Drive Safely Work Week™ 2010 reaches 20 million U.S. employees

If you participated in this year’s Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW) campaign, you were in good company. DSWW 2010, sponsored by NETS in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation, reached nearly 5,000 unique public and private organizations representing more than 20 million U.S. employees, or 12.5% of the total U.S. workforce.

The theme of this year’s campaign was “Focus…Safe driving is serious business.” The DSWW materials were designed to support employer efforts to prepare employees for the launch of a corporate mobile device policy. The campaign’s activities, however, could also benefit organizations that were looking to educate employees on the dangers of distracted driving, particularly talking and texting while behind the wheel.

Of the 4,690 unique organizations that downloaded the electronic tool kit, 88% have or expect to have a cell phone policy in place within the next 12 months. Of the 3,067 organizations reporting they currently have a policy in place, 37% restrict the use of all mobile devices (handheld and hands-free) and 62% of policies apply to hand-held devices only. The campaign tool kit was accessed by organizations with employee headcounts ranging from a handful to hundreds of thousands.

This year’s Drive Safely Work Week experienced the greatest level of participation in the campaign’s 14-year history. The expanded reach is attributed to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s continued emphasis on combating the issue of distracted driving and the many associations, publications and partners who helped spread the word.

NETS members, many of them fortune 500 companies with large corporate fleets, contribute to the development of the annual campaign as a way to share their knowledge and experience with organizations that may not have a robust road safety program or whose safety programs don’t reach beyond the company drivers. “Drive Safely Work Week is our way of encouraging employers to take time to emphasize safe driving to all employees, whether they drive for work or just to and from work,” said Jack Hanley, NETS Executive Director.

Although the campaign is recognized nationally each year during the first full week of October, materials are not dated and may be used anytime throughout the year to emphasize the campaign’s safe driving messages. The campaign materials are still accessible via www.trafficsafety.org.

Strict Enforcement of Cell Phone Bans Boosts Fleet Safety Performance, According to NETS Study

Study covers 45 leading companies, 400,000 vehicles and 8 billion miles traveled

VIENNA, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new study of company vehicle fleet crash rates reveals the top safety performers are companies with policies enacting a total ban on cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) and that establish strong consequences—including termination—for employees who violate such policies.

“The benchmark study shows the potential for well-written state laws combined with strong enforcement to eventually reduce crash rates in the general population.”

The latest STRENGTH IN NUMBERS Fleet Benchmarking Study, sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), found the significant commonalities among the leading performers were not only that they were more likely to have a total ban on mobile phone use, but 6 of the 8 leading companies were also more likely to terminate a driver for violating the company’s mobile device policy. By comparison, all thirteen companies that fell in the bottom of the rankings had some degree of a mobile device policy, but none had the option to terminate a driver for violating the policy.

The year-long benchmarking study examined fleets from 45 leading companies in the pharmaceutical, oil and gas, food and beverage, telecommunications, transportation, package delivery and insurance industries. The companies, including 27 in the Fortune 500, operate a combined fleet of just over 400,000 vehicles that logged more than 8 billion miles in 2009. The study participants’ crash rate per million miles (CPMM) ranged from less than one to nearly 12.

“Last year, distracted driving killed nearly 6,000 people and injured half a million more,” said U.S. Transportation Department Secretary, Ray LaHood. “I want to thank the companies who have stepped up to help fight talking and texting behind the wheel by establishing employee policies with tough penalties for distracted driving. Through these kinds of efforts, we can put a stop to the needless and tragic deaths and injuries caused by this dangerous epidemic.”

“This is the first evidence we’ve seen that shows the combination of a strong mobile device policy and strict consequences can result in lower crash rates,” said Bill Windsor, NETS Board Chairman. “The benchmark study shows the potential for well-written state laws combined with strong enforcement to eventually reduce crash rates in the general population.”

The NETS study also revealed that eight out of nine of the top-ranking fleets regularly review drivers’ mobile phone records after a crash to determine if the driver was using a phone at the time of the incident. Other best practices include: conducting a commentary drive (ride-along with a co-worker or manager) after a collision; tracking CPMM on a monthly basis; and publishing road safety performance via monthly scorecards.

