June 26, 2012 1 Comment
June is National Safety Month. The National Safety Council has designated a theme for each week. Driving safety is this week’s theme. Texas Mutual safety pros offer these tips for reducing risks in the workplace.
Unsafe driving is a dangerous road
Transportation-related accidents are the leading causes of on-the-job fatalities in Texas. The four primary factors are:
- Speeding. Excessive speed is the number one cause of fatal and serious injury accidents on Texas roads. Good drivers understand they must control their speed to protect themselves and others.
- Distractions. Nearly 80 percent of all crashes in the United States are caused by driver distractions, and the effects can happen in an instant. At 40 miles per hour, your car travels approximately the length of a football field in five seconds.
- Fatigue. According to state police reports, driver fatigue caused more than 4,000 crashes on Texas roads in 2010. If you are tired or drowsy, it is time to rest—that is the only way to get the job done safely.
- Not wearing seatbelts. While seatbelts are not necessarily a cause of driving-related accidents, not wearing one can greatly worsen the injuries in an accident. In the United States, 63 percent of people killed in traffic accidents were not wearing a seatbelt.
Employers should share driver safety tips with their employees, encourage safe driving habits and implement a driver safety program. The program should include basic safe driving rules, policies restricting cell phone use, mandatory seatbelt use and other safe practices that eliminate or minimize drivers’ distractions.
Drivers may think that on-the-job transportation is an easy task because we drive every day—but it’s easy to forget even the most basic safety practices, because they become habitual.
Here are some tips to help drivers remain safe on the job.
- Fasten your seatbelt. Buckle up for safety and control. Wearing seatbelts is still the single most effective thing drivers can do to save lives and reduce serious injuries on roadways.
- Take care of yourself. The driver plays the most important role in a moving vehicle. Get plenty of rest before getting behind the wheel to make sure you are alert and in the best condition to operate a vehicle.
- Control your speed. It is important to obey the speed limit when driving. If you are hauling a load, consider the size of the load and how that may impact your safe maximum speed.
- Eliminate distractions. When you are driving, avoid distractions, such as talking on the cell phone and eating. Also, you should never text while driving. Make all of your calls and texts before you start driving or once you reach your destination. If you have to use your phone, pull off the road to a safe location first.
- Check and recheck transport materials. If you are transporting goods, be sure everything is completely secure before you begin driving, and recheck the security of those items every time you stop.
Even small changes in driving habits can make a big difference in workers’ safety on the road. Texas Mutual Insurance Company encourages employers to share this information with their employees. You can also visit the National Safety Council at http://www.nsc.org/Pages/Promote-safe-driving.aspx for free educational materials.