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National Drive Safely Work Week: Inspiring a Safer Commute

The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, a partnership of public agencies and private businesses aimed at improving employee safety, is getting ready to launch their annual National Drive Safely Work Week. Going from Oct. 7, 2013 until Oct. 11, the initiative intends to raise traffic safety awareness and give employers the tools they need to improve worker safety and prevent commuting accidents. To this end, NETS provides fact sheets, graphics, and daily activities employers can use to participate in the event.

Drive Safely Work Week 2013
NETS gears the focus this year toward a holistic approach to better driving, taking both an employee’s mental focus into account along with better vehicle maintenance. The materials included in the campaign touch on many important safety elements, including tips for better sleep, the importance of regular vision tests, and how taking care of a vehicle leads to a safer drive.

Employee Communication
Poor communication is one of the biggest barriers to improving employee safety. To address this problem, NETS has provided a free package of materials employers can use to get the message across to their workers. Among other things, the organization encourages employers to introduce the campaign with a launch letter, a template of which is provided. NETS also provides a list of daily activities for workplaces to engage, all of which tackle another aspect of safe driving. They have divided the focus among all five days of the workweek, taking each important point a day at a time.

Monday – The Presenteeism Phenomenon
NETS defines presenteeism as employees who come to work even when illness, distraction, or stress are keeping them from being productive. While this is a problem for employers who want to get the most out of their workers, it may be an even greater danger for employees on the commute. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,distracted driving was responsible for more than 3,000 deaths and nearly 400,000 injuries in 2011.

Tuesday – Seeing the Road
Tuesday’s safety tips center on the importance of good vision. A study of Pennsylvania drivers found that more than half the people who failed the DMV’s vision test were previously unaware they had any trouble with their eyesight. The material also goes on to note that passing a DMV vision test is not an acceptable substitute for a full vision exam.

Wednesday – Maintaining Energy
According to the National Institutes of Health, the average American fails to get enough sleep. With modern demands requiring many people to sacrifice time somewhere in the schedule, a full night’s rest is often the first thing to go. While reduced sleep may be one way to put more hours in the day, studies show that more than one-third of adults report this lack of rest catches up with them at least a few days every month. Wednesday’s materials center on getting more sleep, improving exercise and fitness, and snacking wisely to improve energy and focus behind the wheel.

Thursday – Tires and Safety
Underinflated tires can set the stage for dangerous driving conditions, especially when paired with hot weather. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent out a 2013 bulletin warning drivers of the risks involved with poorly inflated tires. The materials included in the NETS package encourage employees to keep their tires properly inflated and check them regularly for wear.

Friday – A Holistic Approach
National Drive Safely Work Week wraps up with a comprehensive look at vehicle organization, the importance of secure cargo, and a clean car. The average driver may not think of a cluttered interior as a safety hazard, but stray objects can act as projectiles in a crash while also distracting the driver from his primary focus.

Bringing Better Commuting Safety to the Workplace
Driving safety has always been a priority at companies whose employees are on the road, but NETS aims to bring that same consciousness to every business. With the free materials provided by the organization, employers can educate their employees on better driving practices, many of which will translate to increased productivity on the job.