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Episode 149 - Five Vehicle Characteristics that Affect Safety and Security
All vehicles have inherent characteristics that, if not understood and monitored, can decrease a vehicle’s performance and create a dangerous scenario for the principal. There are numbers that represent these vehicle characteristics; most can be found in the owner’s manual.
The Security Driver does not need to understand the science behind these numbers, but they need to know how these numbers and changes in these numbers affect the principal and passengers’ safety and security.
If you’ve enjoyed this EPST podcast episode, we invite you to check out the International Security Driver Association. The ISDA is a valuable resource for all practitioners working in the protection profession. We offer benchmark educational, networking, and marketing programs. Access to the encyclopedia of executive protection and secure transportation – The ISDA knowledge center. The knowledge shared encompasses a wide range of EP and ST focused topics with resources, information, and metrics.
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The top five vehicle characteristics are:
The vehicles maximum payload capacity The tires load rating. Tire pressure The vehicles Statics Stability Factor – SSF (difficult to find) Center of Gravity (difficult to find) The wrong combination of these five vehicle characteristics can and has proven to be a problem.
The wrong combination is defined as:
The vehicle’s payload at maximum or exceeded Low Tires Pressures Tire Load Rating has been exceeded High Vehicle Center of Gravity A Low Vehicle Static Stability Factor (SSF) Definitions Payload
The payload is defined as the combined, maximum allowable weight of cargo, occupants, and optional equipment that the vehicle is designed to carry. The payload is an indication of how many passengers and cargo the vehicle can accept. That number is set by the vehicle manufacturer and is vital to passengers’ safety and security.
You can also use Google to find the payload of your vehicle; as an example, if you want to find the payload of a Suburban, you would type in “Payload for Suburban,” This is an example of what you would get.
Somewhere on the vehicle, there is a sticker that will supply the payload numbers; this is an example.
Or you can find the numbers in the vehicle’s manual.
Improperly loaded vehicles or those that exceed the weight rating will have a dramatic effect on performance. Steering, maneuverability, braking, and acceleration are all affected. Most important, stopping distances are dramatically impacted.
The Tires Load Index and Load Carry Capacity
The load index explicitly indicates how much weight a tire can carry. To find your tire’s carrying capacity, look for the load index number on its sidewall.
The load index number indicates a tire’s carrying capacity when inflated to its maximum load sustaining pressure. It corresponds to another number in an index, which tells you how many pounds of weight the tire can carry.
How to Read Speed Rating, Load Index & Service Descriptions
Load Range and Load Index
Static Stability Factor and Center of Gravity – SSF, and CG
Another characteristic that can decrease vehicle performance and safety is the vehicle’s static stability factor (SSF). This is especially true in SUVs. Click here for more information.
Tire Pressure Basics
Maintaining correct tire pressure helps optimize tire performance and fuel economy. Correct tire inflation pressure allows drivers to experience tire comfort, durability, and performance designed to match the needs of their vehicles. Proper tire inflation pressure also stabilizes the tire’s structure, blending the tire’s responsiveness, traction, and handling.
Click here for more Information on Tire Basics
Episode 148 - LinkedIn Opportunities for Your Business
The topic of today’s episode is LinkedIn Opportunities for Your Business.
With over half a billion users, LinkedIn is the biggest opportunity to connect with not only your peers but potential employers and selling/marketing your products and services.
The Setup – What’s in a Name The first order of business is to complete your profile as it offers several key branding and searchable elements.
There is the availability to add an image at the top of your profile. Add one that depicts you as an individual or your business.
Profile image. So many profiles I’ve come across just have the ghost image. Avoid that if you can, granted OPSEC can be a legitimate concern, but by adding a face you literally are adding a face to your name and business. The image should represent who you are. Some suggest professional suit and tie, but if that isn’t you, the real you, why pretend?
I do recommend adding your real name as it adds authenticity to your brand. Again OPSEC comes in to play understandably, but even if you could do the first name, last name initial is better than a fictitious name like Hugh Erection (yes that is an actual name someone is using on LinkedIn, and incidentally, on Facebook).
The Headline section is very important, don’t skip this part. The headline is a good opportunity to introduce yourself – who you are and what do you do. The Headline also helps with you being found in LinkedIn search. For example, adding in social media consultant, protective services professional in the Headline will help your profile being found in the search results when a person searches for those keyword phrases.
