You know them as business partners and community leaders.
Fifteen Texas employers who have demonstrated a proven commitment to traffic safety have been recognized by the National Safety Council through the Our Driving Concern Texas Employer Traffic Safety Awards program.
Awards are presented annually in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation.
In 2017, award recipients ranged from businesses with as few as 13 employees to as many as 20,000, and from nonprofits to municipal organizations. It is the first time winners were selected in three different categories, and the number of recipients was record-breaking – a nod to the level of commitment employers in Texas have made to protecting employees on the road.
“As traffic fatalities continue rising nationwide, it is more important than ever to look out for one another,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “These employers are taking the lead, and we are proud to recognize their efforts.”
NSC and Our Driving Concern recognized the following employers:
Exemplary Award Recipient
- Buffalo Gap Instrumentation & Electrical Co. Inc.
- City of Arlington
- Dallas ISD
- MedStar Mobile Healthcare
- City of Irving
- City of San Antonio, Office of Risk Management
- City of Waco
- LeMeilleur’s RV Truck & Equipment Repair Co., Inc.
- Port of Corpus Christi
Honorable Mention Award Recipient
- AFC Transportation
- Brown Integrity, LLC.
- CECO Pipeline Services & CECO Compressor
- Erath County Offices of TxDOT
- Service First Distribution/Mid-South Baking
- Titan Directional Drilling
Employee education, training and other activities centered on traffic safety were considered in evaluating nominees.
A: Take those three words and think about how your organization can benefit from studying risks associated with fatigue and drowsy driving. Dr. Charles Czeisler is the renown “Sleep Doctor” from Harvard who has worked with professional athletes and aerospace engineers to help them obtain adequate rest and reach peak performance.
A: A driver’s field of vision can be narrowed to include only areas illuminated by headlights and fixed road lights. Depth perception and peripheral vision can be compromised. And then, there is fatigue.
Fatigue is caused by sleep-deprivation, time-on-task tedium and body-clock disruption. All can be factors leading to drowsy driving. The ability to sustain attention, see and react to hazards dips when drivers are drowsy. In a National Safety Council survey, one in five working Americans admitted to falling asleep while driving in the past month.
October is a good time to talk about risks associated with night driving and pedestrian safety because the month typically is reserved for fall festivals and Halloween activities and concludes as daylight savings time nears an end. Your drivers and employees will be driving during more in the dark.
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.
Q: Still, I am asked from time-to-time, what exactly is this program and what is it about?
A: Think of Our Driving Concern as your table of contents and you are writing the book that goes with the table of contents. We provide the framework and resources for you to develop a traffic safety program at your workplace at no cost. Our materials are designed to fit nearly every situation and nearly every work environment – big, small, public and private.
From Our Driving Concern, everybody can find tools to put in their toolbox. The aim is to address transportation safety in the workplace and to reach 100% of your employees. You have the ability to take the materials and make them meet your needs. We update materials and produce new resources on a regular basis, including our eNewsletters, webinars, on-line learning modules, safety coach cards and print materials.
A: The short answer is, “No.” The training equips you to go back to your company and incorporate transportation safety in an on-going manner. The goal is to provide you with assistance to promote safe driving behaviors. Crashes, whether they occur on or off the job, are costly for any organization.
Moving forward, this training most likely will get a new name and simply be called “Our Driving Concern Training” instead of the current title, Train-the-Trainer, due to the confusion it seems to cause. The training is simply that – training.
This message rings loud and clear in a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association — Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for States. GHSA said drugs were found in 43% of drivers tested in fatal crashes vs. 37% in alcohol-involved fatal crashes.
What you need to know is drugs – including the over-the-counter variety and prescription medications – can impact your employees’ ability to work and can impact your bottom line. In the case of driving, drugs can compromise concentration, judgment and reaction time.
In Texas, there were 3,337 crashes involving drivers under the influence of drugs in 2015, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. A closer look at the data indicates there were 222 fatal drug crashes, 289 crashes involving incapacitating injuries and 611 crashes involving non-incapacitating injuries.
What’s the cost to a Texas employer? The National Safety Council has created a tool for you to use and find the answer: Substance Use Cost Calculator for Employers. It’s free and it’s easy to use. You plug in your workplace location, the type of business or industry you are in and the number of employees in your organization.
With that information, a report is generated that you can present to your executive leadership team. At your workplace, you may want to expand drug testing panels to include commonly prescribed medications. Further, you can protect your employees, your organization and your community by working to promote traffic safety and drawing attention to drugged-impaired driving.
- Learn about Bill: He was injured at work, overdosed at home.
- Print and post: Impaired Drivers Are Dangerous Drivers
- Attend: Drugged Driving in Texas: Trends, Public Opinion and Enforcement
Prescription Drugs Can Put You at Risk Behind the Wheel
Can you identify four common workplace risks associated with prescription painkiller use? How about your employees? While you are out in the field, pull your team together and share these answers from Painkillers on the Job at your next Tailgate Talk.
Taking prescription drugs can lead to risks for those:
- Driving vehicles (commuting to-and-from work or while on the job)
- Operating machinery/equipment
- Making critical assessments
- Handling tasks that require focus and concentration (pace diminishes and productivity declines)
One study indicated enough prescription painkillers were provided in 2010 to medicate every American around the clock for an entire month. So, at any given time, some of your employees may be using prescription drugs and may be subject to these risks.
Next, talk about The Two Faces of Prescription Drugs. Yes, prescription medications are helpful taken in the right doses, at the right times, and when users are aware of potential side effects.
What is the flip side? Taking prescription drugs for long periods of time can lead to:
- Addiction, especially to pain medication
- Abuse, particularly with pain medications and when drugs falls into the wrong hands
Every day, 60 people die from opioid pain medications, according to research from the National Safety Council. Just as alarming: 70% of people who have abused prescription painkillers reported getting them from friends or relatives.
Watch: The story of an Oklahoma Wonder Woman who “coded” twice after being hit head-on by a drugged driver and recently celebrated her third “re-birthday.”
NSC provides a free kit you can download to Make Your Workplace Opioid Free.
Buckle your seat belt, wash your hands. These are examples of healthy habits that easily can be accomplished is less than one minute. You don’t think much about either one because you are in the habit of doing both.
Q: Have you thought about incorporating traffic safety into your regular workplace safety culture in a similar fashion? By making traffic safety a habit?
A: No? Why not? You can reduce risks, prevent injuries and save lives at your organization through your educational efforts. Make it a habit to talk about traffic safety. You don’t have to talk forever. Often, one or two minutes will do. Just make your efforts consistent and ongoing. Include non-verbal messaging, too. Hang posters in the breakroom and on bulletin boards. Affix window-clings in your company vehicles and place our Toilet Tabloids in your bathrooms.