by Stephanie Pratt, PhD and Kwame Boafo, MPH
The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) is calling on leaders of companies and organizations to emphasize road safety for all employees—not just those who drive company vehicles— as a core component of the organization’s safety culture. NIOSH supports this call to action. This year, the theme of Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW), NETS’s signature campaign, is “Driving your safety culture home.” This year’s campaign was observed October 6-10, 2014, but DSWW campaign materials can be used throughout the year.
Whether we are driving for work, commuting to and from work, or just running errands, we all share the risk and costs of motor vehicle crashes. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the U.S., and the second leading cause of unintentional fatal injuries off the job. According to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the annual economic cost of crashes is $277 billion, or nearly $900 for each person living in the U.S. Considering the fact that nearly half of the U.S. population is in the workforce, road safety campaigns designed for workers, their families, employers, and communities can make our roads safer.
Drive Safely Work Week Resources
DSWW 2014 offers employers a great opportunity to introduce a new road safety program or refresh an already existing one. The freeDSWW toolkit for 2014 contains materials on seat belt use and distracted driving which are designed to promote a strong road safety culture in the workplace and at home. The toolkit includes materials that will help employers prepare employees for the launch of corporate seat belt and mobile device policies, along with fact sheets and checklists ready for distribution to employees and their families. It also encourages employers to integrate road safety information into their health and wellness programs.
Your organization’s road safety culture
In developing the theme for the 2014 DSWW campaign, NETS board member companies identified the following as hallmarks of an organization with a strong road safety culture:
- Road safety is viewed as an investment, not a cost.
- Safety is not a department; it’s a way of life.
- Safety is considered a value, not a priority (priorities can change, but values don’t).