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Turn a Wish into a Reality

I’ve heard it said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

When you work with employees to promote safe driving behaviors on and off the job, turn that “wish” into a reality by devising a plan. Ask: What is your responsibility for a safe ride? Then, work together to create a checklist. Be sure to include items such as these:

  • When you first get in your vehicle, check and adjust seat positions and mirrors
  • Set your GPS and radio or music options before you depart to avoid distraction
  • Know the weather and driving conditions (rain, sleet and snow can cause roads to become slippery)
  • Buckle up (every person, every seat, every time)
  • What are the rules of the road where I will be driving (speed limits, etc.)?
  • Plan the route (check for road closures and the height of bridges)
  • Be prepared for work zones

In Texas and elsewhere across the country, research shows rear seat belt use lags far behind front seat belt use. A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety uncovered reasons cited by adults for not buckling in back:

  • One-quarter of respondents said they felt safer in back, so using a belt was unnecessary
  • Others said they are not in the habit of buckling up in back or they simply forget
  • Some said they couldn’t find the belt or the buckle in back because it was tucked away under the seat padding

In Texas, every passenger must be buckled, front and back alike, including ride-share passengers, and none of these reasons trump the safety of wearing a seat belt. How many of your employees travel for work? Do they drive company vehicles? Do they drive rental cars? Do they use cabs and other ride-share service vehicles? Do they buckle up in back? Nationwide, seat belt use in passenger cars saves about 15,000 lives every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The point is: You can plan for safety before you drive or ride. And your plan should go beyond regular vehicle maintenance. Just as it is important to check tires for wear and proper inflation, it is also important to stock your vehicle with a roadside emergency kit and secure loose items inside your vehicle so they don’t become projectiles in a crash.

I talk to many employees who tell me their company does not discuss safety as it relates to driving rental cars or riding as a passenger in a vehicle. Here are three free resources you can use to assist in your transportation safety efforts:

  • Co-Pilot Rights: Prevent distraction for the driver. Empower your employees to say something if they see something. Their safety is at risk.  Share this infographic.
  • Rental Card Checklist: We want all drivers to stay safe on the road, including those using rental vehicles. On the front of this double-sided card is an outline of what you need to learn about the vehicle you are driving before you leave the rental agency lot. Five things to check are highlighted on the flip side. Print and distribute.
  • What Happens When Unbuckled Bodies Collide in a Crash? 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. Show this video during a safety meeting.

– Lisa Robinson, senior program manager, National Safety Council

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