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|Publication Number: Date: July/August 2001|
Issue No: Vol. 65 No. 1
Date: July/August 2001
The following article is provided by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), a nonprofit, public-private partnership. Founded in 1989, NETS is dedicated to improving the safety and health of employees and their families by reducing the number of traffic crashes that occur on and off the job.
Distracted driving is a major contributor in an estimated 4,000 to 8,000 crashes every day, so whether employees are driving as a part of their job or just to and from work, auto crashes pose a major risk to employers as well as employees.1 Annually, employers in the United States spend $53 billion on costs related to traffic crashes, and that means that distracted driving is a risk to the bottom lines of companies of all sizes.
Survey after survey, as well as research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, indicates that everyday, common factors are topping the list of distracters for today's drivers: looking at things outside the vehicle, adjusting the radio or CD player, and reacting to other occupants and objects moving inside the vehicle. While cell phones have received a lot of attention, multiple surveys have indicated they fall only in the middle of the pack in terms of potential distractions.2 And even more distractions are on the way - e.g., in-vehicle navigation systems, "personal digital assistant" devices integrated with car radio systems, in-car Internet access, and hi-tech stereo systems.
To help educate employees about distracted driving and combat the human and economic costs of traffic crashes, NETS has made distracted driving the focus of the fifth annual Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW) campaign - Sept. 10-14. This workplace traffic safety campaign will also emphasize the importance of buckling up because seat belts are one of the best defenses against the distracted drivers with whom we all share the road.
NETS provides a campaign tool kit with safety messages, activities, and camera-ready artwork to make it easy for employers to improve the safety awareness of their employees. In doing so, employers are protecting their employees and the company's interests by reducing preventable traffic crashes. Last year, DSWW reached an estimated 5 million employees in more than 2,500 companies across the country with its safe-driving messages. For more information on DSWW or NETS, call (888) 221-0045 or visit www.trafficsafety.org.
1. Based on estimates from U.S. Department of Transportation studies that attribute 25 percent to 50 percent of traffic crashes to driver distraction.
2. Surveys include Wirthlin Worldwide (June 2000), Response Insurance (October 2000), and Farmers Insurance Group (1999).