As roads become more congested and drivers experience increased anxiety, stress, fatigue and distractions such as cell phone use, the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety is urging the American business community to make traffic safety a priority.
That's the aim of the organization's Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW), a campaign to be held nationwide October 7-11 that addresses seat belt use and risky driving behaviors, such as drowsiness, distractions and alcohol impairment.
The campaign is designed to educate employees about safe driving practices in light of some alarming statistics:
While road and street mileage has increased by only 2 percent since 1980, the number of vehicles using these roads has jumped by 39.8 percent, and the number of vehicle-miles traveled has increased by 80 percent.
The economic cost of traffic congestion nationwide totaled $78 billion, representing the cost of 4.5 billion hours of extra travel time and 6.8 billion gallons of fuel wasted while sitting in traffic.
The total economic cost of all motor vehicle crashes in 2000 was $230.6 billion. Alcohol-related crashes accounted for $51.1 billion, speed-related crashes cost $40.4 billion, and failure to wear a seatbelt cost $26 billion.
Distracted driving is a contributing factor in between 25 percent and 50 percent of traffic crashes - 4,000 to 8,000 crashes daily.
Drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes each year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths. These numbers would be even higher, but this category is grossly under-reported.
Alcohol-impaired driving accounted for 40 percent of fatal crashes in 2001, resulting in 16,652 deaths.
Companies and organizations participating in DSWW will receive a campaign tool kit, complete with materials that promote safe driving. To order a tool kit and be a part of the effort to keep America's workforce safe on the road, call (888) 221-0045 or visit www.netsnational.org.