The NETS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS members offer tips when constructing a corporate mobile device policy:

  • Make sure you have a policy, not a guideline. Guidelines are typically interpreted as suggestions and are more difficult to enforce.
  • Policy language must be clear. One member’s policy prohibits employees from using “any electronic device in any gear other than park.” Another company’s policy language clearly prohibits “all electronic devices” so there is no confusion over which devices are allowed—they ban them all.
  • Contractors should abide by the same rules as employees. Make sure the policy also covers any contractors working on behalf of the organization and that they are aware of and have signed off on the policy.
  • Enforcement is key. One NETS member emphasized they make sure their employees and contractors understand “if you break the rules, you don’t work for us.”

About STRENGTH IN NUMBERS:

The STRENGTH IN NUMBERS fleet benchmarking study brings together socially responsible companies willing to look at their own crash metrics, compare findings and share what they’ve learned. The program is for all types of companies and organizations— large or small, local or global, public or private. Participants collect standardized data over a 12-month period. Once compiled, the resulting benchmarking data show how a company compares in terms of crash frequencies taking into consideration road safety policies, driver training programs, crash review practices and more. Members identify best practices to put in place a cost effective, integrated, and comprehensive plan to improve fleet-safety performance.

The STRENGTH IN NUMBERS fleet benchmark program also includes access to road safety experts and an invitation to attend and participate in NETS’ annual Benchmark Best Practices Conference. For more information on the STRENGTH IN NUMBERS program or to become a participant, visit the NETS website at www.trafficsafety.org or send an e-mail tojhanley@trafficsafety.org.

About NETS

NETS is a 501(c)3 organization, a partnership between the U.S. federal government and leading companies including Abbott, AmeriFleet Transportation, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Chubb Group of Insurance, Johnson & Johnson, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Monsanto Company and UPS. Established in 1989, NETS is dedicated to improving the safety and health of employees, their families, and members of the communities in which they live and work by preventing traffic crashes that occur both on- and off-the-job. For more information on NETS, visit www.trafficsafety.org.

Employer Focus on Distracted Driving Building Momentum as 2nd DOT Summit Convenes

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Momentum is building on an important front in the battle against distracted driving – the workplace—according to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS).

NETS, a public-private partnership comprised of leading companies and the federal government, is actively encouraging employers to enact workplace mobile device policies– the primary focus of this year’s Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW) campaign, sponsored annually by the organization.

NETS is seeing the highest level of interest in the 14-year history of the campaign, recognized nationally this year Oct. 4-8. The organization attributes the increase to its partnership with the U.S. DOT and the campaign’s focus on launching a sustainable mobile device policy. NETS was recognized for its efforts at today’s 2nd National Distracted Driving Summit in Washington DC, convened by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

“NETS has been a terrific partner in helping us encourage the business community to adopt distracted driving policies,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “By putting these policies in place, businesses across the country are helping us protect tens of millions of more drivers and reduce preventable deaths and injuries.”

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death and injury in the workplace and according to results of a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month, cost Americans more than $99 billion in lost productivity and medical costs each year.

“The most effective way to modify driving behavior is by combining policy, education and enforcement,” said Bill Windsor, NETS Chairman. “Employers are in a unique position to apply all three of these key elements to influence behavior and reduce the occurrence of distracted driving in the workplace.”

In addition to the Drive Safely Work Week campaign, NETS conducts the annual STRENGTH IN NUMBERS Road Safety Benchmark Study. The 2009 study, based on a combined U.S. fleet of 191,669 passenger vehicles, found that a total ban on mobile phone use while driving was a common attribute of the companies with the best road safety performance.

About DSWW

Drive Safely Work Week is observed nationally each year during the first full week of October; however, the materials are not dated and may be used anytime throughout the year. The DSWW tool kit provides easy-to-use Web-based resources to support targeted activities for each day of the campaign week. These include electronic tools, downloadable graphics and daily communications messages. At press time, nearly 4000 employers of all sizes had downloaded the campaign materials, available at no charge through the NETS Website at www.trafficsafety.org.