Another area in LinkedIn profiles that I’ve seen lacking information is the Contact Information. You can add phone numbers, email, and links to websites and other social media accounts. You can customize the links so that it’s memorable and brand-specific.
Other information to add to your profile – summary, work history, schools, training, recommendations, and skills. Don’t misinform or embellish.
Run the option play An option, not a requirement, but one that I recommend, is to upgrade to LinkedIn Premium. Premium unlocks certain services that you can take advantage of such as LinkedIn Learning, which is an online education hub. As well as access to job and salary data and other features like who is looking at your profile.
Making the Connection I would suggest that you be strategic – try not to get overwhelmed. Your focus should be on what companies may need your products and services. Follow the company, owners, founders, and employees.
Connecting with peers on LinkedIn is really a given, but still, be strategic about your choices on whom to connect with. Ask yourself – will this person provide me with value to help me or my business grow and vice versa; what or who is it that we have in common? Is this a future networking opportunity? In other words, don’t connect with everybody – keep in mind your goals for your business.
Finding Jobs, Comparative Analysis Finding jobs isn’t hard on LinkedIn – being qualified is the difficult part. Look at jobs you’re interested in – what are the requirements? How can you achieve those requirements? What training is necessary? From a service provider or products supplier look at these jobs as a way to determine what the company is lacking – compare your services to the company’s needs.
LinkedIn Job search is among the best whether you are looking for a job or looking for your target market by looking at the qualifications and requirements for a job.
For example, I searched for an executive protection specialist in the United States.
After clicking on the job position for Snap Inc. you can see more detail on the second page. Look at the qualifications and requirements. Questions to ask yourself – is this job something my
Episode 147 - Security Driving Is a Statement of Skill, Not a Marketing Term
Welcome to the Executive Protection and Secure Transportation Podcast brought to you by the International Security Driver Association.
Thank you for tuning in to episode 147 of the EPST podcast, I’m your host Larry Snow.
The topic of today’s episode is Security Driving Is a Statement of Skill, Not a Marketing Term.
Security Driving and Executive Protection describe a profession, a job description that defines a skill set needed to save lives. It is our opinion that social media have twisted them into marketing terms with no regard for the skill sets that define the profession. In the present training environment, unsuspecting individuals are trained in skills that have no market value. Social media is filled with complaints – ranging from certification, standards, to pay scales and unethical behavior.
For some in the industry, especially those just entering the business, there is a misconception of the definition of security driving – in particular, the job description of a security driver. Security driving is more than driving a vehicle. It requires the skill and knowledge to move a principal from point A to point B in a safe and secure manner and a variety of environments. In fact, security driving is more accurately called secure transportation, which encompasses in-depth knowledge and a measured level of skill to conduct route surveys, recognize and develop safe havens, create alternate-route plans, and develop emergency evacuation plans. Advanced first-aid skills are also essential.
When looking at driving skills, there has been a great deal of research done, money spent, and data collected to better understand how drivers make decisions in emergencies. The end result of all this research is the advancements that have been made in measuring driving skill and, therefore, survivability in an emergency scenario. Simply put, you wouldn't allow a security professional to carry a gun without first measuring their ability to use it: so why would you let someone drive your principal if you don't measure their ability to do so?
Defining Security Driving Skill
The automotive engineering community defines driving skills as the driver's "ability" to use the vehicle's "capability." The researchers express driving skill as the percentage of the vehicle's capability a driver can use before they are no longer controlling the vehicle; loss of control can be defined as; although the driver is holding onto the steering wheel, they along with your principal are a passenger.
From the Automotive Engineering Research - The Numbers
If a driver can use 40% of the vehicle's capability, researchers define him/her as a 40% driver; if they can use 60% of the vehicle's capability, they are a 60% driver. But, here is the bad news, studies have shown that the average driver can use only 40 % to 55 % of the vehicle's capability.
After 45 plus years of conducting protective driving programs, I would say that when looking at the "average driver," the 40 % to 55 % number is accurate and maybe optimistic. If you are responsible for the principal's safety and security, what is your assurance that the person driving the boss IS NOT an inexperienced or average driver?
The Question – What does the research say is a Good (Security) Driver?
