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August 2018 Newsletter: ‘Big Kids’ Can Go Back to School, Too

Reserve a Seat in the Front of Bus with Back-to-School Safety Efforts

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: Why should I talk about back-to-school driving safety at my workplace?

A: Because crashes involving employees and their family members can impact your bottom line. In fact, off-the-job crashes account for 80% of employer crash-related health benefits costs, and half of crash-related injuries cause employees to miss work.

Lost production is one result of lost time. Through workplace policies and education, employers can help protect their workforce, protect their organizations and, in turn, protect the families of employees as well as serving as community safety ambassadors.

What better place to start than with kids? As summer wanes, kids will return to the classroom. That means there will be more traffic during the morning commute and more traffic during the late-afternoon and early-evening hours when kids are riding buses home or returning from after-school activities.

Talk about sharing the road with pedestrians. Most kids killed in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old and they are hit while walking, by the bus or a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus, according to National Safety Council research. Share safety tips:

  • Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn
  • In school zones when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or walking in the intersection
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas

Get more safety tips: Slow Down: Back to School Means Sharing the Road.

AAA research indicates 13% of kids walk or ride their bikes to school, and 1 in 4 child pedestrian deaths over the last decade occurred between 3 and 7 p.m. AAA offers recommendations regarding ways drivers can keep kids safe, including this:

  • Eliminate distractions: Research shows taking your eyes off the road doubles your chance of crashing. Kids can be quick, crossing the road unexpectedly or emerging suddenly between two parked cars.

In Texas, pedestrian fatalities totaled 614 in 2017, a decrease of 9.7% from 2016, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Pedalcyclist fatalities increased 26.9%.

Share road-safety infographics:

Traffic Safety: ‘Berry’ Good Reason City of Waco is on the Rise

In 2018, the City of Waco was ranked No. 2 in Trip Advisor’s Travel Choice Awards for Destinations on the Rise based on attractions such as the Waco Mammoth National Monument and the Brazos River. Berry Bairrington, the City’s safety coordinator, works to roll out the red carpet for visitors through the department of risk management.

One area he particularly focuses on is traffic safety.

“The promotion of safe and respectful drivers is a priority to ensure that our city, visitors, residents, our employees and their families are all safe,” Bairrington said.

He has led an effort to grow the driver safety education process for City employees:

  • Employees who operate a city vehicle of any size or use their own vehicle to pursue city business must follow City Vehicle and Wireless Communication policies. They also are required to attend a certified defensive driving course every three years. Courses are offered online or through classes led by in-house instructors using National Safety Council training.
  • Waco is an active participant in the Our Driving Concern Texas Employer Traffic Safety Program. Select employees act as “driver safety contacts” and train co-workers on the importance of on- and off-the-job driver safety. These contacts use Our Driving Concern eNewsletters, safety posters and Toilet Tabloids to put safety messages in front of employees city-wide and in numerous buildings with public access, including the airport, zoo and water offices.

Bairrington worked with Our Driving Concern Senior Program Manager Lisa Robison and the city’s Municipal Information Department to create in-house produced public safety announcements. These traffic safety PSAs are viewed on the city employee intranet and the city TV channel, WCCC-TV.

“The success of any program starts with having support provided by leadership,” Bairrington said. “This is evident with the City of Waco leadership, which ensures our employees are educated, safe and responsible drivers both on and off the job. Everyone takes driving seriously and does their part to promote safe driving habits and eliminate the distractions that can put themselves, a co-worker or the citizens in our communities at risk.”

Learn how Our Driving Concern can help you incorporate traffic safety into your workplace safety culture. Visit our website or contact Lisa Robinson.

Taking Today’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems for a Test Ride

What is it like to experience how automatic emergency braking works in a semi on collision course with a parked pickup? In a SafetyFirst blog post, National Safety Council writer and National Child Passenger Safety Board digital content manager Ron Kremer describes how collision mitigation technology works in big rigs.

He was invited to sit in the cab and participate in a demonstration at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, IL. He learned how today’s technology is designed to assist drivers, not replace them.

“Think of it as two heads working as one to provide drivers more information, earlier alerts and allow for emergency intervention,” Kremer writes.

He adds, “Research points to the game-changing potential of advanced driver assistance systems, which, while not yet government-mandated in commercial trucks, are becoming standard in new truck series.”

Lives can be saved, injuries reduced and property damage minimized. “In turn, operating expenses will go down,” Kremer writes. “That’s a great return on investment all fleet owners can get excited about.”

READ/SHARE: Truck Safety Journey Begins with Quarter-mile Trip.

Tout Your Traffic Safety Program During OSHA Safe+Sound Week

Safe+Sound. Do those words describe your system of operation?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration encourages you to show off during Safe+Sound Week Aug. 13-19, a nation-wide event to raise awareness and understanding of the value of workplace safety and health programs. To get you started, OSHA features a three-step process on its website:

  • Select your activities: You can host traffic safety or other workplace safety events just for your workers, or invite the public in an open-house type forum
  • Plan and promote your events: OSHA has created event tools, graphics and signage
  • Recognize your participation: Download a certificate of participation and a web badge

WATCH: Top 5 Reasons to Participate
REGISTER: Get your organization listed on the map of participants

Connect Employees with DriveItHome, Score Points on Seat Belt Safety

Adults between the ages of 35 and 54 were the least likely to always buckle up when riding in the back seat, according to a survey conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. More than one-quarter admitted they fail to buckle up in back because they felt safer than when riding in the front.

Adults are role models for teens learning to drive. At your workplace, you can score points by connecting staff members to DriveItHome, an initiative of the National Safety Council that offers free resources parents can use to help their teens gain experience and become safe drivers.

In 2016, seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,668 lives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

DriveItHome featured this reminder in a recent blog post: “When your teen sees you fail to buckle up, it is too easy for them to justify doing the same.”

READ:But … I’m in the Backseat.”
SIGN UP: Your employees can receive free digital driving coach lessons via email.

Tires: A Forgotten Safety Frontier

In the U.S., 30 crashes every day are tire-related, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Three safety essentials are covered in a NHTSA video you can share at your next safety meeting: checking tire pressure, rotating tires and checking tire tread.

WATCH: Life of a Tire.

NHTSA tire safety data is highlighted in an infographic:

  • Keeping your tires properly inflated can save you up to 11 cents per gallon of gas
  • 1 in 4 cars has at least one tire that is significantly underinflated
  • Most vehicles should have a tire rotation done every 5,000-8,000 miles

SHARE: In the Garage

Hook Up with Knowledgeable Practitioners During Free Webinar Series

In an effort to help you incorporate the best safety practices into your workplace safety program, Our Driving Concern provides access to knowledgeable practitioners through a free traffic safety webinar series. In August and September, three webinars will be offered:

  • Why You Should Maintain Your Company Vehicles (Aug. 15): Your drivers, other road users and passengers rely on how effectively you maintain your vehicles.
  • Hiding in Plain Sight (Aug. 22): When surveyed, 70% of employees admit to being impaired while at work. Do you know what to look for?
  • How to Build the Ideal Roadside Emergency Kit (Sept. 18): Prepare your workforce for roadside emergencies and learn what equipment should be stocked in every vehicle.

JOIN US: Register to attend these free webinars.