 2018
Virtual Driving Essentials

Distracted Driving or Walking– Who is to Blame for the Spike in Pedestrian Fatalities?

Last week the Governors Highway Safety Association released a report stating that 2017 pedestrian fatalities were at a 25-year high.  What’s notable is that in recent years, the number of pedestrian fatalities has increased 28% while during the same time period other traffic deaths decreased.  Speculation for this alarming pedestrian death toll is linked to the growth in Smartphones nationwide.

Cellphone use among walkers and drivers is on the rise and so are the safety issues related to distracted walking.  We are all well aware of the deadly consequences of distracted driving.  But distracted walking?  Distracted PedestrianDrivers need to be prepared, now more than ever, for the distracted pedestrian who is oblivious to traffic around them creating hazards in their path.  Typing (texting) or reading a text alters a pedestrian's gait, speed, and walking pattern, according to a recent study.  Campaigns such as the The "Digital Deadwalkers" YouTube video distributed in 2016 humorously highlights what can happen when pedestrians focus on anything other than the task of walking.

If drivers are texting and pedestrians have their head down and are unaware of their surroundings, no wonder the rate of fatalities is on the rise.  Driver education needs to train on hazard avoidance with distracted pedestrians as a top contender on the hazard list. Virtual Driving Essentials

Virtual Driving Essentials is VDI’s teen driving program that includes training on complex driving situations such as intersections where most pedestrian injuries occur.  We train teen drivers about the consequences of driving or walking while distracted in a virtual world – which has proven to change their behavior.  There is no substitute for the shocking experience of feeling like you’ve accidently harmed another person.

For more information, check out our website or facebook page. By Pam LeFevre, VDI VP of Marketing [embed]https://vimeo.com/139967478[/embed] [embed]https://vimeo.com/108831040[/embed]

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March 5, 2018

Verified Vendor Virtual Driver Interactive Fulfills a $196,000 Federal Acquisition to USPS

Virtual Driver Interactive Receives a $196K Purchase Order from the United States Postal Service (USPS) Marking the Company’s Biggest Sale to a Federal Buyer - The USPS bought 20 of VDI’s driving simulators with Virtual Hazard Detection (VHD) program to continue the reduction of traffic accidents in their vehicle fleet.
March 1, 2018
Teen Drivers

Teens Are TRYING to Drive Safely!

There are so many misconceptions about new teen drivers.  After a teen driver has their first “incident”,  you can hear all the adults saying that "They were probably playing on their phone!”.   While this may be true in some instances, reality shows us that these drivers are simply not equipped with good information, and certainly lack actual experience. I am sure we all remember thinking we were the best drivers at 16!  Now after many years have passed, we have learned that was far from true. Does anyone really think an online driving course that quizzes you on a yield sign prepares you for complex left hand turns in traffic?  Did the driving school take them out at night, in the fog, or on a highway off ramp after it recently rained?  Of course not. The truth is new drivers lack a depth of experience to prepare them for the reality of driving. Think of any job.  Can you think of any task that kills more than 40,000 people per year?  Driving is a task and a very necessary one for most of us.  So now envision starting a new job with a company where you are doing to do a "task" like driving. They bring you in to a small group and give you 6 hours of practice on your first day (equivalent to 6 hours behind the wheel) and then they turn you loose. On the second day you are badly injured doing the very “task” they trained you on.  They would throw away the key on the employer for not better preparing you to accomplish the task safely - and yet, that is all the behind the wheel time most new teen drivers are required to take before receiving a license, scary right?  Cell phone or no cell phone, they just aren't ready for how complicated things have become.  I certainly don't know all the stats about how many of us "50-somethings" had to learn to drive on six lane highways but many teens now face that daily, among many other challenges with evolving technology at their fingertips.Teen Drivers What you can do! Look for ANY opportunity to mentor teens, provide guidance and offer training to make them safer.  Simulators can't be the only answer but they offer a chance to give extensive experience in situations that are otherwise too dangerous to practice in. Parents!  Remember they watch what YOU do when driving so do NOT use your cell phone in the car even when stopped at an intersection.  Check out the Resources page on our website for useful links and great articles offering parenting tips. For more information, visit our website and check out our Facebook page. All the best and keep your family safe! Bob Davis, CEO & President of VDI

