October 2019 Newsletter: Burn Calories and Cut Costs

In a 10-year period, pedestrian deaths have doubled in Oklahoma.

Safety Steps

Step challenges that encourage employees to get moving have become a staple in many health and wellness programs. As the weather cools, your employees might be more excited to get outside and walk over the lunch hour or as part of a fitness regimen at home. Provide safety tips to help reduce incidents as they cross streets or make their way through parking lots.

  • Be Visible: Wear bright colors during the day and reflective clothing at night
  • Hear today, here tomorrow: Refrain from the use of earbuds and headphones, or at the very least keep the volume low so as not to drown out audible warnings from other walkway and road users
  • Call for attention: Silence your phone and keep your head up to avoid distracted walking

In Oklahoma last year, pedestrians and bicyclists were involved in 1,016 crashes, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. Pedestrian deaths on state roads have doubled, rising from 32 in 2009 to 64 in 2018. During that 10-year period, the high-water mark was 91 pedestrian deaths in 2016.

Research shows more people are walking – some to get to work, others for health reasons. There has been a dramatic uptick in traffic incidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists. Unsafe behaviors, such as distracted driving, impaired driving and speeding, contribute to pedestrian and bicyclist injuries on the road. Pedestrians and bicyclists also may be distracted.

Employers, by promoting safe driving behaviors through education and training, can help reverse the trend and reduce costs associated with injuries and fatalities that occur on and off the job.

Too often, the lives of children end tragically due to the behavior of adults. In 2017, one-fifth of kids killed in crashes nationwide were involved in drunk-driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

On Halloween, some of our most vulnerable road users will be out again for a night of fun. Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Take steps on behalf of your employees and help protect their family members by providing safety tips on being visible at night and using caution when driving in neighborhoods.

Use a vehicle safety checklist to prepare for inclement weather.

Checklist for Change

Days are growing shorter, and seasons are changing. View the arrival of October as an opportunity to prepare for transportation safety during the upcoming winter months. Use this vehicle safety checklist from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ensure your company vehicles and employees are ready for whatever the Oklahoma weather brings – rain, sleet, ice and snow.

  • Check or replace the battery: As the temperature drops, battery power can decline. Did you know: Gas and diesel engines need more power to start in cold weather?
  • Visibility: When traveling, you need to see and be seen. Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and interior lights.
  • Warm thoughts: Have your coolant system inspected for leaks and checked for the proper pH mix (acidity). Rust inhibitors in antifreeze can break down and become ineffective.
  • Windshield and wipers: Replace worn blades. Use windshield fluid with “de-icer” and keep extra fluid in your vehicle. Check front and rear-defrosters.
  • Tires: Inspect your tires at least once a month for tread wear and proper inflation. Share this safety video: Life of a Tire.

Last year, there were more crashes on state roads in October (6,926) than any other month, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. That’s more than 220 crashes every day.

Of course, many factors contribute to crashes, including speed, distracted driving, drunk driving, drowsy driving, inclement weather and vehicle performance. But, clearly, there is room for change here. Seize the opportunity to change habits as we change seasons.