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Driving Safety: What Do The Numbers Say?

25 Jan

Driving and transportation accidents account for the highest percentage of workplace deaths both nationally and in California. Many of my clients have seen their employees injured and costly workers’ compensation claims result.
The November 2013 issue of Traffic Safety Facts, published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contains some interesting statistics.
driving statistics 2013
As can be seen by the above figure, the total number of fatalities in 2012 rose slightly over the previous year, the first time this has occurred since 2005. 33,561 people lost their lives in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents a 3.3% increase from 2011. However, when those numbers are broken down further here is what we see:
 Both the fatality rate and the injury rate increased over 2011; 3.6% and 6.7% respectively.
 Fatal crashes involving large trucks increased 3.7%
 Total alcohol-impaired driving fatalities rose 3.3%

Driving a vehicle is still likely the most hazardous activity we all do each day. Since the numbers went up from 2011 to 2012 we should take this very seriously; someone dies from a vehicle accident in this country every 16 minutes.
There are steps we can take to decrease the odds of becoming the next statistic.
 Driver training is often forgotten… after all, we all know how to drive, right? Reviewing the basics of speed, following distance, braking technique, driving in adverse weather, distracted driving, and vehicle maintenance issues can be very helpful for any driver regardless of age or experience. Remind employees that arriving safely, even a little late, is far better than risking a crash by speeding, tailgating, or driving aggressively.
 Review your electronic device policy for drivers. Every effort should be made to ensure people are not distracted by cell phones calls or texting while driving. Keep in mind it really doesn’t matter if the phone is handheld or hands free; the cognitive distraction of the conversation is the real hazard.
 Vehicle maintenance is critical for safe operation. Drivers should be completing daily pre-trip inspections and all organizations should have routine maintenance schedules. Tire pressures and tread wear are one of the most important factors in vehicle control so keep a close eye on those.

Thanks to Randy Klatt, MEMIC Safety Director for information on this article

A Key to Safe Driving – Minimize Blind Spots to Help Drivers See Better

11 Aug

Remember – driving accidents are the leading cause of work related deaths both nationally and in California.  How many of these accidents could be avoided if driver reduced their blind spots while driving? Think about your own experience on the road or freeways.

While all blind spots cannot be eliminated, property positioned side mirrors are the key to maximizing your field of vision. The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety suggests: to set your mirrors, with the vehicle parked, sit in the normal driving position and center the rearview mirror.  Next, lean your head about 4 inches to the left and adjust the driver’s side view mirrors until you can barely see the edge of the rear of your vehicle in the mirror. Do the same thing for the passenger side mirror by leaning 4 inches to the right.  While you won’t see your vehicle in your side view mirrors when sitting in the normal driving position, this mirror adjustment will enable you to see more of the adjoining lanes as well as hazards next to the vehicle.

Even with properly adjusted mirrors, you should always glance over your shoulder to check blind spots any time you turn merge or change lanes.  Also, don’t forget to use your turn signals.

Employers may want to reproduce this message and provide it to employees as part of their safety training plans.

Texting While Driving is An Epidemic-A Higher Cause of Deaths Than Even Drinking While Driving

5 May

Most American teenagers are told not to text and drive, but the evidence is millions are not listening.
In an analysis of a 2011 survey done by the Centers for Disease Control, 46 percent of drivers at age 17 admitted they texted while driving, a number that rose to 52 percent for drivers over 18.
The survey alarmed the research team because of evidence that distracted driving – including texting – is now the leading single cause of teenage fatalities.
Dr. Andrew Adesman co-authored the study.
“Texting while driving is just becoming sort of epidemic, and it’s a higher cause of deaths than even drinking while driving,” said Adesman. “The impairment that comes with texting is worse than drinking while driving.”
Forty-six states have responded by banning most or all texting while driving, but the laws don’t seem to work with teenagers.
When researchers compared states with and without prohibitions, the level of teen texting was almost the same.
It is up to all of us to set an example, and hold all of us and our children, our friends and each other accountable. There should be no reason to rely on law enforcement to do this job for us.
See the CBS news story at: tp://

The Number 1 Cause of Work Related Deaths Is …

5 May

(Thanks to Jon Wonder of the Insurance Company of the West who wrote this article May 1, 2012)

Motor vehicle crashes are among the top three causes of death throughout a person’s lifetime and are, in fact, the number one cause of death in the United States for 3 to 34-year-olds. They also are the number one cause of work-related deaths. An average of 115 people die each day, one every 13 minutes from vehicle crashes.

Each year since 1994, between 39,000 and 46,000 people have been killed in motor vehicle crashes. In over 31% of accident cases, speeding was the cause of the crash. The factors most often noted in multiple-vehicle crashes were driving too fast for conditions, exceeding the speed limit, and following too closely. In addition to the thousands of fatalities, many more people suffer serious life-changing injuries in motor vehicle crashes. More than 2.2 million injuries resulted from vehicle crashes in 2008 alone.

These statistics stress the importance or reminding your drivers to remain alert and aware when they are behind the wheel. This month, we will continue to provide information regarding distracted driving and we encourage you to share this information with your employees.

For additional information on the dangers of distracted driving please visit the following websites:

Make A Personal Commitment to Drive Cell Free-Set An Example for Safety

26 Apr

Ensuring the safety of all motorists on the roadways is the responsibility of every driver, and safe driving involves more than having two hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.  The mind also must be focused on driving. Consider the facts:

  1. Hands-free devices do not eliminate cognitive distraction – the distraction to the brain
  2.  Cognitively distracted drivers can miss up to 50% of their driving environment, including stop signs, pedestrians and red lights
  3. Nearly 25% of all crashes involve drivers distracted by cell phones
  4. Drivers talking on cell phones – handheld or hands-free – are four times as likely to crashChange the culture and curb cell phone use while driving:
  5. Drivers who text increase their likelihood of a crash by 8 to 23 times

Change the culture and curb cell phone use while driving-Stop using cell phones while driving

April is “Distracted Driving Awareness Month” For more information see: