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Monday, June 24, 2013

Below 100/Emergency Driving


I watched the police car navigating through traffic with its lights and siren on. There were no “near misses” and no screeching brakes. The siren pitch changed as the squad car approached the multi-lane intersection and slowed almost to a stop. I could see the officer “clearing the lanes” as he verified that all the traffic had stopped. I noted the officer signaled his turn and was wearing his seat belt. The squad car passed through the intersection, increased its speed, and the siren pitch changed back to wail. The same process was repeated at the next intersection. It was smooth, deliberate, and professional.

The scene could have been used as a training video for the “Below 100” program. Below 100 is an initiative to get the number of police officer line-of-duty deaths to below 100 per year. The five tenets to the program are: Wear Your Vest, Wear Your Seat Belt, Watch Your Speed, WIN (What’s Important Now), and Complacency Kills.

Police driving is at the heart of four of the five tenets. Captain Travis Yates of the Tulsa Oklahoma police department is a Below 100 spokesman. Captain Yates connects the management of squad car speed with the need to treat each intersection as “an environmental change.” He says: “You better adjust to them (the traffic) because they are NOT going to adjust to you.” and “There is no room for error; you cannot make a mistake at an intersection!” Crashes at intersections often result in side-impact collisions, and that type of crash kills citizens and cops.

He pokes fun at citizens texting and using their smartphones while driving and then roars back at the cops about talking on their cell phones and typing on their computers while driving. “Our computers are even bigger!” he says. Yates ties the themes of invincibility and complacency together, punctuates his message by showing in-squad video recordings that leaves groups of experienced officers stone-cold silent, and then asks “So What’s Important Now?”

The message aligns with LMCIT loss control efforts and with our experience. Talk about the Below 100 initiative at your next roll call or training. More information on Below 100 can be found at www.below100.com

Update
In our last blog we mentioned the California POST Board Safe Driving Campaign video series “Did You Know?” On June 15 one of their training videos entitled “Code 97” won an Emmy Award last week from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Congratulations to the team working on the venture.

Remember:

                                                Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next...It’s Not Part of the Job: Slips, Trips, and Falls in Public Safety

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.

Rob

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