Develop Methods to Reduce or Prevent Backing CrashesAuthor/Presenter: Cooper, Douglas L.; Duffy, Sarah; Orrick, Phyllis; Ragland, David R.
Workplace motor vehicle incidents at Caltrans are a significant cause of injuries, employee lost time, and property damage. Because backing crashes are major contributors to motor vehicle incidents, identifying and promoting methods of reducing backing accidents is a top priority. According to internal Caltrans’ data, 92.3% of workplace backing crashes were preventable by the driver. Backing crashes are the single largest category of preventable crashes, representing 30% of preventable crashes in the Caltrans fleet. From 1998 through 2007, preventable backing crashes cost Caltrans at least $5.45 million in vehicle repairs alone. The Traffic Safety Center (TSC) at the University of California-Berkeley completed this study, which examines Caltrans crash data from the Safety Information Management System (SIMS) and identifies trends in backing-related crashes. The findings describe how these crashes are distributed across Caltrans sites, various work locations, and among vehicle types. This study also presents a summary of a literature review of technological solutions to backing crashes, a summary of results from a Caltrans backing prevention technology pilot, and an outline for a proposed Field Operational Test of promising backing technologies. Based on careful review of Caltrans data and backing incident counter-measures, the study evaluates current Caltrans safety policies relevant to backing crashes and offers recommendations for strengthening them.