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February 3, 2018

The More Your Employees Drive, the More Exposure Your Organization Has to Crashes

The climate today is such that the law says a company that entrusts an employee with a vehicle should know if the employee is qualified to drive it.”  – Jim Colangelo, VP PHH Arval
90% of car crashes are the result of human errorMotor vehicle crashes continue to be the #1 killer of the workplace fatalitiesAmerican work force1 and are usually more severe in nature than average worker’s comp claims.  Additionally, the risk varies by vehicle type with the number of non-fatal injuries being higher for passenger vehicles and the number of fatalities being higher for trucks.
  • Negligent Entrustment Lawsuits:  Organizations can be liable for millions of dollars for employees’ actions while driving for work, even when driving to and from work on personal time. The more your employees drive, the more exposure your organization has to crashes.
  • Workers Comp Losses:  Motor vehicle accidents are more severe than average worker’s comp claims.  More likely to include lost-time and encompass a disproportionate share of severe claim types.
  • Company Exposure:  Companies can be liable if an employee has an accident in a company vehicle during work hours but businesses also incur significant productivity and medical benefit losses associated with crashes in personal vehicles when the employee is not “on the clock”.
  • Brand Risk:  In 2012, a jury in Texas awarded $21M in damages to a woman struck by a Coca-Cola driver who was talking on her cell phone.
  • Distracted Driving:  Applies to all employees not just company-owned vehicle drivers.  Driving to/from work, client appointments, driving clients to lunch, rental cars/business trips, security guards making rounds, delivering equipment or supplies, etc.
Yearly companies perform extensive financial planning but do they plan/budget for losses from vehicle crashes?  Employees involved in crashes steal from the bottom line and escalate cost for Workman’s Comp, health care and legal. To mitigate risk, reduce liabilities & save profits, organizations need to provide training that truly changes behavior of risky decision making when driving. For more information, visit our website and check out our Facebook page. 1 According to Bureau of Labor Statistics by Pam LeFevre, VDI VP of Marketing [embed]https://vimeo.com/209607753[/embed]

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February 3, 2018

Does Simulation Training Really Work?

We are asked all the time if simulation-based training is really effective.  The answer is a YES18mlhzas2gysvjpgSimulation training dates back to 1950s and has proven to be an effective training tool for the military and first responders. Before pilots fly the world’s most advanced fighter jets, they fly first on simulators.    Emergency vehicle operators use simulators to learn safe driving maneuvers in emergency response situations without endangering themselves or the public. nhtsa-govSo we know simulation works for pilots and military but does it work for training new and experience drivers?  YES.   According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, “Driving simulators allow active learning by making it possible to give immediate feedback on driver performance.”  Moreover, a simulator provides a safe place to learn critical errors . . . without causing harm to the driver or others on the road. We now know that simulation is a viable tool for training drivers, but what about Virtual Driver Interactive simulation training?  Does it really work?    YES.  Both James Madison University and Lehigh Valley Network Hospital recently conducted studies using our simulators and  One Simple Decision training program.  Both found that the students completing the program stated that they are less likely to text or drive impaired in the future.   UPS conducted their own study while having their fleet drivers use our Virtual Hazard Detection (VHD) program and their crash rates reduced 38%.    The US Post Office uses VHD as well and has had only 1 backing accident since they implemented the simulator in their Tampa office compared to last year when there were 26. By augmenting behind-the-wheel training with simulation,  it provides endless hours of instruction that's proven to  reduce texting and driving as well as avoid collisions – it’s a technology-based tool that works.James Madison_impact of simulation (2) For more information, visit our website and check out our Facebook page. by Pam LeFevre, VDI VP of Marketing

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