ITI Overhauls Defensive Driving Program

New PRO-DEFENSE courses from Instructional Technologies Inc. help drivers battle the increasing distractions found on the road today

Vancouver, Washington – August 9, 2017— Instructional Technologies Inc. (ITI), providers of a variety of training solutions for the transportation industry including the popular PRO-TREAD online driver training system, today announced the PRO-DEFENSE defensive driving program. The new series of courses is designed to address the increasing amount and types of distractions that professional drivers face on the road.

“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 The changes mean any single-subject defensive driving course is outdated.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 stated. “They realize that while the same basic principles apply, vehicles, traffic, and operations that require multi-tasking have all changed. Defensive driving is now increasingly about being able to read the road and the actions and intentions of other drivers. PRO-DEFENSE is designed to change behaviors and replace them with actions that are instinctual. The result is a safer fleet with fewer crashes and injuries.”

The PRO-DEFENSE program is a structured system of eight courses that introduce defensive driving and address seven concepts using an easy to remember mental checklist that spells out DEFENSE, including:

Distractions – Instant communication and information systems in today’s vehicles are a leading cause of distracted driving, but far from the only one.

Effective Communication – Driving predictably and signaling your intentions, as well as reading the intentions of other motorists, can help ensure safety.

Fatigue Management – Fatigued driving will have a serious impact on reaction times and the ability to operate safely.

Evaluating Space – Creating a safety zone and constantly checking surroundings is a proven approach to taking appropriate action to avoid collisions.

Navigating Hazards – Awareness of hazards like distracted drivers, low clearances, merging lanes and changing weather and road conditions means being aware of your surroundings.

Speed Management -- Driving at a safe speed for road and environmental conditions is one of the most important elements of defensive driving and a key to avoiding crashes.

Essential Planning – From Interstates to city streets to customer locations, maximizing safety requires planning effectively every day.

The mnemonic of PRO-DEFENSE is a great reminder for safety meetings, payroll stuffers and promotional items. ITI clients can also incorporate the lessons into a comprehensive curriculum of PRO-TREAD online driver training courses.

ITI is known for its effective mastery learning training strategy, an instructional method by which the student must 'master' each subject before moving to the next. The online strategy is proven to improve employee safety behaviors and provide defensible proof that students have mastered a topic. With ITI, fleets have the flexibility to use off-the-shelf PRO-TREAD lessons, engage ITI’s PRO-SERVICE team to develop customized content, and use ITI's secure hosting services for their own content.  A full whitepaper on defensive driving available here.

About Instructional Technologies Inc. (ITI)

Founded in 1995 and based in Vancouver, Washington, Instructional Technologies Inc. (ITI), providers of PRO-TREAD and a variety of custom training services, has delivered millions of safety, compliance and operational off-the-shelf and customized lessons across the transportation industry. ITI’s commitment to training is based on the principles of mastery learning, accurate record keeping, and up-to-date information. That ensures personnel have been effectively trained and detailed records kept.  Transportation and logistics companies choose ITI because of its powerful learning management system, flexible lesson methodologies, and engaging 3D animations that improve retention, ensure subject matter mastery and lower the total cost of training.   ITI is proud to be a veteran-owned business.

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