October 2017 Safety Coach: There is a Time and Place for Riding Off into the Sunset

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Drivers and passengers are three to 10 times more likely to be killed in crashes in

rural areas vs. urban environments, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The proximity of trauma care is one reason. Another: Seat belt use is lower in rural areas.

CDC found 61% of drivers and passengers killed in America’s most rural counties were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. In Texas, about 92% of drivers and passengers buckle up, a dramatic increase from 76% when the Texas Department of Transportation first launched its Click It or Ticket program in 2002.

Still, TxDOT reports more than 43% of people killed in crashes statewide were not properly restrained in 2016. And it’s not just pickup truck drivers involved in incidents on country roads. Three out of four kids are not buckled correctly. Make a connection with your employees by sharing TxDOT’s child protection resources.

Continue reading October 2017 Safety Coach: There is a Time and Place for Riding Off into the Sunset

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September 2017 Newsletter: New Tool: Calculate the Cost of Substance Use at Your Workplace

Our Driving Concern Senior Program Manager Lisa Robinson speaks to issues and concerns all employers face when trying to make their workforce safe on the road:

During a 10-year period, the number of drivers under the influence of prescription opioids who were killed in crashes increased more than seven-fold, according to research published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Q: Do you understand how use of prescription drugs can threaten safety at your organization and impact your bottom line?

A: Don’t be too quick to say yes. In a survey conducted by the National Safety Council, 39% of employers viewed prescription drug use as a threat to safety, and just 24% said it was a problem, even though seven in 10 companies reported issues ranging from absenteeism to overdose.

Researchers at Columbia University found that the prevalence of drivers with prescription opioids detected in their systems at the time of death surged from 1% in 1995 to 7.2% in 2015, according to a news report. Three ways employers can protect themselves and their employees:

  • Enact strong company drug policies
  • Expand drug panel testing to include opioids
  • Train supervisors and employees to spot the first signs of drug misuse

Continue reading September 2017 Newsletter: New Tool: Calculate the Cost of Substance Use at Your Workplace

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August 2017 Safety Coach: Speedy Running Back is a Luxury, Speedy Driver is Costly

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Most drivers recognize speeding is a threat to their own safety and that speeding can put others around them on the road in jeopardy, too. Yet, speeding remains one of the most common risky driving behaviors, and few view this risky behavior in the same social context as being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

When you talk with your employees and your drivers about speeding, ask if they are familiar with the hurry-up-and-get-there syndrome. You know the one: A person zooms by, then a minute or two later can be spotted only a few yards ahead in congested traffic.

Continue reading August 2017 Safety Coach: Speedy Running Back is a Luxury, Speedy Driver is Costly

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August 2017 Newsletter: Phone Distractions Extend Beyond White Lines on the Side of the Road

Our Driving Concern Senior Program Manager Lisa Robinson speaks to issues and concerns all employers face when trying to make their workforce safe on the road:

Admit it, you have laughed at the videos of distracted walkers.

It’s funny to watch the texting woman in a Chinese shopping mall fall into the fountain. It’s not so funny if you are absorbing the brunt of costs associated with injuries that result from these types of incidents. Employers are paying for more and more injuries related to phone distractions.

Q: Do you have employees that walk at lunch? Or as part of a health and wellness program sponsored by your organization? Do you have salesmen that walk as part of their job — to-and-from their car? Someone who goes to the post office or office supply store — walking from the parking lot to the building? Or employees that ride their bikes to work?

A: Sure you do. People walk and ride bikes all time, some for work, others for fun. Distractions – specifically texting and talking on cell phones – have contributed to a rise in injuries and fatalities involving pedestrians and cyclists across the nation.

Continue reading August 2017 Newsletter: Phone Distractions Extend Beyond White Lines on the Side of the Road

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May 2017 Newsletter: Live with Lisa: Make Traffic Safety a Habit at Work with Our New Videos

Our Driving Concern Sr. Program Manager Lisa Robinson speaks to issues and concerns all employers face when trying to make their workforce safe on the road:

Buckle your seat belt, wash your hands. These are examples of healthy habits that easily can be accomplished is less than one minute. You don’t think much about either one because you are in the habit of doing both.

Q: Have you thought about incorporating traffic safety into your regular workplace safety culture in a similar fashion? By making traffic safety a habit?

A: No? Why not? You can reduce risks, prevent injuries and save lives at your organization through your educational efforts. Make it a habit to talk about traffic safety. You don’t have to talk forever. Often, one or two minutes will do. Just make your efforts consistent and ongoing. Include non-verbal messaging, too. Hang posters in the breakroom and on bulletin boards. Affix window-clings in your company vehicles and place our Toilet Tabloids in your bathrooms.

Continue reading May 2017 Newsletter: Live with Lisa: Make Traffic Safety a Habit at Work with Our New Videos

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April 2017 Newsletter: Flip the Conversation: Speak Up When Others Around You Are Distracted

Our Driving Concern Program Manager Lisa Robinson speaks to issues and concerns all employers face when trying to make their workforce safe on the road:

When you next talk about distracted driving with your employees, try a new approach. Think of driver distraction in a global sense. And think of breaking from the norm. Think of empowering you employees to hold co-workers accountable. Encourage them to speak up and say something to their co-worker, especially when the co-worker’s choice is one that puts them or others in harm’s way.

Q: What types of things distract drivers?

A: Newspapers spread over the dash and audio books. Yes. Personal grooming, including applying mascara and brushing teeth while behind the wheel. You bet. Social media, including Facebook and the streaming of videos. Yep. Hot coffee, messy burgers. Yikes! Anything that takes your attention away from focusing on the road is a distraction.

