Before we look at some very important driver safety tips, let's review the kinds errors drivers make on the road. The Indiana Tri-Level model developed by Treat et al. is one of the first driver error models, and is still widely used. The model divides driver error into four main categories as follows:
Distracted driving is a factor in 25 percent to 30 percent of all traffic crashes. With hectic schedules and roadway delays, many employees feel pressured to multitask just to keep up with their personal and work-related responsibilities.
Since drivers make more than 200 decisions during every mile traveled, it is critical for employers to stress that when driving for work, safe driving is their primary responsibility.
It is easy to become stressed when driving, particularly during morning or evening commutes. Aggressive driving includes excessive speed, tailgating, failure to signal a lane change, running a red light and passing on the right.
Seat belts are the single most effective means of reducing deaths and serious injuries in traffic crashes. As the most effective safety device in vehicles, they save nearly 12,000 lives and prevent 325,000 serious injuries in America each year. During a crash, anyone not wearing a seat belt will slam into the steering wheel, windshield or other parts of the interior, or be ejected from the vehicle. Employers should develop a seat belt policy for all employees.
Alcohol use is involved in 40 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes, representing an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 30 minutes. It is estimated that three in every 10 Americans will be involved in an impaired driving-related crash some time in their life. Businesses pay a high price for alcohol and drug abuse; alcohol is a contributing factor in 39 percent of all work-related traffic crashes. Alcohol, certain prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs can all affect a person's ability to drive safely due to decreased alertness, concentration, coordination and reaction time. Employers should develop an alcohol and drug policy for all employees.
Fatigued or drowsy driving may be involved in more than 100,000 crashes each year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths. Sadly, these numbers represent only the tip of the iceberg since these crashes are seriously under-reported. These days, it is more important than ever for employees to be well-rested, alert and sober on the road so that they are in a position to defend themselves from drivers who do not make the same choice. Train employees to make smart decisions when they are behind the wheel, on and off the job.
The 16- to 20-year-old population represents a significant highway safety problem. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of fatalities for teens. Historically, this group is the age group that has the lowest seat belt use rate and is the most likely to engage in risky driving behaviors that include speeding and driving while alcohol or drug impaired and when drowsy. It is important for employers with young workers to actively promote safe driving practices.
Under state and federal law, 16-year-old workers are prohibited from driving as part of their job, and 17-year-olds may drive for work only under strictly limited circumstances. Some state laws may be more restrictive than federal laws. For more information on child labor laws, visit www.youthrules.dol.gov or www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/youth/.