Categories: Motor Vehicle Safety
October 7th, 2014 7:33 am ET - Stephanie Pratt, PhD and Kwame Boafo, MPH
The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) is calling on leaders of companies and organizations to emphasize road safety for all employees—not just those who drive company vehicles— as a core component of the organization’s safety culture. NIOSH supports this call to action. This year, the theme of Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW), NETS’s signature campaign, is “Driving your safety culture home.” This year’s campaign will be observed October 6-10, 2014, but DSWW campaign materials can be used throughout the year.
Whether we are driving for work, commuting to and from work, or just running errands, we all share the risk and costs of motor vehicle crashes. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the U.S., and the second leading cause of unintentional fatal injuries off the job. 1,2According to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the annual economic cost of crashes is $277 billion, or nearly $900 for each person living in the U.S. Considering the fact that nearly half of the U.S. population is in the workforce, road safety campaigns designed for workers, their families, employers, and communities can make our roads safer.
Drive Safely Work Week Resources
DSWW 2014 offers employers a great opportunity to introduce a new road safety program or refresh an already existing one. The free DSWW toolkit for 2014 contains materials on seat belt use and distracted driving which are designed to promote a strong road safety culture in the workplace and at home. The toolkit includes materials that will help employers prepare employees for the launch of corporate seat belt and mobile device policies, along with fact sheets and checklists ready for distribution to employees and their families. It also encourages employers to integrate road safety information into their health and wellness programs.
Your organization’s road safety culture
In developing the theme for the 2014 DSWW campaign, NETS board member companies identified the following as hallmarks of an organization with a strong road safety culture:
- Road safety is viewed as an investment, not a cost.
- Safety is not a department; it’s a way of life.
- Safety is considered a value, not a priority (priorities can change, but values don’t).
- Road safety functions are carried out by safety professionals.
- Road safety initiatives are proactive, not reactive.
- The safety culture of the organization extends beyond the doors of its facilities.
What steps are you taking in your organization to improve your road safety culture? What has worked for you, and what obstacles have you encountered? Join in the conversation.
The NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety
The NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety coordinates research and outreach across the Institute to prevent motor vehicle crashes, the leading cause of work-related fatalities among U.S. workers. Current activities include:
- Identifying specific risk factors for work-related crashes, using government data sources and company-level data
- Advancing understanding of motor vehicle crash risks for law enforcement officers through surveys of officers, crash investigations, and evaluation of a crash prevention program
- Improving motor vehicle safety in the oil and gas extraction industry through an upcoming survey of oil and gas workers, and a NIOSH/industry work group that has jointly developed guidance on in-vehicle monitoring systems and journey management principles
- Using instrumented-vehicle data and naturalistic driving data for research: A field evaluation of in-vehicle monitoring systems, and an analysis of lane-changing behaviors of heavy-truck drivers
- Collecting data on body dimensions of truck drivers, fire fighters, and EMS workers to guide the design of work vehicles that will better accommodate today’s workers
- Conducting the National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury: Publications will report on crashes, occupational injuries, fatigue, and work hours
Through our relationship with NETS, the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety has the opportunity to interact regularly with road safety leaders in the business community. We also contribute to NETS programs and resources by sharing research results from NIOSH and other sources. NIOSH’s partnerships through the Center with organizations such as NETS help to ensure that our research is relevant to the needs of organizations whose employees drive motor vehicles on the job. Our partners are also instrumental in communicating resources developed by NIOSH through their networks.
Stephanie Pratt, PhD and Kwame Boafo, MPH
Dr. Pratt is Coordinator of the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety, and is based in the NIOSH Division of Safety Research.
Mr. Boafo is an Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) Fellow based in the NIOSH Division of Safety Research.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics . Table A-2. Fatal occupational injuries resulting from transportation incidents and homicides, all United States, 2012.