ASSE Urges Holiday Travelers To Stay Alert, Safe
Des Plaines, IL (November 26, 2008) — With millions of Americans expected to be on the road this Thanksgiving holiday, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is urging drivers to prevent tragedy this week and throughout the year by driving safely, to wear seat belts and properly secure children in vehicles, to be alert, avoid driver distractions, drive safely in roadway work zones, and be aware of road risks such as bad weather, construction sites and more. Driving safely is especially important since the number one cause of on-the-job deaths in the U.S. continues to be transportation incidents.
In 2007 a total of 2,234 people died from transportation-related on-the-job injuries in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In all, 5,488 people died from work-related injuries in 2007. Additionally, for businesses, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that the per crash cost for a fatal crash involving a company vehicle to be $3,604,518.
The 98-year-old ASSE and its 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental safety professionals are concerned with the ongoing tragedy that occurs on our roadways resulting in the deaths of more than 40,000 people each year along with injuries to hundreds of thousands more. ASSE believes these tragedies can be prevented.
Worldwide, roadway crashes and fatalities are at an all time high. In the U.S., the 6,159,000 vehicle crashes in 2005 resulted in the deaths of 43,443 people, injured 2.7 million more people and cost the U.S. $230.6 billion. The majority of those killed in crashes were drivers, and of those that died 75 percent were male. According to the U.S. Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS), 6,483 motor vehicle operators involved in fatal crashes had previous records for suspensions, revocations, DUI, speeding and harmful moving convictions.
As for businesses, ASSE notes that many have worked to improve their fleet safety programs through management processes and best practices. Pilot programs involving new technology aimed at understanding driver behavior and the lone-worker environment have been successfully developed and implemented. To improve transportation safety many organizations are utilizing — in-vehicle technology: vehicle and cargo tracking systems; safety coaching; managing crash risk before the crash occurs; utilizing event recorders; improving driver safety through feedback; training; and, building safety into their retention process.
Recently, an ASSE member from North Carolina noted several firefighters from one town had lost their lives due to traffic crashes. As a result, town officials developed and implemented a program aimed at increasing seatbelt use among firefighters resulting in a major reduction in traffic crash related on-the-job deaths and an increase in the use of seatbelts for firefighters.
ASSE members note that safety is good business and transportation crashes not only cause injuries and fatalities, but increase maintenance costs, lead to road repair, retraining, hiring new drivers, and slice away at a company’s good reputation, in addition to the immeasurable pain and grief the victims and families suffer.
For additional roadway safety tips please go to www.asse.org/newsroom under press kit and download the free ASSE brochure titled ‘Preventing Roadway Crashes.’ Founded in 1911, ASSE is the oldest and largest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. It’s more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor and education.