A good driver (Security Driver) can use a minimum of 80% of the vehicle's emergency maneuvering capability and still maintain vehicle control. The original Scotti School – VDI and ISDA Certification require a Security Driver to use 80% of the vehicle.
The original Scotti School developed the 80% standard from engineering white papers published by the Society of Automotive Engineers and other testing organizations. Those papers defined average, and what the documents identified as "experienced" skill levels. We (Scotti School) found that neither average nor experienced skill levels were ade
Episode 146 - ISDA COVID-19 Survey Results
In today’s episode we share the results of the COVID-19 survey that the ISDA conducted at the end of April, near the height of the Pandemic in the United States.
The number of participants makes the survey statistically accurate for our association, but not for the general EP/Secure Transportation community.
The demographics of the ISDA are not similar to the profession in general; Hence we would estimate the data is not statistically accurate for the security professional.
It is ISDA's opinion that COVID 19 has permanently changed the Secure Transportation profession. The security driver and the provider of secure transportation services will need to change how business is done.
There is a significant change with vehicles – cleaning executive vehicles has taken on a significant role in the definition of secure transportation.
A while back, Vehicle Dynamics Institute’s Joe Autera put together guidelines for disinfecting the executive's vehicle.
These guidelines are to provide professional security drivers and other protection practitioners with best practices for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting executive vehicles in an effort to minimize the risk of exposure to contaminants for drivers and passengers.
Renting Vehicles - The 2019 Executive Vehicle Survey indicated that a majority of those that supply Secure Transportation Services to the corporate community use Rent – A – Vehicles. Recently, I have been told by those working in the entertainment sector of the profession that the clients are using rideshare.
Anyone who rents a vehicle or uses a rideshare program needs caution; there are serious health implications. A recent study found that these vehicles are bacteria-laden –normal driver actions such as rolling down windows, buckling seatbelts, and grasping door handles and steering wheels in these vehicles, can become a health hazard
If they are, you can tell then they are entering a vehicle that has more germs than a toilet seat – that's a pleasant thought.
Using rent-a-cars for the principal's vehicle creates a serious issue and problem for the principal's safety.
There needs to be proof of documentation That the vehicle has been clean and disinfected. Those responsible from the corporate side for the executive protection and safety cannot take the word of the subcontractor that the vehicle is safe for occupancy and that the driver has been vetted and is COVID free.
Training - If you attended or are sending company personnel to a training program, ensure that the training provider has a COID 19 Plan.
From VDI – The Tools for Training in the "COVID Age"
Thanks very much for tuning in to today’s podcast, we’ll be back again next week with another episode of the Executive Protection and Secure Transportation podcast. If you’ve enjoying the podcast can do us a favor and give a review of the podcast in Apple or Google? We’d appreciate it very much. Reviewing the podcast helps the podcast grow to reach more people interested in EP or Secure Transportation.
If you’re not yet a member of the ISDA we invite you to check out the International Security Driver Association. The ISDA is a valuable resource for all practitioners working in the protection profession. We offer benchmark educational, networking, and marketing programs. Access to the encyclopedia of executive protection and secure transportation – The ISDA knowledge center. The knowledge shared encompasses a wide range of EP and ST focused topics with resources, information, and metrics.
For more information on all of the member benefits head over
Episode 145 - Security Driver Training and Braking
We strongly suggest that anyone who attends a Security Driving training program is measured in accordance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 135.
What is Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard?
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) to implement laws from Congress. The FMVSS are regulations written in terms of minimum safety performance requirements for motor vehicles or items of motor vehicle equipment. These requirements are specified in such a manner that the public is protected against unreasonable risk of crashes occurring as a result of the design, construction, or performance of motor vehicles and is also protected against unreasonable risk of death or injury in the event crashes do occur.
The purpose of the FMVSS 135 standard is to ensure safe braking performance under normal and emergency driving conditions.
As a security driver, you must be able to perform at a much higher level than “minimum” (it is what you get paid to do).
Although most drivers realize that the higher the car’s speed, the more distance required to stop, what is surprising to many drivers is how much additional distance it takes to stop a vehicle with just a small increase in speed. The fact is that if you double your speed, you increase your stopping distance by a factor of four.
If you increase your speed from 40 to 44 mph, speed has increased by 10%, but stopping distance has increased by 20%.
If you increase your speed from 40 to 50 mph, speed has increased by 25%, but stopping distance has increased by 50%.
