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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Take Steps to Avoid Labor Day Disaster

Here is a sobering thought: In the state of Texas, there is one DUI-alcohol crash every 20 minutes and 37 seconds, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Why is this important to know now? Because the Labor Day holiday weekend is fast-approaching, and there is still time for Texans everywhere to have conversations with co-workers, friends and loved ones about the dangers of drinking and driving. Sixteen people were killed in DUI-alcohol-related traffic crashes over the Labor Day weekend in 2013, according to TxDOT statistics.

The cost isn't limited to loss of life. A DWI arrest and conviction in Texas can cost up to $17,000, according to TxDOT.

Who is Most at Risk?

Nationwide, men accounted for 80 percent of alcohol-impaired driving occurrences, and young men aged 21-34 reported 32% of all alcohol-impaired driving, according to a new report put out by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.  The CDC report says alcohol-impaired driving was three times higher among those who reported not always wearing a seat belt compared with those who reported to being always belted.

What Can be Done?

TxDOT is hosting outreach events and running a series of public service announcements. These printable posters are part of the Drink. Drive. Go to Jail messaging the department launched recently to create greater public awareness of the issue. You might want to post them in your company breakroom or talk to your employees about these issues at a staff safety meeting.

The CDC says states and communities could consider increasing the use of effective interventions such as strictly enforcing the 0.08 g/dl BAC laws and minimum legal drinking age laws, requiring ignition interlocks for all persons convicted of alcohol-impaired driving and increasing alcohol taxes.

Want more information?

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
Drunk Driving National Enforcement Crackdown
Aug. 19-Sept. 7, 2015

Impaired Driving

In 2014, there were 1,041 fatalities in Texas due to crashes involving a DUI, according to data highlighted on Page 3 of this Texas Department of Transportation report.

Impaired driving is a serious issue in Texas, and it affects many more than only those involved in drunk driving crashes. The misuse or abuse of alcohol or other substances greatly increases the chance of injuries in the workplace and beyond.

Whether it's referred to as drunk driving, driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence, impaired driving simply means a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle while compromised by alcohol and other drugs that change the function of the brain and body.

Nearly 600 fatal crashes involved the use of alcohol, as indicated on Page 12 of this 2014 TxDOT report. More than 230 crashes involved the use of drugs

  

Alcohol a Factor in 39% of Work-related Crashes

Drunk driving is obviously dangerous, but it also can be extremely costly to your business. Alcohol use is a factor in 39% of all work-related crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Happy hours and other celebrations among colleagues often can result in sad endings, such as serious injury or death.

In Texas, drivers are legally intoxicated and can be arrested and charged with a DWI with a .08 blood alcohol concentration; however, driving ability can be impaired below the legal alcohol limit. Even if a driver registers less than .08 BAC, an arrest still can be made based on the observations of the officer during a roadside sobriety check.   

A person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle also is compromised by illegal drugs, prescription drugs and even over-the-counter medications.

 

What Employers Can Do

  • Promote Sober Driving: Remind employees that not only is it against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, but sober driving also prevents injuries and deaths
  • Sample Sober Driving Policy: Use or adapt this sample text to create your company’s policy on driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, both on and off the job
  • Offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Acknowledge the connection between impaired driving and misuse of alcohol and other drugs, and adopt strategies to encourage employees with problems to seek help through EAPs) and drug-free workplace programs 

Employers also can establish a workplace-based substance abuse prevention program that could include:

  • Confidential screening and counseling
  • Worksite awareness programs
  • Web-based information, referrals to treatment
  • Recovery support for workers in treatment
  • Supervisor training to spot productivity problems 

These programs can result in various benefits for your company, including lower medical costs, reduced turnover and absenteeism and higher employee productivity and morale.

A project of the National Safety Council in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation.
 
 

 

 
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