August 2018 Newsletter: ‘Big Kids’ Can Go Back to School, Too


Reserve a Seat in the Front of the Bus with Back-to-School Safety Efforts

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: Why should I talk about back-to-school driving safety at my workplace?

A: Because crashes involving employees and their family members can impact your bottom line. In fact, off-the-job crashes account for 80% of employer crash-related health benefits costs, and half of crash-related injuries cause employees to miss work.

Lost production is one result of lost time. Through workplace policies and education, employers can help protect their workforce, protect their organizations and, in turn, protect the families of employees as well as serving as community safety ambassadors.

What better place to start than with kids? As summer wanes, kids will return to the classroom. That means there will be more traffic during the morning commute and more traffic during the late-afternoon and early-evening hours when kids are riding buses home or returning from after-school activities.

Talk about sharing the road with pedestrians. Most kids killed in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old and they are hit while walking, by the bus or a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus, according to National Safety Council research. Share safety tips:

  • Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn
  • In school zones when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or walking in the intersection
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas

Get more safety tips: Slow Down: Back to School Means Sharing the Road.

AAA research indicates 13% of kids walk or ride their bikes to school, and 1 in 4 child pedestrian deaths over the last decade occurred between 3 and 7 p.m. AAA offers recommendations regarding ways drivers can keep kids safe, including this:

  • Eliminate distractions: Research shows taking your eyes off the road doubles your chance of crashing. Kids can be quick, crossing the road unexpectedly or emerging suddenly between two parked cars.

In Oklahoma, pedestrian fatalities increased by about 30% from 2015 to 2016 (68 to 91), according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. Pedalcyclist fatalities dipped slightly (6 in 2015 and 5 in 2016).

Share road-safety infographics:

Guthrie Health Agency Finds True Workplace Traffic Safety Companion

To meet the needs of clients, Guthrie-based Companion Health Services maintains a staff of 50 employees, including RN case managers, certified nursing aides, home health aides, private caregivers and physical therapists. Many drive company cars and are on the road every day.

Traffic safety is part of the company’s safety culture, and Our Driving Concern has become Companion’s new best friend.

Our Driving Concern was instrumental in Companion Healthcare bringing driving safety to the forefront as an important issue with our staff,” Director of Human Resources Cathie Cordis said.
She describes free training materials provided by the program as “awesome” and shares Our Driving Concern eNewsletters and video clips.

“The fun posters and flyers are displayed in our break areas and restrooms, too,” Cordis said.

Companion’s safe driving policy specifically addresses seat belts and cell phone distracted driving.

“Making a habit of reminding staff of the importance of driver safety keeps them always aware of following the rules and being a safe driver,” Cordis said. “The biggest change among our employees is them pulling over to use cell phones. Our staff are out in the field all day and continually receive calls and texts regarding their clients. We’ve had several employees turn on the ‘do not disturb’ function on their cell phone with a message stating to the caller they are driving and will return the call as soon as possible.”

Cordis said the proper mechanics of lifting, infection control and mental health are some of the other topics regularly discussed at staff safety meetings.

“In order to remain competitive and be a healthcare leader, we must rely on our staff,” she said. “Their health is critical to our success.”

To learn more about the Our Driving Concern program and our work with Oklahoma employers, visit our website or contact Senior Program Manager Lisa Robinson. Request free materials. Tell us what you are doing at your workplace, so we can share your story in an upcoming eNewsletter.

Taking Today’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems for a Test Ride

What is it like to experience how automatic emergency braking works in a semi on collision course with a parked pickup? In a SafetyFirst blog post, National Safety Council writer and National Child Passenger Safety Board digital content manager Ron Kremer describes how collision mitigation technology works in big rigs.

He was invited to sit in the cab and participate in a demonstration at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, IL. He learned how today’s technology is designed to assist drivers, not replace them.

“Think of it as two heads working as one to provide drivers more information, earlier alerts and allow for emergency intervention,” Kremer writes.

He adds, “Research points to the game-changing potential of advanced driver assistance systems, which, while not yet government-mandated in commercial trucks, are becoming standard in new truck series.”

Lives can be saved, injuries reduced and property damage minimized. “In turn, operating expenses will go down,” Kremer writes. “That’s a great return on investment all fleet owners can get excited about.”

READ/SHARE: Truck Safety Journey Begins with Quarter-mile Trip.

Show Off Your Traffic Safety Efforts During OSHA Safe+Sound Week

Safe+Sound. Do those words describe your system of operation?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration encourages you to show off during Safe+Sound Week Aug. 13-19, a nation-wide event to raise awareness and understanding of the value of workplace safety and health programs. To get you started, OSHA features a three-step process on its website:

  • Select your activities: You can host traffic safety or other workplace safety events just for your workers, or invite the public in an open-house type forum
  • Plan and promote your events: OSHA has created event tools, graphics and signage
  • Recognize your participation: Download a certificate of participation and a web badge

WATCH: Top 5 Reasons to Participate
REGISTER: Get your organization listed on the map of participants

Connect Employees with DriveItHome, Score Points on Seat Belt Safety

Adults between the ages of 35 and 54 were the least likely to always buckle up when riding in the back seat, according to a survey conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. More than one-quarter admitted they fail to buckle up in back because they felt safer than when riding in the front.

Adults are role models for teens learning to drive. At your workplace, you can score points by connecting staff members to DriveItHome, an initiative of the National Safety Council that offers free resources parents can use to help their teens gain experience and become safe drivers.

In 2016, seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,668 lives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

DriveItHome featured this reminder in a recent blog post: “When your teen sees you fail to buckle up, it is too easy for them to justify doing the same.”

READ:But … I’m in the Backseat.”
SIGN UP: Your employees can receive free digital driving coach lessons via email.

Tires: A Forgotten Safety Frontier

In the U.S., 30 crashes every day are tire-related, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Three safety essentials are covered in a NHTSA video you can share at your next safety meeting: checking tire pressure, rotating tires and checking tire tread.

Watch: Life of a Tire.

NHTSA tire safety data is highlighted in an infographic:

  • Keeping your tires properly inflated can save you up to 11 cents per gallon of gas
  • 1 in 4 cars has at least one tire that is significantly underinflated
  • Most vehicles should have a tire rotation done every 5,000-8,000 miles

SHARE: In the Garage

Hook Up with Knowledgeable Practitioners in Free Webinar Series

In an effort to help you incorporate the best safety practices into your workplace safety program, Our Driving Concern provides access to knowledgeable practitioners through a free traffic safety webinar series. In August and September, three webinars will be offered:

  • Why You Should Maintain Your Company Vehicles (Aug. 15): Your drivers, other road users and passengers rely on how effectively you maintain your vehicles.
  • Hiding in Plain Sight (Aug. 22): When surveyed, 70% of employees admit to being impaired while at work. Do you know what to look for?
  • How to Build the Ideal Roadside Emergency Kit (Sept. 18): Prepare your workforce for roadside emergencies and learn what equipment should be stocked in every vehicle.

JOIN US: Register to attend these free webinars.