Q: Do you think “oops” captures the tone and feel of a traffic crash?
A: No? Then, now is the time to change your vocabulary and your messaging at your workplace. “Oops” sounds like what a parent might say to a child who did not quite make it to the bathroom on time during those potty training days.
More than 90% of traffic crashes are the result of driver error – and are preventable. Distracted, drugged, drunk and drowsy driving are some of the issues that have led to a spike in traffic crashes across America. The National Safety Council estimates traffic fatalities rose 9% in the first half of 2016. And that estimate followed on the heels of an 8% increase from 2014 to 2015.
When using words such as “crash” or “incident,” you are changing the feel and perception of these events in communicating with your staff – and rightfully so. Traffic crashes are not to be dismissed in light-hearted fashion. Employers can combat the costly toll of crashes by learning to understand risky driver behaviors and liability exposure. Or, said another way, employers can save money and save lives by promoting safe driving, both on and off the job.
Let’s look at the example of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports about 7% of drivers are using some type of mobile device at any typical daylight moment (handheld or hands-free). More than 3,000 people die every year in distracted driving crashes. Another 430,000 are injured.
Recognizing an opportunity to save lives and reduce the rate of incidences, many employers have acted as the driving force behind cell phone behavioral change, forbidding the use of handheld and hands-free devices. San Antonio-based Mid-Coast Electric Supply drivers are required to complete traffic safety education courses, and the company enforces a complete cell phone ban.
Mid-Coast was recognized for its work through the 2016 Our Driving Concern Texas Employer Traffic Safety Awards program. What is your company doing? How can we be of assistance?
Glad you asked … here are four ways:
- Free employer training.
- Free resources (including Traffic Safety Huddle talking points and distracted driving posters, facts and tip sheets).
- Free webinars (share them with your workforce during a safety meeting).
- Free sample safe driving policy (use as is or customize to fit your workplace needs).
By making traffic safety part of your regular workplace safety culture, you win and your employees win. By speaking about attentive driving – and drivers who are focused and ready to respond at a moment’s notice – perhaps you can communicate the idea that risks are all around us on the roads. Preventing crashes is the goal. And, yes, that’s the right word – crashes. You can feel the hurt.
On Day of the Big Game, Be Mindful Safe Driving is a Super Idea, Too
In the NFC, many already are saying the road to the Super Bowl goes through Jerry’s World, or at least the world of his two newest playthings, rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. In the AFC, Houston is looking to seize the home-stadium advantage. And with Jadeveon Clowney at full strength, the Texans show no signs of clowning around.
Even if the Cowboys or Texans stumble somewhere along the way, you can step up your game with workplace reminders about the importance of safe driving during what is shaping up as a big sports weekend in Texas.
Super Bowl watch parties long have been a thing. This year, with the game scheduled for Feb. 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texans will be cheering from seats on the 50-yard line as well as the cozy comforts of their own living rooms. What role can employers play in making sure everyone enjoys the game and returns home safely?
Well, when it comes to the game, employers’ hands are tied. When it comes to sharing reminders about the dangers of drinking and driving, employers can serve as safety ambassadors. And it’s in their best interest to do so because a Network of Employers for Traffic Safety report shows employers spend $6 billion annually on alcohol-related crashes.
Share: Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk (NHTSA campaign)
Lisa Talks Traffic Safety: Her Words Resonate in Texas Business Today
A blog post from Our Driving Concern Program Manager Lisa Robinson was published in the Fourth Quarter 2016 issue of Texas Business Today. In the post, Robinson makes Your Business Case: Four Reasons to Use an Employee Traffic Safety Program.
Safety + Health Report Analyzes Mounting Toll of Tired Workforce
Sleepy workers cost the U.S. economy $411 billion annually, according to a report highlighted in Safety + Health, The Official Magazine of the National Safety Council Congress & Expo.
Researchers examined data from more than 62,000 workers in five countries in 2015 and 2016, according to the report. Work-related factors linked to inadequate sleep included irregular work hours, long commutes and job-related time pressures.
On the road, the consequences of lack of sleep can be deadly. In 2015, the Texas Department of Transportation reported 9,607 total crashes, 534 incapacitating crashes and 159 fatal crashes where fatigued or asleep drivers were contributing factors.
Keep on Truckin’ Traffic Safety and Capture a Captive Audience
In the January 2017 issue of Toilet Tabloids, we highlight the Heavy Freight of Truckin’ and provide tips for sharing the road with large trucks. Print and post this unique free resource on the doors or walls of the bathroom stalls in your workplace – or anywhere else you deem appropriate.
In our resources cache, you also will find links to Bridget Curbside – she turns the downer that is your daily commute into merriment – and to Traffic Safety Huddle. These are talking points on driving basics for you to use in a Safety Huddle with your team.
Are You Covered by a Workplace Cell Phone Policy? What is Your Liability?
Texting and driving is still an issue. The percentage of vehicle drivers text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices remained constant at 2.2% in 2015, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Of course, drivers who are texting are not focusing on driving. The three biggest contributing factors to traffic fatalities are:
- Alcohol (30.8%)
- Speeding (30%)
- Driver Distraction (26%)
Employers absorb the brunt of the costs associated with crashes, whether they occur on or off the job. And there are liability questions to consider, too.
Connect with Us
We want to hear from you. Tell us what you are doing (or have done) to make traffic safety a regular part of your company’s safety culture. In return for your feedback, we will send you free traffic safety materials you can use at your workplace.
And perhaps we’ll share your story and photographs in an upcoming eNewsletter, too.
How Did Texas Fare in Fatal Crash Cause Study?
If you said Massachusetts, you were wrong. The correct answer is Montana, according to the Auto Insurance Center. The center recently released findings in its second annual study of America’s fatal crash causes and highlighted the worst states on its infographic in red.
Montana ranked #1 with 108 fatalities per 100,000 residents, according to the study. In the Missoulian, Mike Tooley, director of the Montana Department of Transportation, said, “Folks are speeding, leaving the roadway and not wearing seat belts.”
By comparison, Texas landed in the middle of the pack and the state was colored yellow on the Auto Insurance Center infographic. At Our Driving Concern, we work with Texas employers to promote safe driving practices. Our efforts start with education.
Crashes: Know the Impact
Open Your Eyes: Learn to Look for Hazards & Become a Safer Driver
Since motor vehicle crashes remain the #1 cause of workplace death and
employers pay for crashes that occur both on and off the job, a fair question to ask is, how long will it be before hazard perception training becomes a staple of workplace traffic safety?
The Association for Psychological Science goes so far as to suggest integrating standards for hazard perception into the licensing requirements may be an effective way to help improve road safety in an article, “Learning How to Look Leads to Safer Drivers.”
APS points to 50 years of research that indicates one particular skill is key to avoiding crashes – knowing how to look for hazards. And, while developing a knack for this kind of visual scanning previously was thought to take years of driving experience to learn, the University of Queensland’s Mark Horswill explains in the article it may be possible to speed up the learning process. He says actively engaging drivers in hazard perception testing appears to pay off.
One example cited in the article involved a study done in California. APS said drivers who passed an on-road driving test were assigned randomly to either receive a 17-minute hazard perception training or to receive no additional training. Male drivers who received the training had a crash rate that was 25% lower than the group of untrained males. No such drop was noted for females.
Flash Drive: Want Free Updated Training Materials?
Have you attended an Our Driving Concern train-the-trainer workshop? Did the event take place prior to December 2016? If so, we have updated the training materials! If you would like a flash drive containing the updated materials mailed to you, please complete this form and we will send it your way.