‘Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome’: US Marine to address YDF 2018

13.57 | 14 March | | | 23 comments


A former US Marine will address delegates at Young Driver Focus 2018 about the challenges of being on the ‘frontline of road safety’.

Nicholas Worrell, from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the USA, will deliver a keynote presentation at YDF 2018 – following roads minister Jesse Norman’s opening address and Q&A session.

Nicholas Worrell’s 23 years of government service began with an eight-year stint in the US Marine Corps, and has continued at the NTSB where he has worked as a public affairs officer and safety advocate.

He has served as the NTSB’s director of advocacy since 2015, and is responsible for coordinating the agency’s ‘most wanted list’ of safety improvements and promoting the adoption of safety recommendations issued to US State Governments.

He also engages with industry, local government, youth safety leaders, educators, and international audiences about the NTSB’s safety investigations and resulting recommendations.

In his presentation, Nicholas Worrell will bring personal and professional perspectives to the work of ‘frontline safety troops’.

He will walk through some approaches that the NTSB advocates in the US to improve young and novice driver safety.

His personal approach, straight out of an unofficial US Marine Corps slogan, is to ‘Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome’ in the war against a common enemy – road deaths and injuries.

Young Driver Focus 2018
Now in its fifth year, the Young Driver Focus conference examines current and future thinking with regard to the vital issue of reducing crashes and casualties among young drivers and their passengers.

Young Driver Focus is jointly organised by FirstCar, Road Safety GB and the RAC Foundation, in association with the young driver insurer ingenie, the event’s headline sponsor.

The 2018 edition of Young Driver Focus is once again being held at the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall on 25 April 2018.

The cost of attending is £150 for Road Safety GB & Academy members; £175 for other attendees from the public sector, the third sector, academia and ADIs; and £195 for all other attendees (all plus VAT). The delegate fee includes lunch and all other refreshments.

Click here to register to attend, or for more information contact Sally Bartrum on 01379 650112.

Comments

Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report a reader comment

Order by Latest first | Oldest first | Highest rated | Lowest rated

    I know this continues to be ‘off thread’ but just responding to your comment, Hugh. Well, yes, of course an immediate situation is an immediate situation but, in my view, properly managed and of course, with the right position and speed (and attention etc) the actual number is so minimal as to be discountable. Back to the space and time bit – and of course the aforementioned Emergency Evasion type course – that if they are that bad I would not want to be there. There are the rare unpredictable situations, such as swans flying low across a motorway which caused a fatal some years ago or, the totally unavoidable one of approaching a right-hand bend only to find a vehicle in the opposite direction going too fast and exciting wide and out of control head-on on your side of the road, but otherwise it is that valuable element of space and time which gives adequate time to respond.

    I know that apart from those sort of exceptions if I did have an incident and, for example, went back to the police driving instructors I knew, I know I would be met with the fixed stare which would say, ‘How did you get into that situation in the first place?’ Also remembering, as one of them once remarked, ‘The art is not knowing when to fast; it’s knowing when to go slowly’, which also means that the better driver is often slower than the average in some situations. By all means get my contact details from Nick and we can have further discusion/s if you wish.


    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)
    +1

    Quite agree Nigel about the majority of road situations being able to be covered by anticipation and observation etc. but it’s the remaining minority of situations that can’t and which end up as accident statistics and where, in my view, quicker and therefore shorter stopping distances would have prevented them. ps Aren’t what you call ‘immediate situations’, the trigger for all collisions anyway?


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)
    --1

    Rob you say that, ‘ All I am looking for when I attend a conference are some ‘golden nuggets’ which I can take away to support my raison d’etre which is to minimise risk of death or serious injury in a road crash caused by young drivers.’
    Then may I suggest that ADIs, and therefore particularly the DVLA, take on board the principle of taking ownership of safety, which is a serious golden nugget in itsef. That alone could safe a lot of young lives. See: http://roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/behavioural-change-course-new-dates-and-venues-confirmed/. It could also save a lot ot time and money going to conferences etc.


    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)
    0

    Back on thread – is there any point in bringing an American over to talk when they have such a bad road safety record?

