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November 2018 Newsletter: Be Sure Your Employees Feast on Safety

Lisa’s Lists: 5 Reasons to Give Thanks and 3 Tips for Safe Driving

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.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a time for families, food and football. It is also a time when millions travel, and the roads are crowded and sometimes deadly. Make sure your employees get to the dinner table by talking more about safe driving, not so much about grocery lists. Start with this:

Q: What are you thankful for?

A: I answer like this:

  • Traffic safety, because it makes the world a safer place for my loved ones and yours
  • Law enforcement and EMS personnel, because they stand ready to help when needed
  • Engineers and others who design new roads with safety as a top priority
  • Programs that teach young drivers and seniors to be safe drivers
  • Child passenger safety instructors and technicians who are passionate about making sure kids are riding safe in all modes of transportation

About 400 people are killed every year in crashes on roads across America during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Thousands more are injured. In Texas, 55 people were killed during the 102-hour holiday driving period last year, including 15 on Thanksgiving Day.

Create awareness and prevent tragedies by sharing safety tips:

  • Buckle up on every trip in every seating position
  • Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue
  • Program your GPS before you depart and use the “do not disturb” function on your phone to avoid distraction

Tap into free resources from Our Driving Concern (handouts, safety coach cards, quizzes, etc.) to assist with your safety messaging. Or, dig into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration holiday travel campaign, which includes infographics, posters and sample social media posts.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Connect with Us and Get Social to Boost Traffic Safety Training Efforts

Research tells us internet users spend more than two hours every day on social networking. Have you considered tapping into that mindset and using social media to drive employee behavior change behind the wheel?

Think about it: Social media presents an entertaining and interactive way for employees to learn more about traffic safety. Employees are free to engage with your messages by liking or sharing, and using social media as a training tool could be a money saver, too. You might be able to reduce costs associated with on and off the job training sessions. In the U.S., crashes cost employers more than $47 billion annually, including expenses for medical care, liability, lost productivity and property damage, according to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety.

In today’s world, your employees can access social media any time and from almost anywhere. At Our Driving Concern, we encourage you to like, comment or share posts on our channels and pluck information and data to use in your own posts.

Get social to boost your transportation safety training efforts. Set a goal to share one of our posts every day. Or, distribute via email blast one of Senior Program Manager Lisa Robinson’s blogs. In Know Safety, No Crashes, she provides her own unique take on traffic safety.

Get New Data and Talking Points in Our Updated Traffic Safety Handouts

We’ve updated a series of our popular traffic safety handouts with new data and talking points. What happens next is up to you: Post them on your social channels or workplace bulletin boards. Use them to as guides during employee training sessions or to develop safety talks. Find them under the subhead of “Handouts/Brochures” on the resources page of our website.

  • On the Road, Off the Phone: Distractions now join alcohol and speeding as leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashes
  • Crashes Can Wreck Your Business: What happens to employees when they are not at work can have dramatic impact on business operations and finances
  • Asleep at the Wheel: A tired driver is a dangerous driver
  • Impaired Drivers Are Dangerous Drivers: Nearly three Texans are killed every day in alcohol-impaired crashes
  • Seat Belts Save Lives: Pickup drivers and men are less likely to buckle up
  • No Text Message is Worth a Life: Texting results in drivers taking their eyes off the road for an average of 23 seconds

In addition, free training opportunities from Our Driving Concern are outlined in a handy tri-fold document.

Stand Out Like a Paper Crane with Journey Management Safety Talk

In our newest Safety Huddle handout, Our Driving Concern Program Manager and Master Trainer Cindy Leonard provides points to guide you through a 2-5 minute safety talk on Journey Management.

She begins with a bit of statistical background highlighting crash frequency rates and crash costs and notes, “In today’s world, with many employees driving to accomplish work-related tasks, now may be the right time to talk with all of your employees about how they manage their journeys that involve driving.”

Three ways Journey Management can make a difference:

  • Helps drivers identify and avoid risks
  • Puts a plan in place that can prevent incidents before they happen
  • Determines through a thought process whether a trip is necessary and whether driving is the best transportation option

Each of our Safety Huddle handouts is intended to help refresh your employees on driving basics from risks associated with backing up to understanding how to navigate through intersections. We invite you to play the role of quarterback: “Huddle Up! Call a Winning Traffic Safety Play.”

Download these free resources:

Get Recognized Through Texas Employer Traffic Safety Awards Program

The workplace is a natural setting for distributing traffic safety messages and discussing driver behaviors — and it makes dollars and sense to do just that. Here’s why: By developing company policies, providing education and offering incentives, employers can save lives and save money.

