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October 2020 Newsletter: One Decade Down and Many More to Go on This Safety Journey

Commit to Driving Distraction-Free

Despite a decline in traffic volume, crash fatality rates have spiked in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving are three high-risk driver behaviors that continue to be contributing factors in most crashes.

The National Safety Council postponed the 10-year anniversary observance of Distracted Driving Awareness Month when our nation went on lockdown last spring. Since then, much has changed.

In this environment, we know people have more reasons than ever to feel distracted. Their minds are racing. Their attention is on job security, and the health and wellbeing of loved ones. When behind the wheel, these are the kinds of issues that can lead to cognitive distraction and pull a driver’s focus off the road.

On a typical day, more than 1,000 people are injured in distracted driving crashes in America, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Let’s look at three of the most common ways drivers can be distracted:

  1. Eyes: Vision is the most important way drivers get information they need to drive safely. To avoid visual distraction, put the phone away, scan the road and be prepared to react to anything.
  2. Hands: When you take your hands off the wheel, it can lead to unintended consequences. Remember the old rule? 10 and 2? Keep your hands on the wheel at all times.
  3. Mind: Making a call or sending a text via a voice command system can cause your mind to drift. Before departing, set your GPS device, silence your phone and pick a radio station or music playlist.

Today’s vehicles come equipped with the latest technology. Consumers assume these technologies are safe. When they are used correctly, that might be true. But some drivers order takeout food while behind the wheel. Others watch videos, gobble up French fries or attend to personal grooming. All of these behaviors come with safety risks. All can wait until you’ve safely arrived at your destination.

This October, during Distracted Driving Awareness Month, let’s make a commitment to decrease driver distraction and improve transportation safety. Create a comprehensive transportation safety program that includes a distracted driving program for your company. Share these free materials from the National Safety Council, and ask employees to commit to driving distraction-free.

Learn why unnoticed recalls are unnecessary risks.

Unchecked Recalls Pose Roadway Risks

Many vehicles sitting in your company’s parking lot need repairs. In fact, 53 million vehicles in the U.S. today have open recalls.

There is increased crash risk when vehicle safety issues are not addressed or vehicles are not properly maintained.  Employers can reduce incident rates and address liability concerns through continued transportation safety efforts.

Register for a free, online learning session at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14: Why Unnoticed Recalls Are Unnecessary Risks: How to Incorporate Check to Protect as Part of Your Transportation Safety Program.

We’ll walk you through the steps to:

  • Find out if any of your company vehicles are under recall
  • Educate your employees to check their own personal vehicles for recall notices

In 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued nearly 900 safety recalls impacting more than 38 million vehicles nationwide. Despite the fact that it’s free to make repairs at dealer locations, it is estimated about one-fourth of vehicle recalls are never addressed.

A good way to remember recalls is to tie this safety issue with time changes in the spring and fall. Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, Nov. 1. So, it’s two steps: Set your clocks back one hour to “fall back,” and check your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for a recall.

Company vehicles should undergo regular maintenance at specific mileage intervals, and maintenance should be consistent with vehicle manufacturer recommendations. A mechanic should do a thorough inspection of each vehicle at least once a year. Documented results of inspections should be kept on file.

Personal vehicles used for company business are not necessarily subject to the same criteria and maintenance generally is the responsibility of the owner. However, personal vehicles used for company business should be maintained in a manner that provides the employee with maximum safety and reflects positively on the company.

Safer cars lead to safer roads. Equip your employees with a pocket safety checklist that includes the following items to check:

  • Oil and coolant levels
  • Oil and air filters
  • Tire pressure and tread depth
  • Headlights, turn signals, brake lights and parking lights
  • Tire rotation schedule
  • Transmission fuel
  • Windshield wiper blades

More than 5 million crashes occur on U.S. roads every day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A little time up front can go a long way toward preventing breakdowns and saving money and lives.

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