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ITI develops online training for distracted driving

Instructional Technologies Inc. ad with truck driver in cab of vehicleInstructional Technologies Inc. (ITI), an online training solutions provider for the transportation industry, announced a new defensive driving program.

The company says it designed the new Pro-Defense series of courses to address the increasing amount and types of distractions that professional drivers face.

“The concept of defensive driving hasn’t changed much since the mid-1950s,” said Laura McMillan, vice president of training development at ITI. “In that time, the roads have gotten more congested, the vehicles faster, and the drivers more distracted and aggressive. The changes mean any single-subject defensive driving course is outdated. Yet, while many of the basic skills still apply to defensive driving, we knew we needed to re-think it with a modern, structured approach. The Pro-Defense program gives drivers the skills, focus and attitude they need to safely navigate modern roads, and protect themselves from the distracted drivers on them.”

A wide variety of research points to distracted and fatigued driving as leading causes of accidents, surpassing traditional causes such as excessive speed:

  • A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study cited driver distractions/inattention as the cause of 41% of accidents compared to 33% for speed or other driver performance issues. Other NHTSA data indicates that driver inattention accounted for 25% to as much as 78% of all crashes.
  • A National Academy of Sciences study about the riskiest factors faced by drivers indicates that many secondary tasks or activities, particularly resulting from the use of handheld electronic devices, are a detriment to driver safety. The results show that crash causation has shifted dramatically in recent years, with driver-related factors present in almost 90% of crashes.
  • A National Safety Council study concludes that 43% of Americans admit they don’t get enough sleep to mitigate safety risks on the road, acknowledging that fatigue diminishes their ability to think clearly and make informed decisions. A total of 16% admitted to having nodded off on the road in the previous month.

“This research led many of our customers to ask for a new approach to use when talking to drivers about defensive driving,” McMillan added. “Pro-Defense is designed to change behaviors and replace them with actions that are instinctual.”

The program is a structured system of eight courses that introduce defensive driving and address seven concepts using an easy to remember mental checklist. “This research led many of our customers to ask for a new approach to use when talking to drivers about defensive driving,” McMillan said. “Pro-Defense is designed to change behaviors and replace them with actions that are instinctual.”

ITI says its clients can incorporate the lessons into the online Pro-Tread driver training courses. All of the courses use an effective mastery learning training strategy, a method by which the student must ‘master’ each subject before moving to the next.

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Aaron Huff is the Senior Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. Huff’s career in the transportation industry began at a family-owned trucking company and expanded to CCJ, where for the past 14 years he has specialized in covering business and technology for online and print readers and speaking at industry events. A recipient of numerous regional and national awards, Huff holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Brigham Young University and a Masters Degree from the University of Alabama.