Road Safety Stars
All of us have had time to identify our heroes in recent days. We have paid tribute to first responders, truck drivers and grocery store workers. Today, I’d like to single out another set of heroes, employers in Texas who are working to make our roads safer.
I am thrilled to recognize the 12 employers selected as recipients of the 2020 Our Driving Concern Traffic Safety Awards, and six others who earned honorable mention. All of them are linked by at least one common denominator: driver safety. All of them are working to keep their employees and others safe on our roadways and, in turn, reduce traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities.
Since 2014, Texas Our Driving Concern program officials, the National Safety Council and the Texas Department of Transportation have presented these awards annually. This year, the awards presentation will be different, just as our world is different because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We will feature award recipients on the Our Driving Concern website and in social media posts. A video highlights presentation will be shared at the Texas A&M Virtual Traffic Safety Conference June 10-12. We will mail plaques and banners to the 12 recipients commemorating their work promoting safe driving behaviors, and we will ask them to share photographs from in-person celebrations when it is safe to pull their teams together again.
This is the seventh year for employer recognition and the fourth straight year NSC and Our Driving Concern have called out traffic safety leaders in three categories. Four Texas employers went above and beyond to earn Exemplary distinction, eight others were designated Award Recipients (promoting traffic safety at work and encouraging employees to take learnings home) and six earned Honorable Mention:
- Exemplary Award Recipients (4): City of Arlington, Port of Corpus Christi Authority, Shell Exploration and Production Company, Texas Mutual Insurance Company
- Award Recipients (8): City of Austin Public Works Department; City of Irving, City of Waco, Indeca Crude Xpress, Northside Independent School District, Pioneer Natural Resources, ProFrac Services, USIC (U.S. Infrastructure Company)
- Honorable Mention Recipients (6): Capital Metro (Austin Public Transit), City of El Paso (Municipal Court), City of New Braunfels, Faust Distributing Company, San Antonio Municipal Court, Star Shuttle & Charter
Our lives have changed, but the rules of the road have not. Leaders at these organizations understand that. Please join us in celebrating their work, and visit our website to learn more about the 2020 award recipients.
Back Your Words with Actions
This is the time of year employees participate in step challenges or break up their day with a walk during the lunch hour. This is also a good time to engage your workforce in pedestrian safety activities. Let us help you get started.
Watch this video in a team meeting, share it on your social channels or play it on video monitors at your location: Put Your Best Foot Forward.
The one-minute clip is the latest in my Live with Lisa series, a collection of videos we have put together to help you promote traffic safety, both on and off the job. You will hear me say engineers are working to address infrastructure issues in America’s urban centers. The goal is to separate foot traffic from motor vehicles. Until this is accomplished, pedestrian safety remains a two-way street.
Employees are pedestrians, too. They may walk to and from work, to and from their cars, and at lunch and on job sites. Pedestrians need to use crosswalks, cross when traffic lights are green, and avoid being distracted by phone calls, text messages and music playing in their ears. Drivers, likewise, need to slow down in congested areas and focus 100% of their attention on the road and others who share the road, 100% of the time.
In collisions involving pedestrians and vehicles, pedestrians always lose. In fact, 1 in 5 victims in fatal crashes is a pedestrian, and the number of pedestrian traffic fatalities is projected to reach its highest point in 30 years, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Finally, share these simple tips to raise awareness and prevent incidents involving distracted walking:
- Never walk while texting or talking on the phone
- Never cross the street while using an electronic device
- Do not walk with headphones in your ears
A walk is supposed to be the best kind of medicine, not a prescription for emergency care. Be safe. We say those two words to loved ones, friends and colleagues all the time. This is your chance to put those words into action.