Develop Methods to Reduce or Prevent Backing Crashes


Workplace motor vehicle incidents at Caltrans are a significant cause of injuries, employee lost time, and property damage. Because backing crashes are major contributors to motor vehicle incidents, identifying and promoting methods of reducing backing accidents is a top priority. According to internal Caltrans’ data, 92.3% of workplace backing crashes were preventable by the driver. Backing crashes are the single largest category of preventable crashes, representing 30% of preventable crashes in the Caltrans fleet. From 1998 through 2007, preventable backing crashes cost Caltrans at least $5.45 million in vehicle repairs alone. The Traffic Safety Center (TSC) at the University of California Berkeley completed this study, which examines Caltrans crash data from the Safety Information Management System (SIMS) and identifies trends in backing-related crashes. The findings describe how these crashes are distributed across Caltrans sites, various work locations, and among vehicle types. This study also presents a summary of a literature review of technological solutions to backing crashes, a summary of results from a Caltrans backing prevention technology pilot, and an outline for a proposed Field Operational Test of promising backing technologies. Based on careful review of Caltrans data and backing incident counter-measures, the study evaluates current Caltrans safety policies relevant to backing crashes and offers recommendations for strengthening them

Publication date: 
May 1, 2009
Publication type: 
Technical Report