Security Driver Triangle

Editor’s note: “The Driver’s Triangle©” first appeared in print in Tony Scotti’s book, Police Driving Techniques, in 1988. It has been part of his training for more than 45 years.

The driver’s ability to avoid vehicle violence does not depend solely on their ability to control the vehicle. A driver is at the mercy of the environment, and of the vehicle they are driving.

Driving, any form of driving, is a balance, and that balance is called the “driving system™.” The driving system is made up of three components: THE DRIVER, THE MACHINE, and THE ENVIRONMENT. In our world, it is called the Security Driver Triangle™. If there is an accident or a successful ambush, it is caused by a failure of the triangle, the driver, the vehicle, or the environment failed.

The Driver

Most accidents (89%) or ambushes are caused by driver error. The driver is responsible for the successful implementation of the DRIVER/MACHINE relationship. The driver has to know and understand the capabilities of the vehicle driver combination. The driver’s ability to maneuver out of an emergency is a measurable skill. A skill level is a number that indicates how much of the vehicle capability the driver can use. The simple fact is the higher the number, the better the chances of survival. Given a vehicle and an environment they must drive through, a security driver has to know what they are capable of and, better yet, what they are not capable of.

The Machine
Most passenger vehicles are good handling vehicles. But there are scenarios where the vehicle’s handling capabilities are lowered due to an increase in the vehicle’s security posture (i.e., armored vehicles). However, no matter how well or poorly a vehicle handles, it is only a machine, and like all machines, it has its limitations, some vehicles higher than others. The vehicle, like the driver, has a measurable capability, which translates to a number. The higher the vehicle’s number, the greater the chances of survival.

You cannot separate the driver from the vehicle. A good security driver understands vehicle dynamics and works to anticipate changes in vehicle behavior and is ready to maximize the capability of the vehicle. A lousy driver reacts to whatever happens.

The Environment
Driving in the non-security world, the environment is the weather, traffic, and road design. If the road surface has been modified by nature, then the driver and machine portion of the driving system must cope with these changes.

In the security world, the environment includes the security conditions the driver has to maneuver through. The driver/vehicle combination can have high survival numbers, but in a high-risk environment, they are at the mercy of the security environment. As much as possible, try to control the environment, but there are times, especially in a high-risk environment where that is not an easy task.

Join the International Security Driver Association (ISDA)

ISDA serves the protective services community.  The ISDA membership is open to all with an interest in personal protection.

Whether you are exploring a career in executive protection, honing your expertise, or, you are an established security executive, ISDA is your essential resource for continuing education, benchmark research, and online learning programs, all designed to improve your skillset and advance your business.

ISDA membership enables you to:

  • Access benchmark educational, networking, and marketing programs.
  • Connect with your colleagues and peers across the globe via the member directory.
  • Increase your knowledge and marketability through the precedent-setting education center, research, and online learning programs.
  • Be part of a supportive community of like-minded experienced personal protection professionals.
  • Obtain Certification to members who meet the requirements. For 40 years, the ISDA Certification process is accepted by the corporate community. ISDA certification provides proof of knowledge and skill.


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