October 3-7 is Drive Safely Work Week

Oct. 5, 2005
Traffic crashes continue to be the number one cause of on-the-job deaths. The October 3-7, 2005 Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW), sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), is aimed at increasing transportation safety.

During the 2005 Drive Safely Work Week, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and its members are encouraging people to drive wisely, follow traffic laws and rules, and to devote their full attention to the driving task at hand. If not, an accident could occur at any second, changing lives forever.

An Aug. 25 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report showed that a total of 5,703 people died from on-the-job work injuries in the U.S. in 2004. Of these recorded fatalities, transportation and material moving occupations accounted for the largest number of fatal work injuries of any major occupational group.

"People need to drive safer. It's discouraging to note that last year, transportation incidents were the leading cause of on-the-job deaths accounting for about one out of every four fatal work injuries in 2004. We urge law enforcement officials to crack down on those that break traffic laws. Speeding, ignoring work zone safety warnings, running red lights and stop signs, distracted driving, and more all contribute to the continued deaths of workers on the road. These workers include policemen and women, emergency personnel, fire fighters, utility workers, truck drivers and those in sales," noted ASSE President Jack H. Dobson Jr., CSP.

He said ASSE is also urging employers to review their driver safety policies, which could include not requiring workers to conduct business on a cell phone while driving, mandating the use of a seat belt and developing work schedules that allow employees to obey speed limits and to follow applicable hours-of-service regulations.

"ASSE and its members continue to work day in and day out to make sure the millions of people who leave home each day for work return home safely," Dobson said. "Supporting DSWW is another tool we can use."

NETS notes that drivers should prepare themselves for the unpredictable behaviors of other drivers, disabled vehicles, spilled cargo, adverse weather conditions, and other potential dangers that they may encounter on today's roadways. Being focused allows motorists to react quickly and correctly in any situation, especially if around reckless drivers. Each year, NETS sponsors this campaign to help employers promote safe driving practices within their place of business.

For more information, go to NETS' Web site at www.trafficsafety.org.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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