I’ll take ‘Education and Training’ for the safety, Alex

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“The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent Federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation – railroad, highway, marine and pipeline. The NTSB determines the probable cause of the accidents and issues safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents.” 

The NTSB is all about safety. It’s in their name, even. The agency plays an important role in investigating loss-of-life commercial crashes of all kinds, and telling future operators how to avoid repeating tragic accidents.

“The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.”

The FMCSA is also safety-oriented. As a matter of fact, the “about us” portion of the agency website uses the word “safety” no less than 8 times in the opening paragraph. Suffice it to say, safety is the general idea here.

Both agencies are well-funded and abundantly staffed. Both have websites with basic mission statements – the NTSB has a “Most Wanted List” of issues they believe are the most important safety recommendations for 2017-2018.

The FMCSA’s mission statement of preventing CMV fatalities and injuries is furthered by a 91-word synopsis of the strategy they wish to employ in order to increase public safety.

And while the word safety is abundantly over-used in both agencies’ manifestoes of mission, of purpose, there are two words that are almost completely overlooked.

Education and training.

Fun fact — education and training increase safety exponentially. Crazy, right?Fun fact — education and training increase safety exponentially. Crazy, right?

The word education appears once in the NTSB Top Ten and it regards drug abuse awareness. The phrase “targets educational messages” uses up three whole spaces in the 91-word FMCSA strategy.

Training makes two brief forays into the NTSB list – both regarding aviation “loss of control” accidents. It does not appear even once in the FMCSA mission statement or strategy explication.

Clearly, something is being missed here. Any coherent business owner will tell you education and training are your most important safety features, in any setting, commercial or otherwise. If people know how to do the things they’re supposed to be doing, they do them well, which increases their safety exponentially. How is this being left out of the safety discussion?

All the data-driven auto-technology in the world still can’t compete with a well trained, experienced driver. Let’s get back to the basics of safety, and teach people to drive the trucks, instead of having the trucks drive the operator. It’s the safe thing to do.

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