About NETS

NETS is a 501(c)3 organization, a partnership between the U.S. Federal government and leading companies including Abbott, AmeriFleet Transportation, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Chubb Group of Insurance, Johnson & Johnson, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Monsanto Company and UPS. Established in 1989, NETS is dedicated to improving the safety and health of employees, their families, and members of the communities in which they live and work by preventing traffic crashes that occur both on- and off-the-job. For more information about NETS, visit www.trafficsafety.org or contact Jack Hanley, NETS Executive Director, at jhanley@trafficsafety.org.

Network of Employers for Traffic Safety and U.S. Department of Transportation Team to Offer Free On-line Resource to Battle Distracted Driving and Improve Employee Safety

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 29, 2010

Contact:

Jack Hanley     (314) 680-3293

jhanley@trafficsafety.org

Vienna, Va. –The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety has partnered with the  U.S. Department of Transportation to offer a free comprehensive tool kit to help companies address distracted driving and improve the driving safety of employees — whether they drive on the job or just to and from work.

Employee traffic crashes, both on and off the job, cost employers an estimated $60 billion annually, according to the most recent government study.

The 2010 Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW) tool kit was developed by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) with support from the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The theme of this year’s campaign is “Focus…Safe driving is serious business.” The DSWW materials are designed to support employer efforts to prepare employees for the launch of a corporate mobile device policy. The campaign’s activities, however, can also benefit organizations that are looking to educate employees on the dangers of distracted driving, particularly talking and texting while behind the wheel.

“Getting the business community involved in helping combat distracted driving is critical,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  “When companies adopt policies against distracted driving, they are increasing the safety for everyone on our roads, and we are grateful to NETS for making this a priority.”

The tool kit provides easy-to-use Web-based resources to support targeted activities for each day of the campaign week.  These include interactive, electronic tools, downloadable graphics and daily communications messages.

“The campaign is a call to action for employers to do something to curb distracted driving,” said Bill Windsor, NETS chairman. “Whether it’s reinforcing or strengthening an existing cell phone policy, preparing employees for the launch of a new policy or simply raising awareness of the issue through education, the Drive Safely Work Week campaign provides meaningful tools and activities to help accomplish any of these objectives.”

About DSWW

Drive Safely Work Week is observed nationally each year during the first full week of October; however, the materials are not dated and may be used anytime throughout the year.  The DSWW 2010 tool kit can be downloaded at no cost now through Sept. 20, via the NETS Website at http://www.trafficsafety.org

About NETS

NETS is a 501(c)3 organization, a partnership between the U.S. Federal government and the private sector.  Board members include Abbott, AmeriFleet Transportation, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Johnson & Johnson, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Monsanto Company, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Group, and UPS.  Established in 1989, NETS is dedicated to improving the safety and health of employees, their families, and members of the communities in which they live and work by preventing traffic crashes that occur on and off the job.   NETS has sponsored DSWW annually since 1996. For more information on NETS, visit www.trafficsafety.org or send an email to jhanley@trafficsafety.org.

NETS survey of leading employers’ mobile phone policies shows common trend

Vienna, VA— A survey by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) of 24 leading companies that operate fleets shows that 74 percent either have policies in place or are planning to implement policies that ban the use of all mobile devices while driving company vehicles. The rules apply to both hand-held and hands-free devices.

While all of the companies surveyed ban hand-held mobile devices, which would prohibit texting, most companies have specific language in their policies regarding text messaging.  In many cases, the policies apply whether the driver is operating a company-owned vehicle or is using a personal vehicle for company business.

Many of the companies surveyed have been pioneers in the effort to counter distracted driving, with policies banning all use of mobile phones implemented as early as 2004.

“Companies that operate in multiple state jurisdictions or where drivers are likely to cross state lines to conduct business cannot rely on state legislation alone to keep employees safe and protect their bottom line,” said Jack Hanley, Executive Director of NETS.  “Employers are implementing these policies to protect their employees and because it is the responsible thing to do.”

Research has shown that the best model to change behavior is education combined with legislation and enforcement. As a means of enforcement, some companies have a zero-tolerance policy resulting in termination for employees who use their mobile phones while driving company vehicles. Companies surveyed also reinforce the importance of attentive driving through workplace safety campaigns and continuous training.