    I am unconcerned as to whether Nicholas or any other speaker for that matter is inspirational or indeed where they come from. All I am looking for when I attend a conference are some ‘golden nuggets’ which I can take away to support my raison d’etre which is to minimise risk of death or serious injury in a road crash caused by young drivers. The true professionals will find what it is that can make the difference through research, conference attendance, webinars, listening to experts etc. I have learned masses from Liz Box at the RAC Foundation, Shaun Helman at TRL, Fiona Fylan at Brainbox Research all experts in their respective fields. They get frustrated that their expertise and great work is not recognised nor acted upon. Shaun Helman has been advocating GDL for years. He is also a strong believer in stopping Safe Drive, Stay Alive style presentations.
    I have also learned masses from ADIs in my team. I have learned masses from the young people whom we teach – not least that cannabis is more of a problem than alcohol! I have learned that if I chip away at DVSA, by way of example, changes do eventually take place, but ultimately it is government policy which drives these organisations.
    No one person has all the great ideas or the understanding. I have been around for far too long to expect that collaboration across a range of organisations to achieve a common goal is an ideal likely to be achieved.
    All I can is my best to achieve my goals, doing what I can to remove constraints imposed by the bureaucrats, and believing I am making a difference because I open my mind to any idea and implement what is proven to work. Note ‘proven’ – not something I think might work but which evidence shows will work. Nicholas may or may not have a golden nugget – I will listen and hope. However, I would be surprised if conference organisers would bring speakers from afar if they did not believe he/she would bring some significant value. If I don’t hear Nicholas speak I will never know whether he has ‘golden nuggets’ to share. American, Australian, Swedish, German, Dutch really doesn’t matter – it’s what he has to say that counts.


    Rob Tillier, Yateley, Hants
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)
    +1

    Fine, Hugh. If you have highly trained police drivers in possible ‘immediate’ situations then I will go with that. But, for me, in normal everyday driving situations, I feel it should not be necessary.

    As mentioned in a previous thread, I had a conversation with a civilian instructor who ran advanced road driving courses for owners of performance cars. Within that he ran, typically American, an Emergency Evasion Course. I said if they were that bad I would not want to be there.

    I am sure you will agree that the majority of road situations can be covered with good observation (the clues are always there) and anticipation. A calm, thoughtful and well planned approach giving options and time to respond is generally best. Back to the space and time thing. They’re your friends and it’s best to keep it that way. In general, if the brain is properly engaged, there is plenty of time to relax the throttle, cover the brake if necessary and either apply it smoothly or, just go back to the throttle.


    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
    +2

    If I’m allowed another comment, that’s all noted Nigel, but driving with the left foot hovering over the brake pedal in readiness, will start the brake action instantly with no lag moving the right foot over and that can mean several metres gained in stopping ability.

    If you’ve been watching the programme called ‘Cop Car Workshop’ (on ‘Dave’ at 20:00 on Monday) about the Cheshire Police Vehicle Repair Section, in last week’s episode it showed the Police BMW crashing into the rear of a stationary bandit car after a pursuit and which caused £7000 worth of damage to the BMW – left foot braking would have prevented it I’m sure. (I think the moment is shown is repeated in the opening titles anyway). I know the UK Police frown upon left-foot braking, but if anyone should adopt this practice, it should be the Police because of their high speeds through built-up areas – a lot of their collisions could be avoided.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (2)
    --2

    In case anyone has misinterpreted the opening line to my last comment to Nigel (as referred to by Keith), to clarify, I was actually referring to Nigel as having ‘a better understanding of safe driving than most on this forum’ and not me! It was possibly the way I phrased the sentence.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)
    --1

    Yes, Keith, but inappropriate speed can also mean doing 30 in a 30 when 15mph would be appropriate, for example.


    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
    +2

    Thanks, Hugh. Now we get a bit more technical than most on this forum would care to engage with.

    Regarding left foot braking; fair point, but when doing workshops I have often asked what are the stages in reducing speed? The general answer is that, at most, there are two; relax the throttle to use what I call engine compression braking – the effect depending on which gear is engaged and then braking with the foot brake. But,there are actually three; the third being (after relaxing the throttle) covering the brake (with the right foot!). Just cover it, don’t touch it. If not needed then back to the throttle pedal. To me having the left foot over the brake could suggest a lack of O&P (observation and planning for the less initiated). The other thing about autos is that most just leave it in drive, but using intermediate gears can be useful because it gives more engine commpression braking and, therefore, more flexibility on the throttle to either decrease or increase speed. Therefore, a common feature in those driving autos is that you will see far greater use of brakes. And if they are following too closely then as soon as there is any reduction in speed of the vehicle in front then they have to be straight onto the brake. Having a suitabe ‘working gear’ and staying well back often means you can cover most situations just on the throttle. So, yes, if I cam driving an auto I do make great use of the intermediate gears for those reasons- and again, for the reasons above, right foot braking. I rest my case, sir.

