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October Newsletter 2018: Impairment Should Scare You Silly

Advocate and Edcuate: Five Action Items to Address Impairment Issues

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.

Q: How can employers address impairment issues, keep employees safe on the road and protect their bottom line?

A: Start by raising awareness of risks associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs, including prescription drugs and opioid pain medications. Through your safety talks and educational efforts, demonstrate how impairment of any kind is risky.

One way is to share results from a National Safety Council survey – How the Prescription Drug Crisis is Impacting American Employers:

  • Workers with substance use disorders miss 50% more days than their peers
  • Workers with pain medication use disorders miss three times as many days as their peers – an average of 29 days each year

Costs of missed work vary by industry, ranging from $187 to $3,941 per employee annually.

Alcohol and other drugs affect skills necessary for safe driving, including concentration, judgment and reaction time. Take steps to protect your employees and your organization by enacting or updating company drug and alcohol polices, expanding drug panel testing to include opioids (often prescribed to treat pain) and training supervisors and employees to spot the first signs of drug misuse.

Five more action items:

  1. Participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Oct. 27.
  2. Find year-round collection sites near you.
  3. Test your knowledge on proper drug disposal.
  4. Order free opioid warn-me labels for insurance cards.
  5. Download the kit: Make Your Workplace Opioid Free.

Halloween parties often result in an uptick in DWI-alcohol crashes. Always, plan for a safe ride home. Share this BAC timeline to understand how blood alcohol level can remain elevated long after you have stopped drinking.

New Video: Lisa Will Keep You Awake Talking about Safety Effects of Fatigue

Three in 10 adults average less than six hours of sleep. The safety effects of fatigue can be far-reaching. On the road, fatigue leads to drowsy driving. In the latest episode of “Live with Lisa,” Our Driving Concern Senior Program Manager Lisa Robinson says drowsy driving is impaired driving.

This snappy new traffic safety video has been created for you to share with employees on a workplace video monitor, during a safety meeting or via your social channels. We think you will enjoy the graphics and captions. Watch as Lisa explains how losing even two hours of sleep is similar to drinking three beers. Concentration, judgment and reaction time — all essential to safe driving — can be compromised.

Share: Drowsy Driving Can Be as Dangerous as Drunk Driving.

Learn more about Lisa’s work with Texas employers to reduce costs associated with crashes, whether they occur on or off the job: Our Driving Concern is Your Key to Safety.

Deal Me In: New Safety Coach Cards Come with Updated Stats and Facts

Here is how you can turn a card game into an interactive traffic safety experience at your workplace: Download the new 2018 Safety Coach cards from Our Driving Concern. Shuffle the deck and start a Jeopardy-style quiz game with your group.

A set of 48 color-coded cards comes divided by traffic safety topic. There are some new topic areas as well as some old, such as distracted driving, but all the cards come with updated stats and facts. Some sample questions:

  • Are your tires old enough to enroll in Kindergarten? If so, what do you need to do?
  • Is a hands-free device more dangerous than just talking to a passenger?
  • What do a truck and Mother Nature have in common?

Learn how to use the Safety Coach cards. Download your own free set and designate a dealer for a game of traffic safety fun.

Rail Safety: Because There is Nothing to Gain By Messing Around with a Train

Every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the U.S. In a blog post, Our Driving Concern Senior Program Manager Lisa Robinson points out it takes a mile for a freight train traveling at 55 mph to stop, even with the emergency brake applied. That’s about the length of 15 football fields.

She provides tips to share on your bulletin board or at your next safety meeting:

  • Never stop on the tracks; if the lights begin to flash while you are crossing, continue across the tracks
  • Never race a train
  • Watch for vehicles that are required to stop at railroad crossings

Read: Look Every Way Every Day.

In a video produced by the National Safety Council, a conductor recounts a fatal experience that made a lasting impact on his life. Watch/share: Never Attempt to Beat a Train.