This survey is a follow-up to an earlier NETS benchmarking study of leading companies with a combined 2008 US-based fleet of 185,000 passenger vehicles.  That study found that a total ban on mobile phone use was a common attribute of the companies with the best road safety performance.
Participants in the survey included global leaders in the pharmaceutical, packaging, food and beverage, oil and gas, manufacturing, and insurance industries.  A summary of the 24 policies submitted is available on the NETS Website.

NETS is a 501(c)3 organization, a partnership between the U.S. federal government and leading companies including Abbott, AmeriFleet Transportation, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Chubb Group of Insurance,  Johnson & Johnson, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Monsanto Company and UPS.  Established in 1989, NETS is dedicated to improving the safety and health of employees, their families, and members of the communities in which they live and work by preventing traffic crashes both on- and off-the-job.  For more information about NETS, visit www.trafficsafety.org.

NETS-sponsored benchmark of 350,000 passenger vehicles, 6.78 billion miles of travel yields best practices in fleet safety

Large road safety study shows there is STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Traffic crashes are the number one cause of workplace death and injury. Now, a study of 36 leading companies with a combined fleet of 350,000 passenger vehicles that logged nearly seven billion miles in 2008, has yielded best practices of effective road safety programs.

The STRENGTH IN NUMBERS Fleet Benchmarking Study, sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), is the largest benchmarking of fleet passenger vehicle safety ever conducted by the organization. The study is based on standardized data collected by participating organizations over a 12-month period.

The study revealed a number of proactive best practices that are common among the companies with the lowest employee crash rates, including:

  • Crashes per million miles (CPMM) is tracked monthly.
  • Top performing companies publish a monthly road safety “Scorecard.”
  • Safety is part of the corporate credo of the lowest CPPM companies.
  • Leading companies are more likely to ban the use of mobile phones– hand-held and hands-free – while employees are driving on company business.
  • Lessons learned following a serious collision are shared with the entire organization.

The study group revealed a crash rate per million miles that ranged from less than one to more than 16. All survey responses were reported anonymously with numbers assigned to participants so they could see where they ranked against the others. No company names were revealed.

In its on-going mission to reduce workplace traffic fatalities and injuries, NETS brought together the STRENGTH IN NUMBERS road safety benchmark study participants at a conference in Charlottesville, Va. to review the latest findings. Among the participants were global leaders in the pharmaceutical, packaging, food and beverage, oil and gas, manufacturing, and insurance industries. Representatives attending the conference came from all over the U.S., the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

“By sharing safety data across industries, companies and organizations learn which common program elements are found in the best road safety programs,” said Maureen Mazurek, director of human rights for Monsanto Company and chairperson of NETS. “Combining that with the opportunity to discuss specific challenges and share successes with other road safety professionals makes participation in the (STRENGTH IN NUMBERS) benchmarking study invaluable.”

About the STRENGTH IN NUMBERS Fleet Benchmarking Study

The STRENGTH IN NUMBERS road safety benchmarking study brings together companies willing to look at their own crash metrics, compare findings and share what they’ve learned. The program is for all types of companies and organizations— large or small, local or global, public or private. Once compiled, the resulting benchmarking data show how a company compares in terms of crash frequencies, taking into consideration road safety policies, driver training programs, crash review practices and more. Members identify best practices to put in place a cost effective, integrated, and comprehensive plan to improve their fleet-safety performance.

The STRENGTH IN NUMBERS fleet benchmarking program also includes access to road safety experts and an invitation to attend and participate in NETS’ annual Benchmark Best Practices Conference. For more information on the STRENGTH IN NUMBERS fleet benchmark program or on becoming a participant, visit the NETS website at www.trafficsafety.org.

About NETS

NETS is a 501(c)3 organization, a partnership between the U.S. federal government and leading companies including Abbott, AmeriFleet Transportation, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Chubb Group of Insurance, General Motors Company, Johnson & Johnson, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Monsanto Company and UPS. Established in 1989, NETS is dedicated to improving the safety and health of employees, their families, and members of the communities in which they live and work by preventing traffic crashes that occur both on- and off-the-job. For more information on NETS, visit www.trafficsafety.org or send an email to jhanley@trafficsafety.org.