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Our Driving Concern Program Manager Lisa Robinson has compiled these 10 stats on drunk driving for Texas employers to share with their drivers:
At your next employer safety talk, you might want to reserve some time to talk about the ramifications of a new drunk driving law that went into effect in Texas on Sept. 1, if only to reinforce safe driving habits on and off the job.
The law, which requires drunk driving offenders to install an ignition interlock on their vehicles before hitting the road again, is
aimed at curbing repeat drunk driving offenses, according to a KXXV-TV news report.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving advocated for this new piece of legislation and MAAD officials let out a collective cheer after Gov. Abbott signed the bill into law.
Colleen Sheehey-Church, national president of MADD, said in the KXXV report, “We are relieved to add Texas to the growing list of states that have taken action to protect residents and visitors from the 100% preventable crime of drunk driving.”
In the state of Texas, there is
one DUI-alcohol crash every 20 minutes 37 seconds, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Not surprisingly, Texas led the nation with 1,337 drunk driving deaths in 2013,
as indicated on Page 5 of this National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.
NHTSA reports 40% percent of all traffic deaths in the state of Texas were caused by a drunk driver. And Texas ranked No. 1 in motor vehicle deaths by state in 2013, according to the most recent data in Injury Facts, a report created by the National Safety Council.
Of the 35,500 motor vehicle deaths nationwide, 3,385 occurred in Texas. California ranked second with 3,211, followed by Florida with 2,374.
How Does the New Texas Drunk Driving Law Work?
What is an Ignition Interlock Device?
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 Texas led the nation with 1,337 drunk driving deaths in 2013, as
indicated on Page 5 of this National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.
NHTSA reports 40% percent of all traffic deaths in the state of Texas were caused by a drunk driver. And, Texas ranked No. 1 in fatal on-the-job transportation incidents in 2013, with 213 deaths, according to Injury Facts 2015, an annual statistical report on injuries and deaths created by the National Safety Council.
In general, states with the largest number of people employed have the largest number of work-related fatalities. California was No. 2 in fatal transportation incidents by state, with 133, followed by Florida, with 84.
For employers, it's important to know the cost of these incidents isn't limited to loss of life. There are issues such as insurance, liability, employee absenteeism and productivity to consider. A DWI arrest and conviction in Texas can cost up to $17,000, according to TxDOT.
Who is Most at Risk?
men accounted for 80% 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 to create greater public awareness of the risks associated with alcohol-impaired driving. 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 and increasing alcohol taxes. A new Texas law that went into effect on Sept. 1 requires ignition interlocks for all persons convicted of alcohol-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.
Drunk driving is obviously dangerous, but it also can be extremely costly to your business. Alcohol use was cited as a factor in 20% of work-zone related fatal crashes, according to the Federal Highway 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
Employers also can establish a workplace-based substance abuse prevention program that could include:
These programs can result in various benefits for your company, including lower medical costs, reduced turnover and absenteeism and higher employee productivity and morale.