Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Between 2003 and 2010, an average of 1,275 workers died each year in highway traffic crashes, 311 workers died each year in off-the-highway traffic crashes, and 338 pedestrian workers died each year from being struck by a motor vehicle. From the bus driver to the worker who runs the occasional errand or loads freight trucks, any employee who operates or works around a vehicle while on the job is at risk.
Taking place every October, Drive Safely Work Week raises awareness of driving safety and reminds workers, their families, and the general public to practice and promote safe driving in an effort to prevent traffic crashes and fatalities. This year, Drive Safely Work Week takes place from October 7 to October 11.
Drive Safely Work Week is hosted by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), an employer-led organization that works to improve the health and safety of employees, their families, and the community by preventing both on- and off-the-job traffic crashes. Each year, NETS provides organizations and business with materials that they can use to help their employees focus on safe driving. The materials include graphics, resources, and daily activities for improving driving safety.
Though NETS focuses on the driving safety of workers, anyone in the community can celebrate Drive Safely Work Week by spending the week improving their driving safety. This year, NETS’s campaign focuses on how safe driving requires a healthy mind, body, and vehicle. Here are some tips you can follow to make sure your mind, body, and vehicle are in healthy driving condition:
- Never drink and drive
- Get plenty of sleep, especially if you’ll be spending several hours behind the wheel
- Take rest breaks frequently and use them to eat, take a walk, or perform any other activity that increases energy and focus
- Get your vision and hearing screened regularly
- Don’t drive when you’re angry or upset
- Calm your mind while on the road by playing relaxing music and avoiding talk radio
- Take care of your vehicle by checking tire pressure and taking it in for a check-up regularly
Other ways to practice safe driving include following state traffic laws and speed limits, sharing the road with bicyclists and pedestrians, wearing your seatbelt, and driving without a cell phone and other distractions.
Remember to take care of your mind, body, and vehicle and practice safe driving throughout the year, not just during Drive Safely Work Week. To download NETS’s Drive Safely Work Week materials for your organization, your community, or yourself, visit trafficsafety.org. Feel free to check out materials from past years as well!