In February, Fermilab Security responded to 10 vehicle accidents, five of which were a result of improper backing. While there were no injuries reported, the estimated damage amount for these accidents was $21,923. A pedestrian-versus-vehicle backing near miss took place at Wilson Hall in January.
Backing into cars or stationary objects has become the leading traffic violation at Fermilab, resulting in 50 percent of vehicle accidents in the past few months.
Backing collisions are usually caused by inattention, distraction and not looking 360 degrees around the vehicle prior to backing. Driving in reverse requires drivers to continually check at least three mirrors and perhaps even twist and turn to see out of the back window. The biggest hazard for most of us here at Fermilab is getting hurt in a traffic accident.
Immediate traffic safety improvements are needed to prevent vehicle accidents. In the recent past Fermilab has taken the following steps to improve traffic safety:
- Established that personnel may not drive any motor vehicle on the Fermilab site while using an electronic communication device, including hands-free devices.
- Included progressive discipline for parking and moving violations as described in FESHM 10160.
- Set up an online training course titled Traffic Safety Awareness, which is required for all employees and users.
- Affixed stickers to laboratory vehicles to remind drivers to check 360 degrees around vehicles before backing.
As spring approaches and we are out and about more, we have to be aware of our surroundings while operating any vehicle, and especially when backing, to prevent vehicle accidents.