More safety guidelines are available in a DriveitHOME post: How to Drive Near Railroad Crossings. Be sure to cover this important message: If your car ever stalls on tracks, get out.

Finding More Ways to Serve Texas Employers

Knowing how the Our Driving Concern program supports your efforts in the workplace is important. Our Driving Concern is grant-funded, so gathering feedback is essential for developing new ideas and finding more ways to serve Texas employers.

Can you take two minutes to complete this brief survey? Find it here.

Please share this survey with others in your company or those familiar with Our Driving Concern. Your support of our program is appreciated!

If You’re Going to Talk the Talk, You’ll Have to Walk the Walk

Take a step toward pedestrian safety at your workplace by raising awareness of pedestrian traffic data and sharing common-sense safety tips to prevent 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

Here is why your efforts are so important: In the U.S., 16 pedestrians died in traffic crashes every day in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That number has been rising for years. The National Transportation Safety Board investigated more than a dozen incidents involving pedestrian traffic fatalities and announced recommendations as part of a special report released in September.

The recommendations focus on technology, testing and vehicle equipment:

  • Incorporate pedestrian safety systems, including pedestrian collision avoidance systems, into NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program
  • Develop performance test criteria for vehicle designs that reduce injuries to pedestrians
  • Set standards for vehicle headlights and allow adaptive headlight systems

“Although the pedestrian crashes we investigated were not meant to be representative of nationwide data, the circumstances around the crashes were not unique — a child walking to school, an older man taking an evening walk around his neighborhood at dusk, a man walking his dog after lunch, a woman crossing a crowded city street, another leaving a bar at night,” said NTSB Member T. Bella Dinh-Zarr.

“In most of the cases, the pedestrians were in crosswalks at intersections, and many occurred where speed limits were posted for 25-30 mph.”

In Texas, 614 pedestrians were killed in crashes in 2017, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. That is a 13.6% decrease from 2016 and bucks the national trend.

To avoid distraction, talk about how a concentrated mind works as opposed to a diffused mind. Share: The practice of “Be Here Now.”

Wunderlich: Society Must Accept Role in Reversing Trend

In 100 a Day and Rising, Texas A&M Transportation Institute Director Robert Wunderlich explains the ins and outs and ups and downs of traffic fatalities. He highlights this equation: Fatalities = Exposure (measure of travel) x Risk (likelihood of fatality per unit of travel).

At one point, he asks, “Who can save us? Who can lower risk?”

Wunderlich points into the audience and says, “Well, you can.”

Then, he points to himself and adds, “And I can. And the person sitting next to you on either side can. And, how might we do this? We can act as individuals. We can act as parents. And we can act as members of society.”

He says society – as much as technology and engineering – must accept its role in reversing a trend that has resulted in an escalation of traffic fatalities across the nation over recent years. More than 100 people die on U.S. roads every day.

Employers are positioned to lead change through workplace policies and safety programs. Behaviors learned at work often are mimicked at home. The Our Driving Concern team is ready to assist by providing free resources, training opportunities and educational materials.

Learn: Our Driving Concern is Your Key to Safety.
Watch the full Wunderlich presentation: 100 a Day and Rising.

5 Tips to Avoid Drowsy Driving

In 2017, drivers fatigued or asleep at the wheel contributed to 9,704 crashes statewide, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. That’s nearly 27 crashes every day. In an effort to keep employees safe from the risks associated with drowsy driving, the Texas Department of Insurance provides these safety tips:

  • Get plenty of sleep: For adults, that means seven to nine hours every day
  • Avoid alcohol and sedatives: Check labels or ask a doctor or pharmacist if medications cause sleepiness
  • Talk to a doctor about sleep disorders: People with untreated sleep disorders are more likely to fall asleep while driving
  • Watch for signs of tiredness: Micro-sleeps that cause head-bobbing often occur before you nod off
  • Create a driver safety program: Provide guidelines to help employees make smart decisions

Get help from Our Driving Concern: Crashes: Know the Impact.

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