Reaction to Distraction
In today’s techno-world, many understand phone use while driving can be risky, however a “not me” attitude toward crashes clearly is a problem, judging by the results of a Travelers Risk Index survey on distracted driving. (I’m a safe driver; it’s not going to happen to me).
The survey, conducted earlier this year, found that one in four respondents believe the roads are safer today than they were before the pandemic, yet growing numbers reported using their mobile devices in potentially unsafe ways while driving:
- 26% text or email
- 20% check social media
- 19% take videos and pictures
- 17% shop online
All of those percentages are significantly higher than pre-pandemic findings, and all of those behaviors can result in distracted driving. Speeding and distracted, impaired and other reckless driving behaviors have contributed to the highest percentage increase in crash fatalities in the U.S. in more than a decade.
Two more survey results are particularly important for employers to note:
- 48% of business managers said they expect employees to respond frequently to work-related calls, texts or emails
- Nearly three-fourths of companies who participated in the Travelers Risk Index said they have distracted driving policies in place, but less than 60% said they have disciplined employees who did not comply with those policies
How does this impact you? Employers absorb the brunt of costs associated with crashes, whether they occur on or off the job and whether they include employees or family members. The threat of liability exposure increases if an employee is involved in crash while driving distracted.
As you close the books on 2021 and look toward 2022, this is a good time to check your safe driving policies and determine whether you’ve built in adequate enforcement measures. Don’t have a policy? Use this free template to create your own.
Here are three more ways to improve your driver safety program:
- Professional development: Attend a free online webinar, learn new skills and apply them at your location. Register now: Transportation Safety: Changing Norms and Decreasing Risk.
- Driving Safety Games: Engage employees with “Distraction Action” – an e-learning game that is both educational and fun.
- Download, print and display distracted driving posters. Click on the “distracted” tab here and look for Buckle Up, Phone Down; Dead Man Talking and Donut Drive Distracted.
In today’s world, there are more ways than ever for drivers to be distracted. Use this test to enlighten those of the “not me” mindset: The Myth of Multitasking. Then, conduct your own safety survey and share the results over time.
Give the Gift of Safety
The holidays are time for family get-togethers and company parties. This year, give the gift of safety to coworkers. Start by displaying our December traffic safety calendar. The calendar, which features an image of a car crashing to the bottom of a cocktail glass, serves as a good reminder for all to plan ahead for a sober ride home following a night out.
Not only is it inconsiderate to get behind the wheel after you have been drinking or using other drugs, it is dangerous. Impaired driving crashes are more prevalent on weekends and during the holidays. Take a quick look at last year’s crash report from the Texas Department of Transportation. Across the state, there were:
- 14,178 crashes involving drivers under the influence of alcohol
- 3,836 crashes involving drivers under the influence of other drugs
That’s more than 18,000 crashes – or about 50 every day. In December, during the lead-up to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, 84 people died in DUI crashes. That’s nearly three alcohol-impaired crash fatalities every day. Let’s work together to create positive change. During your next safety talk, use our free Traffic Safety Huddle sheet to review blood alcohol content and raise awareness of issues related to impairment that touch your employees on and off the job.
Or, create engagement by sharing this timeline to understand how your blood alcohol level can remain elevated long after you have stopped drinking.
If your organization is hosting an event, it is worth noting you don’t have to serve alcohol to have fun. You can serve mocktails instead. Use our recipes to make your own:
- Non-alcoholic White Christmas Margarita
- Non-alcoholic sangria
- Non-alcoholic pomegranate spritzer
- Spikeless punch and mocktail recipes
If you are serving alcohol at a company party or in-home gathering, are you providing transportation to and from your big shindig? Have you considered what might happen if an attendee is involved in a crash? What’s your liability risk?
The holidays aren’t supposed to be about risk and liability. They’re supposed to be about family and friends sharing in the joys of the season. Through your educational efforts and ongoing training sessions, you can help make that happen. At work, give the gift of traffic safety. Encourage employees to take that gift and multiply it at home.
Each year, Our Driving Concern representatives honor Texas employers through a unique awards recognition program.
Traffic safety awards are presented to Texas organizations that encourage positive driver behaviors among employees on and off the job. The goal is to decrease injuries and fatalities that are a result of crashes on state roads.
Nominations for 2022 are open now. Visit our website to get more details. Or submit your online application using this form. The deadline is Feb. 28.