    I would just add, for interest, that this thing about as much as possible being ‘brake free’ comes from the fact that at Hendon, on advanced couses, students were expected to go from one end of Radlett to the other without using brakes – except if they had to stop at zebra crossings. It was primarily a test of O&P and having the right working gear engaged. Indeed, if I am following a vehicle which turns left and I have to use my brakes I mark myself down.


    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (4) | Disagree (0)
    +4

    Hugh,
    Your last opening line I am sure will encourage many to have input in to the forum.


    Keith
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)
    0

    As someone who clearly has a better understanding of safe driving than most on this forum Nigel, I’m a bit taken aback that you don’t appear to have embraced the virtues of driving an auto. Apart from anything else, as I’ve already alluded to, they allow left-foot braking which reduces stopping distances enough to make collisions highly unlikely and allows the driver to always be in 100% control of the vehicle, whereas with the (to me) antiquated three pedal method, it is compromised and makes collisions more likely, all other things being equal. Also, as a recent survey showed, drivers of autos tend not to speed- in both senses i.e. exceding the limit and ‘inappropriate’!


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (7)
    --7

    Rob, He may be an inspiring individual and let’s face it the Americans are full of it. Inspirational speakers that is. However you can’t really believe that any government or authority will listen to one proponent of ideas concerning road safety let alone that that someone comes from another country. It’s like you say the government do not appear to work in tandem with others within the same professional capacity but do their own thing. As do most if not all authorities.

    I would further say that from my own correspondence and the reactions to ideas over many years that there is a lot of institutionalisation and an unwillingness or inability to change or accept new ideas within the RS service from authorities or charities and as such they won’t listen or in any way change the status quo. Further to that there is no cohesive uniformity and an apparent unwillingness to work with others. politics and power made for bad bedfellows when there should be shared common goals.


    Bob Craven
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)
    +1

    How about we give Nicholas Worrell a chance to express his opinion before making comment. I suspect, although don’t know, that he is a lone voice battling against state and federal governments just as there are many of us road safety professionals in the UK who the government ignore unless it suits their political agenda. I have learned masses from our overseas counterparts and have incorporated much of what I have learned into my day to day work with young drivers. What my team and I do is way in advance of anything the government is doing. Just because Nicholas comes from a country which has a poor road safety record does not necessarily determine that his opinions are invalid. We have 2 ears and 1 mouth – let’s listen first and talk later.


    Rob Tillier, Yateley, Hants
    Agree (9) | Disagree (0)
    +9

    I am not quite up to speed on the detail as reflected by Hugh and Bob regarding the US, so it is interesting to read their comments. But I do go with Bob’s comment about space and close following (there he goes again). Apparently over there close following is endemic, and yet it has to be a prime vulnerability for crashes.

    Whilst I follow your logic, Hugh, about more comfortable vehicles being less stressful to drive, to paraphrase, I don’t see where automatic vehicles are an aid to safety and do go with Bob’s view that they are essentially an aid to lazyness. Having said that I can see where they are a benefit to older people, and make driving less stressful for them.

    Talking about so called safety features I was recently passenger in a vehicle which had a rear-facing camera, but only for reversing. Two points arise from this, (1) whilst is obviously a safety feature to see what is directly behind, when coming out from a parking space you need a clear 180 degrees sweep so that you are aware of any vehicle movements from the sides so, (2) this feature more actively encourages reversing out from parking bays which, as we know, is an unsafe way of going about it. So is it really a safety featue? Well yes and no. There is no substitute for properly knowing your vehicle, which most people can’t be bothered to do, aka Bob’s point about lazy attitues.And there is also no substitue for the Mark 1 eyeball. Autonomous vehicles take note – at least so far.

    The question is, ‘if your life depended on it would you do it?. If yes, then remember that higher qualities of driving are a life skill, and also a life saving skill, which is seeminjgly vastly overlooked by many in the RS industry.


    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
    +3

    Left foot braking??? Please don’t be tempted to try it.

    Sorry – just thought it needed saying.


