Heavy vehicle driver training can include specific components to help detect and interact with cyclists and pedestrians around the vehicle. Telematics or other technology to monitor behaviour and incidents can also be used to complement training. This allows for training opportunities to correct potentially problematic driving habits or behaviours.
Protect cyclists and other vulnerable road users (VRUs) by providing heavy vehicle drivers with equipment, education and coaching to improve safety performance.
As a part of its Cycling Safety Strategy, Lafarge Canada Inc. has introduced a series of measures to increase safety for VRUs.
In addition to the standard driver training, Lafarge also requires drivers to complete a defensive driver training program. The defensive driver training program addresses how to apply defensive driving principles to interactions with cyclists and other VRUs and has been a Lafarge standard required by all ready-mix cement truck drivers to complete on a bi-annual basis since 2007. This training is also a key factor in each root cause analysis following incidents.
In 2017, Lafarge introduced a seven-mirror configuration with rigid, tripod-style fender mirrors and blind spot reduction training. The new mirrors were designed to better resist incidental movement, thereby maintaining the intended orientation of the mirrors and improving visibility. Blind spot reduction training was introduced along with the seven-mirror setup to ensure drivers properly orient and sufficiently monitor their mirrors to maximize visibility and awareness. The training involves documented knowledge verification along with practical application and support in the field. In 2019, the seven-mirror setup was made part of Lafarge’s new truck specification and the blind spot reduction training made up a core element of the driver training program across all of eastern Canada.
In-cab cameras with data analytics have also been installed on Lafarge trucks to facilitate coaching. A dual camera is installed at the top of the windshield in the driver cab, with one camera facing outward and the other facing inward toward the driver. When the vehicle is in operation, the cameras are on standby and do not record unless prompted by a trigger, such as a sudden deceleration or acceleration. When prompted, the cameras begin recording a 12-second clip. Clips taken from the cameras are then analyzed on a monthly basis for key behaviours (such as turning too fast – drivers are instructed to turn at 15 km/h) and incidents (such as running a red light), which are classified by a severity index. Each driver has a running score based on how they drive. Depending on scores or incident severity, drivers are provided with feedback, coaching and, if necessary, retraining to resolve issues.
Data and lessons learned
Lafarge has found the new mirror standards and the blind spot reduction training have been effective complements to the defensive driver training program. Drivers continue to provide positive feedback about increased visibility resulting from the blind spot reduction training. Lafarge has also found the in-cab cameras to be extremely impactful, elevating the safety performance standard of drivers with their presence alone. The cameras have increased awareness of near misses and allowed management to actively engage coaching prior to a potential incident. However, many drivers and unions have strongly opposed this technology as a breach of privacy. Consequently, Lafarge has emphasized the use of cameras as a positive coaching tool to assist drivers, rather than a means to punish. Additional data and lessons learned will be provided as findings become available.
Hickman & Hanowski (2010) assessed the safety benefits of a commercially available onboard safety monitoring system. Participating drivers drove a truck installed with data collection equipment for 17 consecutive weeks. During the first four weeks, or the baseline phase, onboard systems recorded safety-related events but did not provide feedback to drivers and safety managers did not have access to the events recorded. During the following 13 weeks, or the intervention phase, onboard systems were activated to provide feedback to drivers and safety managers had access to the events recorded. 50 onboard systems were installed in 50 trucks for both participating carriers – Carrier A, long-haul carriers primarily delivering dry goods, and Carrier B, local/short-haul carriers primarily delivering beverage and paper goods. The assessment found that:
- Carrier A (long-haul carriers) significantly reduced the mean rate of recorded safety-related events per 10,000 miles travelled from the baseline phase to the intervention phase by 37 per cent
- Carrier B (local/short-haul carriers) significantly reduced the mean rate of recorded safety-related events per 10,000 miles travelled from the baseline phase to the Interventions phase by 52.2 per cent
The report concludes that the results of the assessment suggest the combination of video monitoring and behavioural coaching was responsible for the reduction in the mean rate of safety-related events per 10,000 miles travelled at Carriers A and B.
In the future, Lafarge will continue to leverage new technology to enhance the safety performance of its vehicles and drivers.