Focus on the Drive Newsletter

Fall 2019
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Large Truck Crashes, Fatalities Continue to Rise

In 2017, 4,761 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks, a 9% increase from 2016. Drivers of large trucks involved in these crashes had a higher percentage of previously recorded crashes compared to drivers of any other vehicle type.

Since 2003, the largest number of fatal workplace injuries have been due to truck driving, which remains one of the deadliest occupations in the country. Large-truck travel rose to nearly 300 million vehicle miles in 2017. With an increase in freight transportation, and more vehicles on our roads, the risk increases for crashes and injuries. Providing the resources to educate your employees about defensive driving, collision prevention, driver behavior, sharing the road with large trucks, and recognizing potential and immediate hazards can keep them safe on the road. Even if you don’t have large trucks in your fleet, your employees share the road with these vehicles.

Most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants. In fact, 72% of people killed in large truck crashes were occupants of other vehicles, the highest number of other occupants killed in the most recent 10-year period. Education and implementation of policies for distracted driving and seat belt usage are proven strategies to reduce the risk of a crash involving your employees.

NSC offers both Professional Truck Driver online and classroom courses that address the most common causes of truck-related crashes, providing the knowledge and defensive driving techniques your drivers need. Demo the online course now.

Lowering Legal BAC Will Reduce Roadway Deaths

Every day, 29 Americans die in car crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. NHTSA research shows that lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration level from .08 to .05 could save more than 1,500 lives every year.

Legislation is being developed in some states to lower the legal BAC, but driving without impairment from drugs or alcohol is something we can all do now. Impairment begins with the first drink, so designating a sober driver or using a ride-share service are the safer methods of travel when alcohol consumption is part of the game plan.

Download the Lowering BAC infographic and post it on your bulletin board or send it to employees in your company newsletter.

Report: Selecting Automated Vehicles for Your Fleet

Vehicles are becoming more complex than ever. In response, the National Safety Council wants to guide companies as they manage their high-tech fleets.

Several members of NSC helped to craft a technical report that provides guidance to fleet managers about selecting and operating automated vehicles. The American Society of Safety Professionals recently published the technical report, ASSP TR-Z15.3-2019, Management Practices for the Safe Operation of Partially and Fully Automated Vehicles.

The report provides important guidance at a time when the majority of vehicles sold in the United States have one or more advanced driver-assistance system features such as blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and more. Automatic emergency braking is set to become a standard feature on all new passenger vehicles by 2022.

Kelly Nantel, NSC vice president of communications and advocacy, served as the chair of the ASSP technical subcommittee that produced the report. Segments on driver training, proper maintenance and incident reporting are detailed in the report.

“While the technical report can help any company safely incorporate automated vehicles into their fleets, it’s especially beneficial to those that don’t have expertise in this area and are looking for a blueprint to assist them,” Nantel said in an ASSP press release. “It’s just what a fleet safety professional needs as new policies and procedures are developed.”

The report can be purchased in the ASSP e-store.

Fall Driving and Vehicle Maintenance Tips

Autumn might seem to be a simple time of year for drivers, but dangers may lurk if you forget to keep these tips in mind:

School is back in session. Remind drivers to allow extra time to get to their destinations and consider alternate routes to avoid school zones near the workplace and on their regular routes. After a leisurely summer, children may forget to be cautious when boarding and getting off buses or crossing the street. Drivers must obey school bus stop signs and keep an eye out for our young citizens. In addition to the safety hazards posed, school zone traffic violations can cost both time and money.

Falling leaves can cause or hide roadway problems. Leaves can be slick when wet, and may hide pavement issues like potholes, curbs and crumbling shoulders. Drivers should treat leaves on the pavement with the same caution they would use on icy or muddy surfaces.

Perform routine maintenance before winter sets in. The air in tires may expand in summer heat, then tires become underinflated when the air and pavement cool. Make sure every tire in your fleet is properly inflated, rotated on schedule and has sufficient tread to make it safely over soon-to-be icy roads and suboptimal winter conditions. Other maintenance items to watch out for:

  • Windshield wiper fluid reservoirs should be filled with subzero fluid in colder climates
  • Change oil and oil filter at intervals recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer
  • Replace other filters (air, fuel, cabin PCV, etc.) as recommended – more frequently in dusty conditions
  • Batteries typically last three to five years; have battery life checked by a professional
  • Clean and inspect all lights and replace burned-out bulbs
  • Exhaust system should be examined for leaks, and the trunk and floorboards inspected for small holes; engine exhaust contains deadly carbon monoxide gas that should not be allowed to enter the passenger compartment

Other Resources

Children in Hot Cars Training
Free online training provides vital information about pediatric vehicular heatstroke, commonly called hot car deaths, and how to prevent them. Ask employees to take this course at nsc.org/hotcars.

Get Data at Injury Facts®
Visit injuryfacts.nsc.org to get the latest injury and fatality data for presentations, benchmarking and more.

Check for Vehicle Recalls
Over 53 million vehicles have open recalls. The free website checktoprotect.org helps you ensure fleet and employee vehicles are recall-free.

Driver Safety Training
National Safety Council is a leader in driver safety training. Keep your employees safe on and off the job.

Safety Ambassador Program
Help employees bring a safety mindset to their communities. Learn more about the Safety Ambassador Program.

Road to Zero Coalition
Read the report on how we can eliminate roadway deaths by 2050.

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