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 greatly increases the chance of injuries in the workplace and beyond, and American businesses bear much of the costs in higher insurance premiums for employer-based health insurance tied to alcohol problems.
What's the Problem
In 2012, 32.3 percent of all fatalities in motor vehicle crashes in Texas involved a driver under the influence of alcohol.
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. “Buzzed driving” can be just as dangerous as drunk driving because impairment begins with the first drink. Even if there is no .08 BAC reading, an arrest can be made on the observations of the officer using roadside sobriety checks.
49.6 percent of all fatally injured drivers in Texas tested for alcohol had a BAC of at least .08.
A person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle also is compromised by illegal drugs, prescription drugs and even over-the-counter medications. These drugs have the potential to affect an employee’s judgment, depth perception, coordination and reaction time and should be taken seriously.
According to the George Washington University Medical Center, a typical Texas company with 100 employees will feel these effects of alcohol on operations and expenses:
What Employers Can Do
Promote Sober Driving
As an employer, you can help save lives by promoting safe driving on and off the job. Reducing the incidence of impaired driving can be a profitable investment through implementing a company-wide sober driving policy.
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
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 Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and drug-free workplace programs.
A workplace-based substance abuse prevention program could include:
A project of the National Safety Council
in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation.
Click on Careless Carl to make your own Our Driving Concern character at nsc.org/safedrivers