No Live Shots Cause Of Accident?

With all of the hazards news crews face, a driving accident is probably the most preventable. The news regarding two ENG truck crashes came fast this year. One reportedly was rolled as it was driven on a highway ramp, the other was involved in an accident in front of another media entity. Both trucks, if not totaled, sustained heavy damage. The full extent of injuries to the employees involved is yet to be determined. Did you know that total injury damages from a vehicle accident may not be apparent for weeks? Many auto accident victims suffer from head, neck, and back issues long after the time of impact. Geesh.

For the company, loss of a truck means its shot capability goes out the window. Got three trucks? Lose one and you've cut live capability down by 33 percent. Live shot capability translates to productivity if your newscast depends on live coverage for its "sizzle."

Company vehicle safety is another one of those "safety culture" things. This author won't forget the interview with a vehicle operator who claimed he rode a bicycle to work daily for the better part of his 24 years of employment. In that time, nobody had ever noted seeing him driving his personal car. He drives a company ENG vehicle, and has never been asked to show or document whether he has a drivers license. Twenty-four years. Nobody knows if he's licensed.

Such tales are probably common in many companies. Who is the person driving the van you ride in? Is he/she qualified to drive a van? How do you know? If he/she seems uncomfortable with the task of driving, is there some sort of mechanism to report your perceptions? Some companies have an assumption of safe practices by not performing any examinations of data which would possibly uncover unsafe practices. No smashes, no problems.

Looking at the accidents referred to above from a law-enforcement point of view, one might speculate that excessive speed was a factor. It's a fact that excessive speed is a factor in every accident which involves loss of control in foul weather conditions and collisions where additional braking or braking distance would have prevented the accident. News vans going too fast? Who would think such a thing (heh, heh)? But we all know what goes on in the pursuit of a hot story --hot pursuit.

Some steps to increase driving safety:

I.Determine who is driving vehicles.
a.All drivers should have licenses on file.
b.Quarterly or bi-yearly record checks.
II.Uniform driver education.
a.By corporate or company policy.
b.Many insurance companies offer driver training.
III.Checks and balances.
a.Periodic manager ride-alongs.
b.Periodic random peer evaluations.

Steps to increase driver morale:

I.Employee input regarding vehicle issues.
a.Time needs to be given to clean equipment.
b.Standardization of, and expectations for neatness, cleanliness, normal wear issues, and equipment use, must be dictated and enforced by employer.
c.Vehicle and equipment maintenance time must be allowed on built-in, off-use days to allow for small-detail attentiveness.
II.Dispatchers must become familiar with field employee routines to understand challenges of time, speed, setup, performance, and stowage routines.

Steps to protect employer:

I.Employees must adapt to truck operator rules and habits from owned-car rules when in company vehicles.
II.Daily reorientation to vehicle height, clearance, and equipment clearance rules. Height signage is a must!
III.Orderly dispensing and stowage of equipment.
IV.Notification of vehicle troubles in a timely manner.
V.Dedicated, committed observance of all motor vehicle laws.

That's not just a vehicle on the road, it's your whole company's liability on the line. Those others on the road? Those are your clients.

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ENG Safety Memo