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.
Talk about the dangers of drowsy driving at your next safety meeting. Let me get you started by sharing one of the new traffic safety video messages we’ve created to highlight important steps employers can take to promote safe driving practices among their employees, both on and off the job.
This video focuses on risks associated with drowsy driving. In less than one minute, you will see me yawn. You will hear me talk about sleep deprivation. And you will hear me explain drowsy driving occurs when people take the wheel despite experiencing feelings of sleepiness and fatigue.
I also tell you drowsy driving is not only a result of lack of sleep, that it can be brought on by sleep disorders, alcohol, medications and shift work. Most people don’t recognize when they are tired. Frequently, tiredness is the result of monotonous driving, one big cause of drowsy driving. Sometimes this phenomenon is referred to as time-on-task fatigue.
In 2015, 1,241 drowsy drivers were involved in crashes in Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. Fourteen of those crashes resulted in fatalities. Injuries were recorded in 539 of the incidents. Drivers between the ages of 16 and 34 accounted for more than half of the crashes (760).
Drowsy Driving is 1 of 10 traffic safety video messages we’ve recorded. You are encouraged to embed each of these videos on your company website, share them on your social channels or send viewing instructions and links directly to your employees via email. Learn more about The Problem of Drowsy Driving on our website.
In the meantime, share this thought with your employees: You want to be attentive behind the wheel to protect yourself and your loved ones from those engaging in risky driving behaviors. Here are three suggestions to help them stay awake, alert and alive:
- Take a nap (20 minutes of sleep can alleviate the feelings of drowsiness, at least temporarily)
- Drink a caffeinated beverage (coffee or cola)
- Schedule travel breaks (find a rest area in Oklahoma)
Print and post: Not Your Dream Car
Wonder Woman Survives Drugged Driving Crash, Finds New Purpose
She proudly wears a Wonder Woman T-shirt.
You would too if you were celebrating your third re-birthday. Jodene Lopresto of Lexington says she died twice on April 30, 2014, after her vehicle was hit head-on by a drugged driver on a two-lane section of bridge near Asher. She survived because she was wearing her seat belt – but not without a scare. She was flown to OU Medical Center and “coded” twice, according to a report in The Oklahoman.
Lopresto was resuscitated and since has undergone the same number of surgeries (39) to repair her broken bones and internal injuries as she is old – 39. “God had plans for me … ,” she said. “… He was preparing me for the biggest battle in one’s life, to share my story, to bring the encouragement, motivation, inspiration to others along with bringing the reality of what impaired driving looks like.”
Lopresto is featured in a YouTube video produced by the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. Watch it with your employees. Then, tap into our Tailgate Talk to highlight how dangerous drugs – even prescription medications – can be when operating a vehicle: Driving Under the Influcence … It’s Not Just Alcohol.
Learn How Tulsa Reduced At-Fault Distracted Driving Incidents to Zero
Looking to add a distracted driving policy to your traffic safety program? Why not follow the lead of the City of Tulsa?
In 2011, then-City Health and Safety Training Coordinator Eddy Tijerina embarked on a similar path with a vision tied to three governing principles:
- Protect employees
- Protect the organization
- Protect the community
In 2015, the City of Tulsa rolled out its policy during Distracted Driving Awareness Month. At-fault incidents involving city employees dropped from 11 in 2014 to zero in 2016. Tijerina explains how he secured buy-in from leadership as well as how the policy includes consequences for employees found to be in violation of the City ban on handheld and hands-free devices in our webinar: Employer Distracted Driving Programs; They’re a Good Thing!
Show You Care: Draw Attention to Dangers of Leaving Kids in Hot Cars
On April 14, a 23-month-old boy died after being left in a hot car in Burleson, TX. He became the fifth victim of child vehicular heatstroke death in 2017.
One way employers can reach employees and show they care about their well-being is through traffic safety efforts that serve to protect them on the job and their families at home, too. An easy way to do that is to talk about the risks associated with leaving kids in hot cars.
On average, 37 kids die in hot cars every year in the United States. More than half of these incidents occur after a parent or guardian forgets a child in a vehicle. This can happen to anyone at any time because infants and toddlers sleep so soundly, and it’s easy to forget they are in the back seat.
Also, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, parents often are stressed. On occasion, they lose track of little ones, particularly when schedules and routines are broken. To create awareness and prevent more tragedies, share these simple preventative strategies:
- Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute
- Keep your car locked when you are not in it, so kids don’t gain access on their own
- Create reminders by putting something in the back seat next to your child, such as a briefcase, purse, cell phone or your left shoe
- If you see a child alone in a car, call 911
- Set a calendar reminder on your electronic device to make sure you dropped your child off at daycare; develop a plan so you will be alerted if your child is late or a no-show
Average Driver Spends 3½ Minutes on the Phone Per One-Hour Trip: Report
How LARGE is the problem of distracted driving? Using sensor data from more than 3 million drivers and 5.6 billion miles of trips, one analytics company found drivers are using their phones on 88% of their journeys, according to a report in WIRED.
Further, the report said the average driver spends 3½ minutes on the phone per one-hour trip and noted a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study indicating a two-second distraction increases crash risk by 20%.
Employers pay for crashes that occur on and off the job in a number of ways, including when employees suffer injuries and production declines because of missed work time.
In Oklahoma, 1,787 drivers were in crashes involving the use of electronic devices in 2015, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. Eleven crashes resulted in fatalities. Injuries were recorded in 694 incidents.
Share the numbers. Make your next safety meeting interactive: Use our Safety Coach cards to engage your employees and provide education on the dangers associated with distracted driving.
Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety Resonates on the Job and at Home
Do you have employees who walk to work? Ride a bike?
Six policy elements for creating safe and complete bicycle and pedestrian networks are highlighted in a report from the Federal Highway Administration. The list includes:
- Define success: Set goals, objectives and performance measures and how to gain stakeholder buy-in
- Protect non-motorized travelers: Discuss policies that help prevent crashes
- Make it last: Discuss maintenance
In March, the Governors Highway Safety Association projected pedestrian fatalities to surge by 11% when all the data is gathered for 2016. One reason: distracted walkers.
Tips to share at your workplace:
- Walking is working, so stay focused on your surroundings
- Wear shoes that are slip-resistant and provide support to the ankle
- Don’t carry too much; you need your arms to maintain balance and stability
Flagger Saved Her Life; Now, She Works to Flag Attention of Distracted Drivers
Jamie Cleveland believes in the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s work zone awareness safety campaign – Your Life Matters: Drive Like It.
She was stopped by flagger Justin Gates as equipment was being unloaded up ahead in a construction zone on SH-76 near Blanchard in April. Her 4-year-old son was buckled in the back seat. Just then, Cleveland and Gates realized a pickup truck was approaching too fast to stop.
Gates shouted, “Go! Go! Go! Drive! Get off the road!”
Cleveland sped into the ditch. Gates was struck by the pickup truck and injured critically.
“He saved our lives,” she said.
Cleveland’s survival story is recounted in a news release put out by ODOT. She joined with ODOT safety partners along I-235 in Oklahoma City on May 1 to spread the message of ODOT’s work zone awareness safety campaign. Eighty-five ribbons were displayed near N. 36th St., each one representing a life lost in an Oklahoma work zone incident during the last five years.
The ODOT message to share with your employees:
- Slow down
- Set aside distractions
- Be alert in work zones
Or said another way, “Your Life Matters: Drive Like It.” Ask, “How much thought process is required for you to talk on a cell phone and do another activity at the same time?” Engage your group with this improve activity: Stand, Sit or Lean.