December 2019 Safety Coach: Safe Work, Safe Life, Safe Future

Share Post:

Backup cameras are intended to assist drivers, not replace them.

Safety Coach
Set New G-O-A-L for New Year

Make plans to charge into the new year with a new traffic safety G-O-A-L. That’s Get Out and Look.

Yes, technology can help reduce the number of back-up and back-over incidents involving your employees and fleet drivers. Back-up cameras shine a light on objects directly behind you when backing out of the driveway, a parking space or a loading dock. Rear sensors can detect objects and deliver a warning to prevent a crash.

But you should NOT rely solely on technology. Sunlight, dirt and inclement weather can obscure the view in camera lenses.  Sensors will not always detect moving objects or objects left under a vehicle. Today’s advanced driver assistance systems are intended to assist drivers, not replace them.

Hence, the G-O-A-L. One of the best ways for employees to protect themselves and your equipment from backing incidents is to get out of the vehicle and walk all the way around it before driving. Think of it as a scouting mission. Your drivers will get a first-hand view of the backing area and will be able to make mental notes of space limitations and potential hazards.

Here are five more tips to share so your drivers will back smartly into the new year:

  1. Check your mirrors before backing, but remember, mirrors do not always show the whole picture; look over both shoulder sand be aware of blind spots
  2. Choose easy-exit or pull-through parking spaces to avoid backing; try not to squeeze into a tiny spot or crowd neighboring vehicles
  3. Your best friend can be another set of eyes; make sure your spotter is visible in your driver’s-side mirror and your window is down to improve communication
  4. Back at a slow speed and cover the brake pedal
  5. Be aware of foot traffic: Use ropes and barricades to separate pedestrians from traffic in work zones, mark walking paths in parking lots

Backing accounts for less than 1% of a driver’s time behind the wheel but regularly accounts for about one-quarter of all collisions. About 15,000 people are hurt every year in back-over incidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. One reason: A driver’s field of vision can be limited when backing, often due to blind spots:

  • Sight behind the vehicle is restricted
  • Mirrors don’t always pick up objects on the sides of vehicles
  • Areas in front can be hidden by the hood or fenders

Here are some tools for developing your own safety talk:

Recorded webinar: Impact on Safety – Backing Vehicles

Get tips to tackle transportation safety trends — walking and biking.

Tailgate Talk
Another Chance to Get it Right

In the blink of an eye, we will close the books on a year and a decade, and open 2020 with an opportunity to embrace a transportation safety trend. More people are walking and biking, both as a means to get to work and to improve their health.

You might engage employees in walking and biking challenges. Perhaps you will ask them to set goals, track results and provide internal rewards, like gym passes or tickets to a movie.

While a new year is a good excuse to strive for a “new me,” fitness should not trump safety. Walkers and bikers too often are being injured or killed in incidents with motor vehicles. One reason: distraction. When drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists all are distracted, nobody wins.

Last year, 621 pedestrians lost their lives on Texas roads – a slight increase from 2017. Some died as a result of distraction and others due to impairment and straying outside crosswalks. Fatalities involving bicyclists increased by more than 26%. The data here in Texas mirrors what is happening nationwide.

In the U.S., more than 6,000 pedestrians and more than 800 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in 2018, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. The pedestrian fatality count is the highest since 1990. GHSA partnered with the Pedestrian and Bicycle Center to promote and enhance pedestrian and bicyclist safety efforts.

Share safety tips at your workplace.


  • Be safe, be seen; wear bight clothes
  • Walk on the sidewalk
  • Do not assume vehicles will stop at intersections
  • Use your walking time to disconnect: Lose those earbuds, answer calls and texts after you have reached your destination
  • Carry a flashlight or use a headlamp to illuminate your route at night
  • Follow the rules of the road


  • Wear a helmet and brightly colored clothing
  • Use the correct hand signals
  • Keep your hands on the handlebars (except when using hand signals) and your feet on the pedals
  • Do not wear headphones while riding and put you cellphone in your pocket or backpack
  • Use lights and reflectors at night
  • Follow the rules of the road

Get safety tips to prevent distracted walking, and get everyone at your location moving toward a better outcome as they set resolutions for the new year.