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

Safety Coach

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.

In 2016, 496 motorcyclists were killed on Texas roads, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Fifty-three percent were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. Wear a helmet.

The little things you do make a difference. If you are going out after work, make plans to get a sober ride home. Across the state, TxDOT data indicates there is a DUI alcohol-related crash every 21 minutes 18 seconds. Impairment begins with the first drink.

Have you ever been in a position where you tried to stop an impaired person from getting behind the wheel? What did you do? Did it work?

Ideas You Can Share at Your Workplace: Stop a Friend or Colleague from Driving Impaired.

The little things you do make a difference. Judgment, depth perception, coordination and reaction – skills needed to safely drive a car or truck – are affected by drugs and alcohol. In May, a 55-year-old Uber driver was killed in Lubbock in an alcohol-related crash, according to a report from Everything Lubbock.

“People can make the choice not to drink and drive, but they aren’t,” MAAD Victims Services Specialist Amanda Eldredge said in the report. “They continue to drink and drive … they continue to make bad decisions.”

Beyond loss of life, crashes are costly and employers absorb the brunt of those costs. In Texas, the average workplace motor vehicle crash costs more than $24,000. If the employee is injured, the cost increases to more than $125,000.

Print and Post: Impaired Drivers Are Dangerous Drivers

Tailgate Talk

Left or Right? Choices You Make as Driver Impact Others

If you can’t walk and text (have you seen the videos that have gone viral?), what makes you think you can drive and carry on a phone conversation? Driving is a thinking task. Likewise, talking on the phone is a thinking task. This is your chance to expose the myth of multi-tasking. Research shows the human brain cannot handle two thinking tasks at the same time.

Talking on the phone while driving forces your brain to switch between tasks, which slows reaction time. There is a difference between talking with a passenger and talking on a cell phone. Passengers can act as co-pilots and provide an extra layer of safety by alerting drivers to potential hazards. People on the other end of a phone call can’t see what’s going on and can’t call attention to changes in your driving environment.

During your next distracted driving Tailgate Talk, ask your employees to think about people they know who drive and talk on the phone. Pose this question: Are they selfishly rating themselves ahead of you? By engaging in a risky behavior while behind the wheel, are they saying, “Your life doesn’t matter?”

In a National Safety Council driver safety public opinion poll, two-thirds of drivers said they have felt unsafe because of another driver’s distraction, but just 25% felt their own distractions put themselves or others at risk. That kind of thinking smacks of, “It’s not me, it’s you.” Ask, “Who is the ‘you’ in that equation?

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 1 in 5 crashes statewide are the result of driver distraction. A closer look at data from 2016 indicates:

  • There were 109,658 distracted driving crashes in Texas – up 3% from 2015
  • More than 3,000 people were injured seriously and 455 people died
  • Distracted driving incidents peaked for those between the ages of 16 and 34
  • Transportation incidents are the leading cause of workplace fatalities

On or off the job, these crashes matter to you and your company’s bottom line.

What You Can Do at Your Workplace: Download the free NSC Safe Driving Kit. The kit includes resources to help build senior management support for safe driving policies and educational materials to drive behavior change.

Watch as a Group: Our Driving Concern five-minute e-learning module on distracted driving.

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