The numbers listed above are not affected by the method of braking used. It makes no difference if a driver brakes with their left foot – threshold brakes – or uses a parachute to stop. If the speed is doubled, the stopping distance increases by a factor of four. The bottom line you cannot arbitrarily increase your speed, it’s literally deadly.
As a side note – Do Not Threshold Brake with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) vehicle. With a vehicle equipped with ABS, press as hard as your foot can press and let the computer do its job.
Here is an example –
While conducting a braking test to confirm our forensic analysis of Omar García Harfuch's Ambush, the VDI testing team came across an interesting piece of data.
With a highly-skilled driver behind the wheel of the B6 Suburban - Highly skilled defined as years of experience working in high-risk environments and conducting protective driver training programs for the military and government – he drove through a breaking exercise designed to replicate the Omar Garcia Harfuch ambush.
He first stopped the B6 Suburban using threshold breaking – we are repetitive but keeping mind the driver had years of experience breaking in this manner.
Then he drove the same vehicle in the same scenario applying the ABS brakes without using threshold breaking.
Using threshold breaking, it took the driver 160 feet or 48.3 meters to stop the vehicle.
Without using a threshold braking just to applying the brakes as hard as possible, it required 94 feet or 28.4 meters to stop the vehicle; the difference in stopping distance is considerable.
It took this experienced threshold ABS braking driver 70% longer to stop the vehicle using threshold breaking than it did without.
If the driver of Omar Garcia Harfuch's vehicle tried to use threshold braking, the ambush outcome would have been significantly different.
Also, a significant component of braking to avoid an emergency is about where you look while the emergency is unfolding. Car manufacturers have been studying this phenomenon for a while. Simply stated – your hands go where your eyes look. As soon as the emergency presents itself, look for a place to put the vehicle. Look where you want the vehicle to go, and your
Episode 144 - Tires and Extreme Heat
In today’s podcast we’ll be discussing Tires and Extreme Heat.
We have discussed the effects of cold weather on tires many times, but with the hot summer weather upon us (aka “the Dog Days of Summer“), we thought it would be an excellent time to discuss the effect of extreme heat on tires and vehicle control.
According to the national highway safety administration in 2017, there were 3.2 trillion miles put on tires in the US and 738 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in tire-related crashes. Many of these crashes are preventable through proper tire maintenance— including tire inflation, among other tire factors.
To put it succinctly, the only connection between you and mother earth is your tires. Keep in mind that the tires don’t support the vehicle load. The pressurized air inside the tire supports the weight of the vehicle. The tire is just the container; this might sound obvious, but it is critical to understand.
Heat and Tires
Tire pressure will increase as the outside air temperature rises; tire pressure will go up approximately one pound for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Tire pressures are a vehicle characteristic that needs monitoring often. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System will warn the driver when the tire pressures are low but do not supply a warning when the pressure is too high.
Excessive heat will over-inflate the tires. Over-inflated tires can lose traction because the shape of the tire becomes deformed by extreme air pressure, decreasing the tire’s footprint on the road, limiting traction and stability. The tires can be more prone to damage. An over-inflated tire is stiffer and can cause loss of control when they come in contact with common road hazards like potholes.
We suggest that you look at the Temperature letter on your tire. The temperature grades are an indication of a tire’s resistance to heat. Sustained high temperature (for example, driving long distances in hot weather), can cause a tire to deteriorate, leading to blowouts and tread separation.
According to Tire Rack
The Uniform Tire Quality Grading Temperature Grade indicates the extent to which heat is generated or dissipated by a tire. If the tire is unable to dissipate the heat effectively or if the tire is unable to resist the destructive effects of heat buildup, then its ability to run at high speeds is reduced. The temperature grade is given by measuring a loaded tire’s ability to operate at high speeds without failure by running an inflated test tire against a large diameter high-speed laboratory test wheel.
Temperature Grades Speeds in MPH:
Over 115 Between 100 to 115 Between 85 to 100 The speeds may seem excessive; however, these conducted tests are with a driver and no extra load. An SUV with 3 to 4 passengers and luggage, or in a security situation, armor, creates a much different test scenario. We strongly suggest always to have A-rated tires, plus daily evaluation of the tire pressures.
The NHTSA has a simple tire checklist which you can download by going to https://isdacenter.org/tirechecklist