Focus on the Drive Newsletter

Spring 2019

Motorcycles and Other Summer Driving Hazards

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and keeping motorcyclists safe on the road is everyone’s responsibility. Motorcyclist deaths are 28 times more frequent than fatalities in other vehicles. It is the motorcyclist’s obligation to be properly licensed, to obey the rules of the road and to drive safely. Some states have made the fatal decision to repeal their helmet laws, or have failed to pass them at all. Motorcyclists in states without helmet laws are strongly encouraged to wear them and to wear protective clothing.

Drivers should respect motorcyclists’ rights to use the roadways and do everything possible to keep them safe. NHTSA’s Get Up to Speed on Motorcycles offers these tips for motorists to help reduce motorcycle collisions and injuries:

  • Check your blind spot carefully for smaller vehicles and motorcycles before changing lanes
  • It can be difficult to judge the distance and speed of an oncoming motorcycle, so take extra caution before making a left turn when a motorcycle is nearing the intersection
  • Motorcyclists may weave from left to right within their lane in order to avoid obstacles, potholes or oil slicks; do not assume they are changing lanes
  • Give motorcycles extra following distance; motorcyclists may downshift to reduce speed, so do not depend on seeing their brake lights if you are behind them

Download, print and display a Motorcycle Safety poster, exclusively for Focus on the Drive readers.

Are you a motorcyclist or do you know one? The National Safety Council Motorcycle Safety Online course is a great refresher on defensive driving, risk assessment and riding strategies. Preview the course for free.

Motorcycles Aren't the Only Hazards This Summer

Weather is still an issue. After a dry spell, roads can be instantly slippery during and after a rainstorm due to dirt and oil accumulation on the pavement. They will remain that way until enough rain falls to wash it away.

Longer daylight hours shouldn’t mean longer working hours. Fatigue sets in after a full day’s work, whether a worker is driving a truck or sitting at a desk. Be sure that your employees are not driving while fatigued.

Inexperienced drivers are on the road. Teen drivers are out of school. In addition, vacationers may be less accustomed to driving longer distances and may be unfamiliar with regional roadway designs such as roundabouts.

Look twice for bicycles, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Nicer weather mean more people will be using alternative transportation to get places. Look left, right and left again.

Watch out for drunk and drugged drivers. This is true for every season of the year. Even over-the-counter sinus and allergy medications can cause drugged driving behaviors, such as slowed reaction times and lack of coordination.

Ensure all your employees are up to date on defensive driving training. Make sure that transportation safety is a part of your health and safety management system for all employees – not just those who drive as part of their the job.

Celebrate National Safety Month in June

Unintentional injuries have been increasing for decades and are now the third leading cause of death in the U.S. To reverse this trend, NSC encourages everyone to participate in National Safety Month.

Free workplace resources in both English and Spanish will help engage your workers on four weekly topics: hazard recognition; slips, trips and falls; fatigue; and impairment.

Here are a few ways to celebrate National Safety Month in your organization:

  • Distribute the downloadable National Safety Month materials
  • Create bulletin boards, newsletters or social media posts based on the weekly themes
  • Make an activity out of identifying potential hazards around your facility
  • Throw a safety fair, lunch 'n' learn or celebratory team meeting
  • Encourage your employees to take the SafeAtWork pledge

Safety doesn’t start and end with the workday, so we are including tip sheets for employees to take home and share with their families on topics ranging from fire safety to sleep safety to choking hazards.

Get your National Safety Month materials now and register for our Injury Facts webinar on June 26.

NSC members get exclusive National Safety Month materials, including 5-minute Safety Talks, weekly posters, Spot the Hazard videos and more. Find out more about all the benefits of National Safety Council membership.

Keep Teens Safe Behind the Wheel

Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for teens. Many of your employees may have teens, or will soon. You can take action to help them keep their loved ones safe.

The National Safety Council offers a number of free employer resources through its DriveitHOME program, which you can use to get the word out to your workers about teen safe driving. These resources include:

  • Posters you can display around the workplace
  • Social media videos
  • Infographics for emails, newsletters and social media
  • A 5-Minute Safety Talk you can use to lead your workers in a discussion on teen safe driving
  • The New Driver Deal, a customizable parent-teen agreement to ensure rules related to driving are followed and understood
  • Steer Your Teen Down the Right Road, an automated presentation you can play for parents with new teen drivers

May is Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, so this is a great time to share these resources with your employees and engage them in this crucial safety topic. Get the free resources and help your workers keep their teen drivers safe.

Transportation Safety Programs Keep Us All Safer

When municipalities start or upgrade transportation safety programs, the public and business communities reap the benefits. For example, Waco, Texas, implemented improved traffic control systems and reduced high-crash incidents by 70% (from 120 to 37) at eight targeted intersections from 2017 to 2018.

When crash incidents decrease, operational costs drop. Off-the-job crashes account for 80% of employer crash-related health benefit costs, and half of crash-related injuries cause employees to miss work. The City of Waco:

  • Installed 318 countdown pedestrian lights to improve foot traffic at crossings
  • Put up 134 no-parking signs near intersections and crosswalks to improve visibility and safety

These projects were funded by highway safety improvement program grants.

“We now have a portable ‘pop-up’ traffic signal on a trailer that is used when we have signal poles knocked down or out of service,” Waco Safety Coordinator Berry Barrington said. “The signal controls are plugged into the trailer, and the light sequence is maintained during repairs to keep our crews safe and traffic flow moving.”

Since then, the City of Waco has used scripts provided at no cost by the National Safety Council program Our Driving Concern to create traffic safety public service announcements for the city’s cable television channel, WCCC-TV. These PSAs promote safe driving on and off the job by city employees and visitors. Barrington and Our Driving Concern Senior Program Manager Lisa Robinson also have promoted traffic safety through Waco’s city talk radio program.

Never have these efforts been more pressing. In 2018, the City of Waco welcomed 2.7 million tourists, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald, many to the Silos Bakery Co. at Magnolia Market run by “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. The city also is home of Waco Mammoth National Monument and the birthplace of Dr Pepper and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.

The City has about 1,500 employees and each takes his or her safety lead straight from the top.

“A safe workplace is the reflection of safe leadership,” Barrington said.

If you are based in Texas or Oklahoma, visit Texas Our Driving Concern or Oklahoma Our Driving Concern and subscribe to the newsletter.

Cannabis: It’s Complicated Symposium, June 25–26

Use of marijuana and other cannabis-related products can have a major impact on the safety of your workers, and cannabis legalization is creating new challenges for employers. Learn how cannabis can affect employees’ ability to work, drive and function, and discover policies you should have in your workplace. Speakers include medical and legal professionals, addiction specialists and more.

The two-day symposium will take place in Itasca, Ill., a 20-minute drive from O’Hare International Airport. Learn more and register.

Other Resources

Protect Children from Vehicular Heatstroke
Tragically, 52 children died in 2018 because they were left unattended in hot vehicles. It was the deadliest year on record in the U.S. and alarmingly, 28% of these deaths happened in workplace parking lots. This makes employees an important line of defense. The first step to eliminating these deaths is to understand the issue.

The NSC free online training, Children in Hot Cars, provides vital information about pediatric vehicular heatstroke, commonly called hot car deaths. The training outlines how distraction and other behaviors can lead to these unnecessary deaths, and how they can happen to anyone, anywhere at any time. As the weather gets warmer, consider asking employees to take this quick, easy training, available 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.

Green Cross for Safety® Awards
On May 16, the National Safety Council will honor safety excellence, innovation and advocates at this celebration in Chicago. Learn about the winners on May 17.