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: How do you handle a situation involving a driver with an unsecured load?
A: I was a passenger in a vehicle recently traveling on a two-lane road with a posted speed limit of 50 mph. As we approached from behind a pickup with an attached trailer, I immediately asked the person driving to back off and leave more following distance than is considered normal (sometimes referred to as the three-second rule).
I started talking to everyone in the car about the dangers this vehicle posed. Household belongings were heaped high in the bed of the pickup, and the weight of the load in the trailer tipped the rear end to the point where it was inches from scraping the pavement. None of the items appeared to be tied down.
Teach the importance of securing your load, and use our free Traffic Safety Huddle resources to guide a lesson plan at your workplace. Why is this effort worth a few minutes of your time? Unsecured loads cause 440 deaths, 10,000 injuries and 51,000 traffic incidents each year, according to the National Government Accountability Office.
More than 40 million people move each year in the U.S., about 80% between April and September.
When you talk to your employees and drivers about securing the load on the back of a truck or other vehicle, make sure they know Oklahoma law. Failure to comply can result in tickets and/or fines.
What should you notice about a well-loaded moving vehicle?
- The load is tied down or fastened with rope, netting or straps
- The top, back and sides of the load are all secured
- Large objects are tied directly to the vehicle or trailer
Take steps to prevent losing part of your load and adding to the collection of debris left on the side of the road:
- Have your vehicle checked by a trained mechanic for underinflated tires, worn tire tread and rusted exhaust systems that can cause mufflers and other parts to drag and break loose
- Inspect the load; look for items that could break loose or tip and fall in high winds
- Ask: What would happen to your load if you had to break suddenly or if you were involved in a collision?
Conclude with discussion on how to safely travel behind an overloaded vehicle. Two points to highlight: Back off and Be Cautious. Watch: A public service announcement featuring a mom who worked for change after her daughter was blinded and nearly killed by a flying piece of particle board.
Video Tool: Float a Traffic Safety Message around Your Workplace
Change driver behavior with our creative free resources and your ongoing educational efforts. Download and share this continuous-play file in your lobbies, breakrooms and other places where you post information on video monitors. Your employees will learn answers to these questions (and much, much more):
- What do an astronaut and safe driver have in common?
- Is it safe to use a hands-free device while driving?
- Where do you think the majority of fall-asleep crashes occur?
New from Our Driving Concern; Find it here: Video Monitors: Creative Way to Deliver Traffic Safety.
Something New: Try a Pop Quiz, Grade Employees on Sign Knowledge
A line from a ditty by the Five Man Electrical Band goes like this: “Now, hey you, mister, can’t you read the sign?”
You do not have to hit all the high notes to engage employees. Instead, try the new quiz we created to test their road sign literacy. A photograph appears with each of the 10 multiple choice questions. The ask: What does this sign mean?
Quiz employees, track the results and reward individuals who achieve the highest scores. Who said traffic safety couldn’t be fun?
Get it here: Road Sign Literacy Quiz.
Identify Factors Linked to Fatigue, Keep Oil and Gas Drivers Safe
When behind the wheel, the effects of fatigue often are compared the effects of alcohol. Here is why:
- Losing even two hours of sleep is similar to the effects of having three beers
- Being awake for more than 20 hours is the equivalent of being legally drunk
Our safety partners at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have developed fact sheets that identify factors linked to fatigued driving and provide recommendations for keeping oil and gas drivers safe on the road. Download them and use these free resources as training tools:
- Oil and Gas Employers: How to Prevent Fatigued Driving at Work
- Oil and Gas Workers: How to Prevent Fatigued Driving at Work
Get a tailored estimate of how much the burden of fatigue can be offset by programs implemented at your workplace: NSC Fatigue Cost Calculator.
Take advantage of more free resources:
- Steer Oil and Gas Drivers away from Fatigue
- The Problem of Drowsy Driving
- Not Your Dream Car
- Time for All of Us to Wake Up to the Problem of Drowsy Driving
Keep Truck Drivers Safe after They Reach Destinations
A flier produced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the trucking industry addresses common hazards for drivers after they reach their destination:
- Backing up
- Coupling (attaching) vehicles
- Uncoupling (detaching) vehicles
From 2014-2016, 51% of fatal crashes involving at least one large truck or bus occurred in 10 states, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Raise awareness: Commercial Motor Vehicle Traffic Safety Facts.
