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.

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October 2017 Newsletter: Crash Rates Three Times Higher at Night

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:

Q: What contributes to nighttime driving issues?

A: A driver’s field of vision can be narrowed to include only areas illuminated by headlights and fixed road lights. Depth perception and peripheral vision can be compromised. And then, there is fatigue.

Fatigue is caused by sleep-deprivation, time-on-task tedium and body-clock disruption. All can be factors leading to drowsy driving. The ability to sustain attention, see and react to hazards dips when drivers are drowsy. In a National Safety Council survey, one in five working Americans admitted to falling asleep while driving in the past month.

October is a good time to talk about risks associated with night driving and pedestrian safety because the month typically is reserved for fall festivals and Halloween activities and concludes as daylight savings time nears an end. Your drivers and employees will be driving during more in the dark.

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September 2017 Safety Coach: Why It’s Important to Secure Your Cargo Before Departing

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many Texans will be hauling loads during a massive rebuild, either as a job-related function or as one friend helping another.

One way to connect with your workforce during this difficult time is to talk about the importance of properly securing loads. Our Safety Huddle resources provide talking points on a variety of traffic safety issues, including securing your load.

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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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July 2017 Safety Coach: Keep Helmet Safety & Impaired Driving Risks at Forefront

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Congratulations, you made it to work today! You are a safe and defensive driver. Aren’t you glad?

You should be. The little things you do make a difference. You know this because you see the risks others take. For example, take that big guy riding that big bike. He is decked out in all the fancy motorcycle gear. He is feeling good. His body is well-protected.

His head? Not so much. He is not wearing a helmet. Where is the logic in that? Your brain is the most complex organ in your body. In a motorcycle crash, your chances of survival diminish if you are not wearing a helmet. And if you do survive, what are the chances you will suffer a traumatic brain injury that will impact your quality of life? Long-term care is a real possibility. That means somebody else could be providing assistance, including changing your diapers.

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July 2017 Newsletter: Our Driving Concern is Your Drafting Tool for Writing Traffic Safety Book

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:

At Our Driving Concern, we work with employers to promote safe driving practices among their employees, both on and off the job.

Q: Still, I am asked from time-to-time, what exactly is this program and what is it about?

A: Think of Our Driving Concern as your table of contents and you are writing the book that goes with the table of contents. We provide the framework and resources for you to develop a traffic safety program at your workplace at no cost. Our materials are designed to fit nearly every situation and nearly every work environment – big, small, public and private.

From Our Driving Concern, everybody can find tools to put in their toolbox. The aim is to address transportation safety in the workplace and to reach 100% of your employees. You have the ability to take the materials and make them meet your needs. We update materials and produce new resources on a regular basis, including our eNewsletters, webinars, on-line learning modules, safety coach cards and print materials.

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June 2017 Safety Coach: Share Lisa’s Real-Life Experience as Way to Talk Technology

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Vehicle safety features are really important. Many of us tend to look at technology – and advanced driver assistance systems – with a bit of nervous trepidation. There is a learning curve that comes with all new gadgets. And what if you can’t remember what safety features are on your car or truck?

Typically, when you buy a vehicle, the salesperson will walk you through all the features and demonstrate how they work. All well and good, right? What happens a day or two later when you don’t remember what you learned?

I can tell you my car has many features that I have not fully explored yet. In fact, I will tell on myself.

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June 2017 Newsletter: Training Equips You to Incorporate Traffic Safety at Your Organization

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:

Q: After I attend an Our Driving Concern train-the-trainer workshop, am I certified or endorsed by the National Safety Council?

A: The short answer is, “No.” The training equips you to go back to your company and incorporate transportation safety in an on-going manner. The goal is to provide you with assistance to promote safe driving behaviors. Crashes, whether they occur on or off the job, are costly for any organization.

Moving forward, this training most likely will get a new name and simply be called “Our Driving Concern Training” instead of the current title, Train-the-Trainer, due to the confusion it seems to cause. The training is simply that – training.

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