July 2017 Newsletter: Our Driving Concern is Your Drafting Tool for Writing Traffic Safety Book

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:

At Our Driving Concern, we work with employers to promote safe driving practices among their employees, both on and off the job.

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, online learning modules, safety coach cards and print materials.

Q: Can I reprint something you offer through Our Driving Concern? Can I link to your website?

A: Absolutely. We are here to help. All we ask is you please give credit to the National Safety Council and Our Driving Concern. Don’t feel like you have to reinvent the traffic safety wheel. Our resources are provided so you can protect your organization, your employees and your community. Many companies share content that employees take home and spread throughout their personal networks.

Some companies share our images and graphics on their intranet sites. The one thing we ask is you don’t change the intent of the materials/wording. Again, our goal is to make it easy for you to promote traffic safety.

Risky Driving: Poll Points to Gap Between Understanding & Engaging

It’s not me, it’s you. Most drivers recognize risky behaviors. Few believe their own actions behind the wheel put others at risk, according to a driver safety public opinion poll conducted by the National Safety Council.

NSC identified the most distressing things drivers do — or believe they can do:

  • 47% of drivers said it is safe to send a text either manually or via voice-dictation systems
  • 45% said they feel pressure from employers to check email while driving
  • 44% said they have crashed in the last three years while they were commuting or traveling for business
  • 35% of teens said they would use social media behind the wheel
  • 17% of teens feel their own distraction may have contributed to a crash
  • 71% of drivers said they believe they can have up to three drinks before they are too impaired to drive
  • 33% believe it is acceptable to drive with less than four hours of sleep; in fact, drivers who are tired can be as impaired as drivers who are legally drunk
  • 32% said new cars can essentially drive themselves
  • 13% have driven after using marijuana in the last month
  • Two-thirds of drivers have felt unsafe because of another driver’s distraction, but just 25% feel their own distractions have put themselves or others at risk

Share the results of the NSC poll at your workplace as a means of raising awareness to problems associated with distracted, drunk, drugged and drowsy driving. All have contributed to a nationwide increase in traffic crashes and traffic fatalities. Do a Q&A and see if your employees can guess the percentage response numbers in the poll. Discuss the various risks associated with these behaviors.

What You Can Do: Use our resources to spread a safety message.

1 Man Shares His Distracted Driving Story in Effort to Spare Others

At the Oklahoma Safety & Health Conference in Norman, I met David Chapman. He shared his distracted driving story and his photos. He wants to spare others from the experience.

While driving his white SUV, Chapman said he used one hand to pick up his tea. Then, when he felt the cup was caving in, he looked down and took his other hand off the wheel. When he looked up, traffic had screeched to a stop. He hit the car in front of him at 70-mph.

Thankfully, David — and everyone else involved in the crash — walked away unscathed. Their vehicles were wrecked, but their lives were not shattered. The result could have been much different.

In 2015, there were 23 fatal crashes, 2,303 injury crashes and 3,807 non-injury crashes in Oklahoma involving a driver distracted by something other than an electronic device, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.

Off-the-job crashes account for 80% of employer crash-related health benefit costs. Half of crash-related injuries cause employees to miss work. You can protect your employees, your organization and your community by working to explain risks associated with distracted driving.

Watch/Share: Distracted Driving: Your Employees Can Protect Themselves & Others.

Go Live with Lisa and Learn Why ‘Accident’ is Word for Potty Training

Accidents often occur by chance or without apparent or deliberate cause. Crashes typically are the result of driver error. Incidents involving distracted, drunk, drugged and drowsy driving have led to a surge in crashes across America. All can be linked to behavior choices.

Our Driving Concern Senior Program Manager Lisa Robinson suggests you point out that not-so-subtle difference when talking with employees about the importance of traffic safety.

Live with Lisa: Choose Carefully: ‘Accident’ is a Word for Potty Training.

Human or Robot: Co-Pilot Can Act Like Compass, Keep Driver on Track

On the road, a co-pilot can be as important as in the cockpit of an airplane, if for no other reason than to provide a second set of eyes or to voice a concern. No one wants to be confrontational, but if you are a passenger and the driver engages in unsafe behavior, you must speak up. You have a duty to defend the well-being of everyone in the vehicle and also to protect other travelers.

That duty one day could be delegated to a computer. One company is building a co-pilot into its autonomous drive computer, according to a report from TechCrunch. Nvidia is designing a co-pilot that will pull data from sensors inside and outside the vehicle. The technology works like this: A profile of your driving environment is created and you are flagged (through electronic alerts or voice messaging systems) if you need to react to a potential hazard.

Of course, the Nvidia prototype isn’t ready to be introduced into the marketplace. For now, you should remind employees to rely on co-workers and friends to speak up.

Safety Huddle: We provide talking points on driving basics to share with your team.

New Tool Helps You Monitor Heat Safety at Your Workplace

Workers who are exposed to extreme heat or those engaged in strenuous activity can be at increased risk for heat stress. The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool App is one way you can monitor heat safety in your workplace environment.

The app calculates the heat index at outdoor worksites using your smartphone’s geolocation capabilities to pull current weather conditions from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites. Based on the calculated heat index, users are provided specific sets of recommendations for protections against the heat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says heat stress can lead to dizziness and can result in a reduction in the brain function responsible for reasoning – both concerns for anyone operating machinery or who becomes overheated and attempts to drive a vehicle.

The heat safety tool is available in English and Spanish for Android and iPhone devices.

Are You Playing the ‘What-If’ Game with Your Drivers?

In an article for FleetOwner, Omnitracs Safety Center of Excellence Product Manager Drew Schimelpfenig explains the “what-if” game and how fleet managers and drivers can use the game stay focused and stay safe on the roads.

Schimelpfenig says drivers are taught to look ahead and ask themselves questions such as, “What if that driver has to switch lanes?” He says the game is all about raising a driver’s level of situational awareness.

A transportation services spokesman for Travelers offers a few more tips for fleet managers and drivers, including:

  • Making use of cell-phone blockers
  • Installing in-vehicle cameras (a particularly effective coaching tool)
  • Programming GPS devices before drivers depart for their destination
  • Teaching internal staff members, including dispatchers, not to distract drivers with calls when they are on the road