Three Ways to Block Driving Distractions
In a blog post, National Safety Council Senior Director of Advocacy Jenny Burke shares a distracted driving experience and highlights three ways to put safety first when the world demands your time, attention and energy:
- Tell everyone you won’t answer calls and texts while you are driving.
- Use technology to block calls and texts.
- Sign a pledge to be an attentive driver, and have everyone at your workplace or in your family sign one too.
Burke says, “Our multimedia world makes us think we’re capable of processing simultaneous streams of information. We’re not.”
Read/share: Put away your phone and #justdrive.
Learn about ‘Missing Link’ at Oklahoma Safety Conference
Make plans to meet Our Driving Concern Senior Program Manager Lisa Robinson and attend the Oklahoma Safety & Health Conference and Expo July 18-20 in Tulsa.
Robinson will lead a breakout session, Occupational Driving Safety Programs: The Missing Link in Most Safety & Health Management Systems, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Thursday, July 19. The session will discuss employer liability and policies, and best practices will be shared.
Consider this your pre-conference checklist:
Are We Friends Yet on Social?
Since Facebook is changing how information appears on your page, please make sure to “Follow” and select “See First” to get the latest updates from Our Driving Concern!
We are working to build our reach, touch and act metrics through our social accounts. We invite you to help:
On occasion, we might follow the lead of the Maine Department of Transportation and share a few zingers to promote traffic safety. How do you like this one? Caution Humor Ahead: Get Your Head Out of Your Apps.
Request free traffic safety materials to use at your next safety meeting or health event.
Know the Flip Side of Medication Story
Prescription medications are helpful in the right doses, at the right time, and when the user is aware of all potential side effects. What is the other side of the prescription medication story?
- Potential overdose
In a blog post, National Safety Council Content Producer Jenny Bezingue tells the story of her father’s last days. She recalls he was in agony because his dependence on prescription opioids meant a higher level of pain couldn’t be controlled when he was hospitalized.
Read/share: When the Opioid Crisis Hits Close to Home
Teach your employees that driving while taking prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Judgment, concentration and reaction time all can be compromised.
Use our free Tailgate Talk resources to lead a discussion on impairment at your workplace.
Work to Raise Awareness, Prevent Tragedies Involving Kids in Hot Cars
Tornadoes are scary, sometimes deadly. Hot cars can be even more deadly.
In 2017, about 1¼ times as many children died in hot cars (42) as all individuals who died in tornadoes across the country (35). In Oklahoma, three kids have died in the last three years, all in the heat of late-summer. Work to connect with your employees by providing education that can raise awareness and prevent tragedies.
In April 2017, a 1-year-old boy died after being left in a pickup truck. At that time, the temperature in Vestavia, AL, was just 68 degrees. What many do not know is cars and trucks heat up rapidly even on milder days and no matter the time of year. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise by nearly 20 degrees in 10 minutes. Heatstroke occurs when a person’s body temperature rises to 104 degrees and can result in irreversible organ damage or death at 107 degrees.
San Jose State University’s Jan Null details circumstances surrounding each case of heatstroke in the U.S. He reports on his findings at NoHeatstroke.org through a program supported by the National Safety Council:
- 54% of incidents involve a child forgotten in a vehicle
- 27% of cases involve a child playing in an unattended vehicle
- 18% of incidents involve a child intentionally left in a vehicle by an adult
Share these heatstroke safety tips:
- 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
- Create reminders by putting something in the back seat next to your child such as a cell phone, purse or your left shoe
Learn how technology can be part of the solution. Some vehicles now come equipped with rear-seat reminder safety features. Some infant car seats generate signals through a “smart” chest clip.
Looking for another way to deliver your safety message? Play these videos:
Talk with your employees and ask them to:
- Look before you lock
- Look in other cars as you walk through the parking lot on the way to work