Take Steps to Reduce Drowsy Driving Incidents Involving Your Employees
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: What steps can you take to reduce drowsy driving incidents involving your employees?
A: First, I hope that drowsy driving is on your radar of safety concerns. This should be something that is company-wide and not just focused on those who drive for part of their job. You can start by educating all employees about the importance of sleep. Encourage and empower your employees when they are tired to pull over and take a quick break. Adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep each day to reach peak performance levels, according to research from the National Sleep Foundation. Yet, in a National Health Interview Survey, 30% of respondents said they average less than six hours of sleep.
Talk with employees about the risk and potential impact of being tired when they or a co-worker are behind the wheel. National Safety Council research indicates:
- You are three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued
- Losing even two hours of sleep is similar to the effect of having three beers
- Being awake for more than 20 hours is the equivalent of being legally drunk
In February, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety issued a report indicating 9.5% of all crashes and 10.8% of crashes resulting in significant property damaged involved drowsiness. In Oklahoma, there were 198 crashes every day in 2016, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. That means nearly 19 of those crashes can be linked to drowsy driving.
Poor sleep can lead to a number of health issues that can impact job performance and driving skills. Chronic sleep-deprivation causes depression, obesity and cardiovascular disease. According to the AAA 2017 Traffic Safety Culture Index, 3 in 10 motorists admitted to driving when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point in the past month.
Use the NSC Fatigue Cost Calculator to get a tailored estimate of how much fatigue is costing your workplace. Get helpful links and free resources to prepare for Drowsy Driving Prevention Week from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Read: Why you can’t skimp on sleep when road-tripping. Share: Two of our most popular free resources:
A final thought: Some national and state sports teams monitor the sleep of their athletes, as they know that peak performance is tied to sleep and fatigue, so if it’s good for sports athletes, shouldn’t it be good for employers? Both are looking at the bottom line.
Emerson Safety Committee Puts Training to Work at Tulsa Location
Since attending a train-the-trainer workshop offered by Our Driving Concern, Emerson Automation Solutions Environmental Health & Safety Manager Brandon Thomas has served as a human guinea pig to enhance driving safety at the company’s Tulsa location.
“I made it important to identify where I feel I can improve, and I have made that commitment,” Thomas said. “For distracted driving, it was eliminating phone use like map-reading while driving. I also have recruited my wife and children to hold me accountable.
“My kids have taken interest and will tell me, ‘Dad, put your phone away. Remember the training.’ I have heard some other employees say they are working on some of their (driving safety) behaviors. One employee said, ‘Now every time I pick up my phone in the car, all I hear are the facts from the safety class.’ ”
The “class” Thomas refers to is the new Emerson way. Teaching begins with monthly safety meetings for all employees, and also daily toolbox talks. He uses free materials provided by Our Driving Concern to help build the talks and shine a light on the work of the company safety committee.
Nine Emerson employees serve on the committee: Russell Mullins, Tenisha Little, Myron Washington, Charles Hurst, Clint Bryant, Mesala Reeves, Danny Dang, Sara Arain and Ryan Leslie.
“We feel safety at home is just as important as safety at work,” Thomas said. “Getting to and from work can statistically be one of the most dangerous things an employee does each day. In addition to our safety committee using the material, I also just recently started using some of the driving facts as ice-breaker/meeting kickoff topics for safety orientations.”
Thomas said the distracted driving piece included in the Our Driving Concern training module made a big impression on Emerson safety committee members.
“The team really liked the facts about the myth of multitasking,” Thomas said. “After using the switch-tasking experiment and watching the video clip about cognitive distraction (the Gorilla video), they were sold on the facts.”
Emerson is recognized as a worldwide manufacturing leader in safety and environmental solutions used in the oil and gas process industries. The company headquarters is in St. Louis.
Your Turn: Tell us what you’re doing to drive culture change at your workplace. You could be featured in an upcoming Our Driving Concern eNewsletter. Take this brief survey and provide us with feedback on what and how Our Driving Concern is benefitting your company. Or sign up for a free training session.