Continue reading April 2017 Newsletter: Flip the Conversation: Speak Up When Others Around You Are Distracted

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March 2017 Newsletter: Identify Risks, Plan for Traffic Safety Solutions & You Can Have Last Laugh


Our Driving Concern Program Manager Lisa Robinson speaks to issues and concerns all employers face when trying to make their workforce safe on the road:

For more than 30 years, comedian David Letterman entertained late-night TV audiences with his Top Ten lists. He poked fun at everybody and everything. And rare was the occasion when viewers didn’t crack a smile.

For Letterman, the zany antics began with his “Top Ten Things That Almost Rhyme with Peas” in September 1985. For me, a top 10 list is a more grounded tool I roll out on occasion when speaking to groups about traffic safety. I use a Letterman-style reverse countdown to highlight why a back-to-basics approach often is best.

Q: Will I catch anyone laughing during one of my talks?

Continue reading March 2017 Newsletter: Identify Risks, Plan for Traffic Safety Solutions & You Can Have Last Laugh

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February 2017 Safety Coach: Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting for Autonomous Vehicles


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To prepare your workforce for the rollout of partially and fully autonomous vehicles, it would be helpful to share some of what is going on right now in the fast-paced world of motor vehicle development.

Did you know a self-driving 18-wheeler is being tested in San Antonio?

Then, it would be helpful to review some of the safety features that already are commonplace in vehicles on our roads today. It’s a win-win for Texas employers. Traffic safety is one of the best ways to save money and save lives.

Continue reading February 2017 Safety Coach: Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting for Autonomous Vehicles

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January 2017 Safety Coach: Earn an ‘A’ for Focusing on the Four D’s of Impaired Driving

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Nearly 10 people die every day in crashes on Texas roads. Nearly one-third of those deaths involve a driver who is under the influence of alcohol.

The impact of deadly crashes is felt not only by family members of victims but also by Texas employers. Employers absorb the brunt of costs associated with crashes whether they occur on or off the job.

Nationwide, employers spend more than $6 billion annually on alcohol-involved crashes, according to a report from the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety. And crashes cost employers more than 1.6 million work days each year.

Lost work days = lost production.

What employers need to know is impaired driving is not isolated to alcohol. True, impairment begins with the first drink. True, mental faculties such as judgment are the first to be diminished. This can make it difficult for a driver to reason and respond in an emergency situation.

It is also true taking over-the-counter or prescription medications can put drivers at risk. Safe driving requires comprehension, concentration, coordination and quick reflexes. Drugs (including marijuana) affect all of these skills.

Employers are positioned to be key players in changing driver behavior through efforts in promoting traffic safety. And it is in their best interest to do so because they can save money and save lives.

In 2015, there were 13,616 injury crashes in Texas with 17,011 people sustaining a serious injury, according to data from the Texas Department of Transportation. While many of these injuries are sustained in incidents that occur during the work day or during a driver’s commute to-and-from work, the majority of crashes are of the “off-the-clock” and “off-the-job” variety.

Employers still pay through costs associated with employee benefits, from insurance premiums to workers’ compensation claims. The ideal to share with your employees: An impaired driver is a dangerous driver. And, to earn an “A” on your report card, focus on the “four D’s” – drunk, drugged, drowsy and distracted driving. Let us help with free resources:

Tailgate Talk

Risks of Distraction Weigh Heavily on Your Bottom Line

About 1 in 5 crashes in Texas involves distraction – a form of impaired driving.
Gather your employees for a quick Tailgate Talk and ask: How do you define distracted driving?

When folks are done shouting out their own ideas, share this answer from our Safety Coach cards: Distraction occurs any time you take your:

  • Eyes off the road
  • Hands off the wheel
  • Mind off your primary task, driving safely

Chances are you know somebody who engages in personal grooming while behind the wheel. Or regularly reaches for something to eat. Or manipulates dashboard controls as part of the process of programming a GPS device. All are risky driving behaviors.

Often, drivers who take risks and arrive at their destinations without incident cling to a false belief that they are better drivers than others around them on the road. The reality is they are lucky unsafe drivers.

In 2015, there were 105,783 crashes in Texas that involved distracted driving, up 9.5% from 2014, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Cell phone use and driver inattention were cited in 396 fatal crashes, 2,324 incapacitating crashes and 10,191 non-incapacitating crashes.

Texas A&M Transportation Institute research indicates reaction times double when drivers are distracted by text messaging. Hands-free technologies often put drivers in a state of cognitive distraction. Potentially unsafe mental distractions can persist for as long as 27 seconds after dialing, changing music or sending a text using voice commands, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Inattention blindness can cause drivers to miss up to half the information in their driving environment. Our resources are created to help you help others regain their focus:

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November 2016 Newsletter: Business Case: Four Reasons to Use an Employee Traffic Safety Program

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Our Driving Concern Program Manager Lisa Robinson speaks to issues and concerns all employers face when trying to make their workforce safe on the road:

Surprisingly, not all business owners recognize that the deadliest issue for theirfinancial concept, business and money employees is also one of the priciest. Crashes cost employers $47 billion annually and 1.6 million work days each year.

Q: What can you do about it?

A: As a business owner, you know how important it is to understand what impacts your bottom line and to find cost-effective solutions to remain competitive. The Our Driving Concern Program (ODC) is a free traffic safety program designed for employers by the National Safety Council and funded through the Texas Department of Transportation. Here – in condensed form – are four reasons why it makes sense for you to take advantage of our program:

Reason #1: Don’t accept accidents as the “cost of doing business”

The most dangerous part of the day for employees is the time they spend in their vehicle. While Texans look at the increasing strain of traffic congestion, many don’t realize that about 90% of crashes are the result of human error and, therefore, can be prevented.

Continue reading November 2016 Newsletter: Business Case: Four Reasons to Use an Employee Traffic Safety Program

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