Group Promotes Responsible Driving During Drive Safely Work Week

The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) estimates that 91 percent of employees commute to and from work by motor vehicle and that 18 percent of motor vehicle trips are conducted for work-related purposes. It is amidst this backdrop that NETS is launching its 10th annual Drive Safely Work Week, which runs from Oct. 2-6.

The theme of this year's campaign is "Safe Driving is YOUR Responsibility. Make the Commitment."

NETS is launching the campaign during a 2-day conference in Baltimore this week that focuses on workplace strategies to keep employees safe on the road.

According to NETS, most of the nearly 6.2 million police-reported motor vehicle crashes that occurred last year were preventable, and many of these incidents involved employees driving for work and even more involved employees who were driving to and from work.

With those statistics in mind, the campaign promotes 10 positive steps for responsible driving:

  • Plan YOUR Route
  • Maintain YOUR Vehicle
  • Focus YOUR Attention
  • Minimize YOUR Distractions
  • Know YOUR Surroundings
  • Share YOUR Space
  • Watch YOUR Speed
  • Keep YOUR Distance
  • Signal YOUR Intentions
  • Always Wear YOUR Seat Belt

Study: Driver Inattention the Leading Factor in Most Crashes

The campaign's focus this year was developed in response to findings from the "100-Car Naturalistic Study" a landmark research report co-sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Transportation Research Council which concluded that driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes.

The study revealed that nearly 80 percent of crashes involved drivers who were distracted or drowsy within seconds of impact and that inattentive drivers contributed to about three times more crashes than estimated in previous years.

Another unanticipated finding was that 20 percent of crashes were caused by drowsiness, with much of the fatigue showing up during morning and daytime hours when drivers are assumed to be more alert. Drowsy driving, a frequently underreported event in police crashes, increased the driver's risk of a crash or near-crash by four to six times.

"With the identification of driver inattention as the behavior most likely to result in a crash, employers must take action to protect their employees and their family members," said Kathy Lusby-Treber, executive director of NETS. She proposes that employers "use the DSWW campaign to instill a powerful corporate message about responsible driving and company expectations."

Dave Melton, director of transportation technical consulting services at Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, urges all organizations and companies to implement a driver safety program for all employees who drive for work purposes.

"Use the NETS 10 steps-guidelines for employers to improve roadway safety performance and minimize the risk of motor vehicle crashes and their ensuing human and financial costs for your organization," he said.

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