Job of Co-Pilot: Be the Voice of Reason and the Voice of Safety
In an airplane, the pilot is the captain. He is responsible for the flight, the crew, the passengers and the aircraft. If something happens to the captain, the co-pilot takes over. Up to that point, his job is to serve as an assistant – sort of second set of eyes and ears. He might be assigned to communicate on the radio or work navigation systems.
In a vehicle – car, pickup or semi-trailer – a co-pilot functions in much the same fashion. His can be the voice of reason – and the voice of safety. We’ve developed a new infographic that highlights Co-Pilot Rights. This free resource is yours to share with employees. Some points covered:
- Distracted driving: Prevent distraction for the driver; operate the radio, GPS and ventilation
- Speak up: Say something if you feel the driver is distracted or doing something dangerous
- Focus: Say no to any behavior that draws your driver’s attention away from the road
Get it here: Co-Pilot Rights.
Training Fun: Discover Your Road Safety Champs with Our New Quiz
Before choosing to take a risk, drivers should ask themselves two questions, according to National Safety Council Defensive Driving Course instructors:
- Is getting what I want or where I’m going so important that I’m willing to risk my life or the lives of other people?
- Am I willing to be involved in a collision or get a ticket while trying to arrive at work on time, pass another vehicle or have some fun?
Ask your employees: What kind of driver are you? Now put them to the test and find out.
Speak the Language: Translate Web Content, Share Spanish Resources
In an effort to provide traffic safety information and resources to your Spanish-speaking employees, Our Driving Concern is excited to announce:
- We have added a Google translate tool on the right side of our webpages. The program allows you to read text in English or Spanish. Example: Click the translate button and read our eNewsletters in Spanish.
- We have searched the archives of trusted partners for Spanish traffic safety materials and compiled a list of free resources to share at your location.
Visit: Recursos en Enspanol.
Prevent or Reduce Marijuana-Impaired Driving
On its website, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office provides safety and intervention tips to prevent or reduce marijuana-impaired driving incidents from escalating, timely because marijuana was legalized for medical use by voters across the state in June.
Drugged driving is on the rise – 1 in 4 weekend drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect driving skills, according to a 2013-2014 survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2016, 44% of drivers killed in crashes who were tested afterward had drugs in their system, according to a study prepared by the Governors Highway Safety Association. That’s an increase of 28% in a 10-year span.
Watch/share video from NHTSA: Feel Different.
OHSO includes a timeline of marijuana effects that you can share at your workplace:
- 10-30 minutes: Approximate time after last puff until peak effects occur
- 2-5 hours: How long a driver is impaired after taking marijuana
- 2-plus weeks: Length of time Tetrahydrochannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana that produces the feeling of being high, can be detected after last use
Watch Webinars, Learn from Knowledgeable Practitioners
Our Driving Concern webinars feature knowledgeable practitioners presenting the latest trends and information on a wide range of safety topics. The idea is to help you incorporate best safety practices at your workplace.
Join us at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, for a discussion with Oklahoma Safety Council training manager Betsey Kulakowski on why it is important to prepare your workforce for roadside emergencies. Kulakowski also will talk about what equipment should be stocked inside every vehicle’s trunk or gear box.
Watch recorded webinars:
- Hiding in Plain Sight: In this 30-minute webinar, Our Driving Concern Program Coordinator and Master Trainer Cindy Leonard discusses what free resources are available to assist in identifying problems with substance use in your workplace that might be hiding in plain view.
- Why You Should Maintain Your Company Vehicles: Oklahoma Safety Council Training Manager Betsey Kulakowski discusses keeping your company vehicles in roadworthy condition to reduce cost, mitigate risk and most importantly keep your drivers safe on the road.
Move Safety Forward with Backup Driving Tips
Did you know? What about your employees? According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 20% of all reported vehicle crashes occur in parking lots.
In 2015, an estimated 2,125 people were killed and 95,000 were injured in crashes that occurred off public roads (generally in parking lots or driveways), according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Our friends at the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety have created a parking and backing basics campaign to help you steer employees toward safety. The campaign includes free tools to share at your workplace:
- PowerPoint: Conduct an interactive presentation with employees
- Posters: Technology saves lives
- Graphics: Suitable for social media posts or email blasts
Get the tools: NETS Parking and Backing Basics Campaign Materials & Graphics.