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Defensive Driving—Passenger Management

Defensive driving is driving so as to prevent accidents in spite of the incorrect actions of others or adverse driving conditions, such as weather, traffic, lighting, vehicle or road condition, or the driver’s physical or mental state. The defensive driver assumes that other drivers may make mistakes and is on guard in the event an error is made.

Your safety program should include defensive driver training on the proper way to manage passengers. Passengers can distract the driver, physically interfere with the driver, restrict the driver’s freedom to maneuver aggressively for accident avoidance, and injure themselves by not sitting properly in designated seating positions. Whatever the case, the driver must manage the passengers to avoid such problems.

The following are management areas that should be addressed regarding defensive driving and tips to provide to your drivers to help them become defensive drivers.

Management Issues

Have drivers been trained to manage passengers for safe transportation?
Do you periodically provide retraining?
Do you know if your drivers are practicing safe passenger management?
Do you periodically have qualified personnel ride with your drivers to assess their driving habits?
Do you require drivers to make pre-trip announcements to passengers requesting their cooperation in maintaining safe conditions?
Do vehicles comply with applicable federal and state regulations regarding safe design and required equipment?
Do you inform customers of the need to follow rules of conduct and to act safely when they charter a bus?
Are drivers aware of the concept of a ‘preventable accident’? (A preventable accident is one in which the driver failed to exercise every reasonable precaution to prevent the accident. This is irrespective of the extent of property damage and/or personal injury, to whom it occurred or the location of the accident.)

Driver Tips

To be a defensive driver when dealing with passengers, your drivers should:

  • Not drive if passengers are in an unstable position. The driver might feel restricted to aggressively brake or steer to avoid an accident.
  • Not drive if standing passengers are too close, as they may fall onto the driver, causing the driver to lose control.
  • Make announcements informing passengers of their responsibility to act safely.
  • Stop the vehicle, if passengers refuse to cooperate, until the driver is satisfied that it is safe to continue driving.

Copyright ©2005, ISO Services Properties, Inc. CH 10-53
The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“The Hanover”) specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of  any recommendations or advice  contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with The Hanover. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.
LC 10-374