    Dave Osborne
    Agree (5) | Disagree (0)
    +5

    A bit harsh Bob! I recall you have said in the past, that you also drive an auto as well and I’m sure that doesn’t make you a lazy or poor driver – don’t forget that left-foot braking can shorten your stopping distances as I’ve mentioned before, as I know you’re very concerned about safety space and too close following.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)
    --1

    You are quite right Hugh on many of those matters in that many of those detrimental attitudes towards road safety will skew and unfortunately increase the accident rates and the stats. If you are to be believed that the American motor market has historically been far ahead of others when it comes to innovative road safety within the manufacturing of safety aspects within vehicles it certainly does not equate to a safer use by their population. It may be that the manufacturers have merely been responding as a direct result of the dangerous way in which their drivers behave on their roads and the reason why such advances were made. Therefore merely in order to reduce the carnage. That just goes to show how bad the Americans are in road safety as a whole and in many ways counters many argument to prove otherwise.

    I think that when I called them lazy it was in respect to automatic vehicles as opposed to having to manually change gears. Automatics assist fuel economy and is primarily a pre requisite of cars sold there and has nothing to do with any safety measure at all. Their attitudes to road safety as a whole is bad. Just like here many road users could not give a fig about it.


    Bob Craven
    Agree (2) | Disagree (1)
    +1

    Bob: I believe helmet wearing for motorcyclists is not compulsory in some states and this also reflects a variance – state to state – in other traffic laws and the enforcement thereof e.g. phone use, alcohol tolerance, driving qualifications, speed limits etc. etc. and this may well skew overall road casualty statistics when viewed countrywide.

    (ps: you might as well say that theoretically, anyone who doesn’t walk or cycle to get around is ‘lazy’, as the majority chose to move around in relative comfort and ease in motorised vehicles of all types)


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)
    0

    The only reason that they have big comfortable cars with easier to use benefits is lazy drivers and thousands of monotonous miles of straight roads in the central and southern belt of the USA. In the past they produced their own fuels and that has been extremely cheaper than that of the Opec states. They have had it pretty good being independent of many of the heavy motoring costs suffered by other civilised countries. In the USA the CAR did become KING after the 2nd world war.

    However they have a bad reputation when it come to accidents involving motorcycles. Over the last 10 years some 4.500 motorcyclists kill themselves on their road annually. The majority (that’s over half of them) having been found to have consumed alcohol sufficient to have had a detrimental effect on the riders cognitive ability.

    With motorcycling most of their training is based around track days and that is a dangerous thing to do, training newbie riders how to slide the knee on the tarmac and to lean off the seat to do so just to take corners as fast as one can do. If you look at any motorcycle training on the internet with You tube its full of Americans bragging about what they can do on their roads. They are usually illegal or extremely dangerous.


    Bob Craven
    Agree (2) | Disagree (2)
    0

    I didn’t think so either Keith, but a comfortable, easy to drive vehicle is always going to play a part in collision avoidance and shouldn’t be overlooked – perhaps it explains the poor road behaviour of van drivers in this country.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (2) | Disagree (10)
    --8

    High,
    I did not think the purpose of the gentleman coming over was to sell the comfort of the US car. I thought it was related to crash and casualty reduction.

    You mention “Safer driving” yet with all these safety features designed by US designers the US still has one of the slowest decreases in road fatalities amongst the developed nations.


    Keith
    Agree (11) | Disagree (1)
    +10

    On the other hand Keith, their safety-related automotive technology and innovations have always been way ahead of everywhere else. For decades, their cars have always been more comfortable and easy to drive anyway which induces better, safer driving, but also they pioneered brake technology, collapsible steering columns, air-bags, safety glass, energy-absorbing bumpers, seat-belt interlock systems, A/C and lots more. Most significantly, the US driving population have always been the most enlightened with 85% having the sense to choose automatic transmissions whose benefits can reduce collisions. I think Australia is a close second, followed by Asia and eventually er…the UK and the rest of Europe where we apparently still like clutch judder and jerky progress along the road.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (3) | Disagree (12)
    --9

    It’s a shame that the US is being looked at with regard to possible ideas and best practice for Road Safety issues.

    The US are way behind the UK and other European countries with regard to road safety and casualty reduction. They have a poor driver training system that is in no way cohesive across the states, and in many ways is of a very poor standard compared to the UK.


    Keith
    Agree (8) | Disagree (3)
    +5