Increasing traffic safety education is a way to demonstrate your concern for the well-being of employees and their families. You act as a role model for others and have a chance to be recognized for your efforts through the Our Driving Concern awards program.

Anyone may nominate a Texas employer. Self-nominations also are accepted. Employers may be municipal, corporate, private or not-for-profit — small or large. The deadline to submit entries is Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.

Learn more and fill out an application: Our Driving Concern: Texas Employer Traffic Safety Awards.
Watch the video featuring 2018 winners, see how you stack up: National Safety Council Honors Texas Employers with Traffic Safety Awards.

Learn More about Impairment, Talk about BAC Levels

The night before Thanksgiving has been dubbed “Blackout Wednesday” and “Drinksgiving” because so many college students return home and join other young adults in bars and restaurants. Drinking and driving puts everyone on the road at risk.

A Vital Signs report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates alcohol-impaired drivers get behind the wheel more than 112 million times every year across the U.S. CDC pegs the annual cost of alcohol-related crashes nationwide at more than $44 billion.

Employers pick up much of this tab.

In Texas last year, 1,024 people were killed in crashes where a driver was under the influence of alcohol, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Another 2,169 suffered serious injuries. Were any of them your employees? Their family members?

Millions of Texans will be traveling over the long holiday weekend. Take steps at your workplace to provide education on how an individual’s blood alcohol level can remain elevated long after he or she has stopped drinking. Share this BAC Test: It’s a Matter of Time.

Attend a free training session and learn to identify the signs and symptoms of impairment that result from use of alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription drugs. Or, host a session in your area. Learn: Drug Impairment Training for Texas Employers.

Play This Video: Jade Stephens PSA. Get Fact Sheets: Drunk Driving in Texas. Plan Ahead for a Safe Ride Home: Download the SaferRide app from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Get in Front of Buckling Up in the Back Seat

A barrage of safety concerns, including the regulation and oversight of stretch limousines, were elevated to national news following a crash in Schoharie, N.Y., that resulted in 20 fatalities. One way to keep the conversation going at your workplace and to protect your employees is by continuing to promote seat belt safety.

Limousines drivers are required to wear seat belts, but passengers riding in back are not. The same rules apply to some or all ride-share vehicles. While it is well known that buckling up is the single most effective way to protect yourself in a crash, adults don’t always wear seat belts when sitting in back seats.

In a survey conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 91% of respondents said they always use seat belts in the front seat. The number dipped to 72% in back. Without proper restraint, passengers can become projectiles in crashes. Injuries can occur when bodies collide with one another or slam into hard surfaces.

In fact, traveling at 30-mph, an adult passenger riding in the back seat without his seat belt fastened is thrown forward with a force of 3½ tons, the weight of an elephant charging straight through the driver. Watch: What Happens When Unbuckled Bodies Collide in a Crash.

Buckling up is a safety best practice for every trip and in every seating position. Does your company safe driving policy address use of seat belts? Get our sample policy and use it on your own letterhead.

Last year, 40.1% of people killed in crashes in Texas were not wearing seat belts, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Talk about the three types of collisions in every crash:

  • Vehicle collision: The vehicle begins stopping as it collides with another object
  • Human collision: The occupant continues to move toward the point of impact at the same speed even though the vehicle begins to stop once impact occurs
  • Internal collision: The occupant’s internal organs move toward the point of impact and hit other organs, bones and the skull

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated an additional 2,456 lives could have been saved in 2016 if everyone buckled up. Watch: Doesn’t Matter How Far: Just Belt Up. Share: Seat Belts Save Lives.

Cross the Traffic Safety Language Barrier

On our website, we have divided Our Driving Concerns into six main categories:

When you click on any one of the categories, you will find information you can use to educate employees about risks associated with unsafe driving behaviors. Now, you can use our “translate” tool to view and share this information in Spanish, too.

In addition, you can share free Spanish resources from our friends at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Safety Council and Texas Department of Insurance. Traffic safety makes dollars and $ense in any language.

Prepare for Driving in Winter Conditions

While winter takes on a different look and feel in different parts of the country, driving safety tips easily cross state lines. Prepare your employees for risks associated with travel during inclement weather. Start with these winter driving safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • Ready your vehicle: Stay up to date on tune-ups and regular maintenance, clear forward sensors, headlights, tail lights and vehicle backup cameras
  • Ready yourself: Slow down and increase following distance, particularly on slippery roads, and allow extra time on your daily commute
  • Ready for an emergency: Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle and include items such as jumper cables, blankets and emergency lights

In a study of all vehicle crashes from 2005 to 2014, NHTSA determined 17% occurred during winter driving conditions. Last year in Texas, there were 599 fatal crashes during November and December. More than 40% occurred on U.S. and state highways, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. These are roads your employees travel every day.