Decade of Action for Road Safety

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A monthly publication of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

October 16, 2015         Summaries of timely road safety news, events, and alerts


Thank you to everyone who participated in or helped spread the word on Drive Safely Work Week 2015 - #PlanAhead – Your key to driving safely!

It was a great week! We are always looking for feedback on the campaign materials. Let us know what you liked or what you might like to see in future campaigns by sending us an email to Just a reminder that the materials are not dated and may be used throughout the year to promote safe driving. The free toolkit remains available at

'Drugged Driving' on the rise in U.S.

Source: HealthDay, October 1, 2015

More Americans are under the influence of drugs while they drive, even as drunk driving rates decline, new research shows. In the report, 38% of drivers killed in crashes who were then tested had drugs in their systems, while about 42% of those tested for alcohol had positive results. And the number of drunk driving deaths has been sliced in half since 1980, government statistics show. Over one-third of the drugs identified in the tests were marijuana in some form, followed by amphetamines, at almost 10%, the researchers found. Marijuana is now legal for medical use in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and it is approved for recreational use in four states and in Washington, D.C., the report authors noted. Meanwhile, prescription drug abuse in the United States has quadrupled since 1999. To see the full article, go to:

Study: Driver assistance technology could prevent 28% of crashes

Source: Fleet Owner, September 30, 2015

Broader adoption of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, and self-parking systems could prevent 28% of all crashes in the U.S., according to a new study from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) – preventing some 9,900 fatalities annually and saving about $251 billion each year. The study, entitled A Roadmap to Safer Driving Through Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and commissioned by the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), also noted that roughly 33,000 people are killed in the U.S. every year in vehicle crashes; incidents that also cause 3.9 million injuries and damage 24 million vehicles. According to government estimates, these crashes come with a "cost to society" of about $910 billion annually, equivalent to roughly 6% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Yet despite those potential safety benefits and cost savings, researchers pointed out that relatively few vehicles on the road today feature ADAS technologies, with market penetration growing at only 2% to 5% annually. To see the full article, go to:

Defense study shows caffeine can reduce driver error

Source: Australian Government Department of Defense, September 30, 2015

Defense researchers have discovered that caffeine only marginally reduces driver drowsiness but significantly reduces driving errors, according to a fatigue study presented at the Australian Psychological Society Conference. The study examined the effects of caffeinated chewing gum on drowsiness and driving performance on people who were sleep deprived. Caffeinated gum was used to administer caffeine as it takes only 10 minutes for most of the dose to be absorbed by the brain and lasts for 90 minutes, whereas drinking coffee takes 30-90 minutes to be absorbed for an unpredictable amount of time. The researchers found a relationship between growing drowsiness and driving errors in the placebo group. In the caffeine group there was a much lower incidence of driving errors despite the growing drowsiness over the period of sleep deprivation. The Defense study was undertaken in partnership with UniSA Sleep Research Centre, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (US) and Monash University Accident Research Centre. "While the findings are relevant to Defense, they have significant implications for civilian application such as emergency services and long-haul transport," said chief defense scientist, Dr. Alex Zelinsky. To see the full article, go to:

What do the SDG road safety targets mean for the US?

FIA Foundation, September 1, 2015

After the inclusion of road safety targets in the final text of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the United States is faced with the reality that something must be done to change the country's status quo of fatalities on its roads. Why is it so urgent that the US act now to decrease its death rate on the roads? In the next five years, the UN member states will aim to 'halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.' This means high income countries need to work to move from an average of 8.7, to 4 deaths per 100,000 population by 2020. But the US is starting the race lagging behind the high income country average, hovering around 10 deaths per 100,000 over the past few years according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The past six months are particularly concerning – total road fatalities were up 14% compared to the same time period in 2014, reaching nearly 19,000 deaths and over 2.2 million serious injuries, according to the National Safety Council. Should this trend continue, the country risks not only suffering its deadliest year on the roads since 2007, but also continuing to fall behind other high income countries. Worse yet, the country could also see a death rate worse than the middle income countries target of 7 per 100,000. To see the full article, go to:

Eyes down, minds elsewhere, 'deadwalkers' are among us

Washington Post, September 27, 2015

You have seen the zombie-like creatures walking among us. In fact, you may be one of them, walking along with your eyes fixated on that tiny screen that rests in the palm of your hand. Americans overwhelmingly think this is okay. It's not. "It's just really dangerous," said Deborah Hersman, who heads the National Safety Council and is former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. "Everybody walking down the sidewalk either has their headphones on or is looking down at their phone. It's a sad commentary on our society when you look at how distracted people are." A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that Americans have grown comfortable using their mobile devices in public, and nowhere more so than "while walking down the street," which 77% said was generally okay. In 2005, 256 pedestrians injured while using phones received hospital treatment, a number that grew sixfold by 2010. To see the full article, go to:

State Police digital billboard focuses on safety (Shell featured)

Source:, October 14, 2015

Motorists will see safety tips and information on hurricane evacuations and major road closures on a new digital billboard in Louisiana. Law enforcement officers, government officials and safety advocates gathered as the billboard was unveiled earlier this week. The South Central Regional Safety Coalition provided the sign through a $70,000 grant from Shell. Karen Spring, road safety manager for Shell, said the corporation focuses on driver safety for both employees and contract staff and partners with organizations where Shell operates. "Whether you're a professional driver or an employee working in an office building, we want everyone to pay attention to the road and drive defensively," said Spring. To see the full article, go to:

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Safe and affordable: updated used vehicle recommendations for teens

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Status Report, October 1, 2015

Parents looking for a safe, affordable vehicle for their teen driver have many more options than just a year ago. IIHS has updated its recommendations for used vehicles for teens, and the list has grown by more than 50%, even though the price and safety criteria haven't changed. Like last year's recommendations, the new list has two tiers: "best choices," priced under $20,000 with good ratings in the Institute's four oldest crashworthiness tests, and "good choices," priced under $10,000 with less-than-perfect ratings in some tests. Although there are now some best choices under $10,000, having two tiers gives consumers a wider variety of lower-priced options. Vehicles on the list earn good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. If rated by NHTSA, they earn 4 or 5 stars overall or 4 or 5 stars in the front and side tests under the old rating scheme. All come with standard ESC. To see the full article including the lists of vehicles, go to:

Many child car seats don't fit properly in vehicles

Source: US News: Health, October 16, 2015

New parents often spend hours researching child safety seats online and soliciting advice from friends and family about which brands are the safest for their babies and friendliest to their budgets. Unfortunately, despite their efforts to find the perfect car seat, parents often encounter an imperfect fit when they strap it into their vehicles for the first time. According to federal safety guidelines, babies must ride in a semi-reclined, rear-facing position in order to keep their heads upright and airways open. The problem is, if you place a child's car seat in a vehicle, it often rests at an unacceptable angle, which forces parents to improvise. Many resort to rolled towels or pool noodles underneath the seat to help it sit at the appropriate angle. However, using aftermarket products to modify the angle of rear-facing car seats puts a lot of responsibility on a parent and, if not done properly, may compromise the safety of the child. To see the full article including advice on what you could do, go to:

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NETS: Off-the-job traffic crashes pose significant costs to employers

Source: NETS via Business Wire, October 5, 2015

When many think of the human and financial impact of traffic crashes on the workplace, they think about company car drivers. But the last published report of The Economic Burden of Traffic Crashes on Employers (2003) shows that, in crashes resulting in injury, there is a nearly 1:1 ratio of the cost of on-the-job crashes to the cost of off-the-job crashes—those that take place outside of work hours that also include non-company vehicle driver-employees and their dependents. The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), a public-private partnership dedicated to reducing the human and economic toll of traffic crashes, is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on an update to the report. Preliminary findings show that the trend has continued.

Drive Safely Work Week ran October 5-9. "During Drive Safely Work Week, we encourage employers to extend safe-driving awareness beyond company drivers to all employees and, ideally, to employee family members, as well," said Joe McKillips, Chairperson of NETS, and Director, Commercial Environment, Health & Safety for the global healthcare company Abbott. "Regardless of occupation, driving is quite likely the riskiest thing anyone does on a daily basis. Taking the opportunity to communicate to all employees the importance of wearing seat belts and stowing mobile devices while driving, for example, is not just the right thing for employers to do, it also makes good business sense." Campaign materials may still be downloaded at To see the full press release, go to:

Know your workforce: Driver health linked to overall safety

Source: Fleet Owner, October 2, 2015

Technology has made vehicles significantly safer than they were. And trucks, loaded with telematics, collision mitigation systems, active brake assist, electronic stability control, and so on, are safer than ever. But none of that matters if the driver isn't healthy. During Travelers' Third Annual Transportation Safety Symposium, Chris Hayes, second vice president of transportation risk control at the insurance group, explained study after study shows that drivers are the root cause of 93% of accidents. Statistics of average Americans show that 51.3% drink alcohol, 34.9% adults are obese, 52% of adults are physically inactive, 18% smoke, 11.3% adults have heart disease, 9.3% are diabetic, of which 27.8% are undiagnosed. And chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and obesity are even more prominent within the trucking industry. "The driver is your safety target," said Woody Dwyer, second vice president of workers compensation, risk control at Travelers. "Safety culture has to be equally combined with health and wellness culture. People who are engaged [in that wellness culture] could have 48% fewer safety incidents." To see the full article, go to:

NAFA issues distracted driving position statement, adopts no-tolerance policy

Source: NAFA News Release via, October 1, 2015

When an organization takes a stand and states certain behaviors are unacceptable, one can tell how seriously that organization honors that position by whether they themselves abide by it. NAFA Fleet Management Association recognizes that the life blood of the job is the driver and the act of driving, and that the use of electronic devices while driving is dangerous to everyone on the road. In October 2015, NAFA will issue the Association's position statement regarding distracted driving, adopting a strong policy for all of its employees, contractors, and volunteers prohibiting the use of any electronic device – handheld or hands-free – while engaged in the act of driving. The position paper is being released in parallel with the official start of Drive Safely Work Week, the annual safety campaign put forth by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS). The campaign, which takes place October 5-9, 2015, contains numerous tips for businesses to use to remind their employees about important safety issues. NAFA is proud to help promote the annual campaign and recommends businesses download the free materials available at for their employees. NAFA's Distracted Driving Position Statement can be downloaded at: To see the full news release, go to:

Study finds policies, not testing, key to fighting drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace

Source: OHS News (AU), September 22, 2015

The findings of new research into how well Australian workplaces are dealing with drug and alcohol misuse has found that workplace drug and alcohol policies work, comprehensive policies really work – but mandatory testing alone does not. While policies were found to be effective, nearly a third of businesses had none in place according to the research. It's been estimated that employee alcohol and other illicit drug use costs Australian businesses more than $8.9 billion a year in lost productivity. The paper's lead author, NCETA's Dr. Ken Pidd, who examined information on 13,590 employed Australians from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, said that even simple policies were associated with significantly decreased odds of high risk drinking. "There is growing interest in workplace policies as a strategy to prevent or manage alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems, and this research demonstrates, for the first time, that workplace policies are associated with lower levels of risky alcohol and drug use among employed Australians," said Dr. Pidd. To see the full article, go to:

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Innovation and Technology

National Safety Council and University of Iowa together with U.S. Department of Transportation unveil a new public education campaign on vehicle safety technologies

Source: PR Newswire, October 7, 2015

A new safety campaign to help drivers navigate new, lifesaving technologies has been unveiled by the nation's leading transportation authorities amid concerns that Americans are uncertain about how important vehicle safety features work - even those that have been standard for years. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind joined creators of the MyCarDoesWhat campaign, Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council (NSC) and Daniel McGehee, director of the Transportation and Vehicle Safety Program at the University of Iowa, to highlight the effort. A recent study by the University of Iowa found most drivers are uncertain about the technologies and how they work. Forty percent of drivers reported their cars had acted in ways that startled or surprised them. "Because vehicle technology can be a game changer, we've created MyCarDoesWhat to keep you safer in the driver's seat," Hersman said. "Knowledge enables you to be your car's best safety feature." To see the full press release, go to: /

Study: Self-parking cars are way better than humans at parallel parking

Source:, September 22, 2015

In a not-surprising turn of events, it turns out that robots are very good at mechanical tasks, and humans are overconfident in their driving abilities. A new study from the AAA put human drivers who considered themselves adept at parallel parking in a "park-off" against five models of self-parking cars. The result? Human drivers got absolutely destroyed by the automated cars in a test of basic parking skills. Nearly 80% of survey respondents contacted by the AAA said they were "confident in their parallel parking abilities." But self-parking cars hit the curb 81% less often than human drivers in the road test, and parked themselves with 47% fewer maneuvers. Self-parking cars were also able to park 37% closer to the curb than human drivers, and—to add insult to injury—they did it 10% faster than the human. To see the full article, go to:

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Young drivers don't see dangers of drowsy driving: Queensland study

Source: International Business Times, October 15, 2015

Drivers under 30 are more likely to get behind the wheel sleepy than drunk because they don't perceive drowsy driving dangerous, reveals a study from Queensland University of Technology (QUT). In the report presented at the 2015 Australasian Road Safety Conference on the Gold Coast, road safety researcher Chris Watling said driving sleepy and driving under the influence of alcohol pose comparable increases in crash risk, yet young drivers perceive the dangers of each behavior as significantly different. Twenty percent of the Queensland's fatal crashes were attributed to drink driving, while an estimated 15% is caused by fatigued driving, Watling cited. However, identifying incidence rates of sleep-related crashes is more difficult because there is no objective test for it. To see the full article, go to:

Zoleka Mandela joins J&J CEO in call to Save Kids Lives

FIA Foundation, October 2, 2015

Johnson & Johnson and its pharmaceutical segment, Janssen, has been a prominent corporate supporter of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety since 2011. CEO Alex Gorsky invited Zoleka Mandela to address a global 'town hall' meeting of the company on October 1 involving 400 employees in the UK and over 90,000 worldwide joining on a webcast. Mandela highlighted some of the life-saving Decade of Action for Road Safety projects around the world which have been established with support from Janssen and J&J. But she said much more work is needed to reach the objectives of the Decade of Action and the new global target to halve road fatalities in the Sustainable Development Goals. Gorsky signed up to the Save Kids Lives campaign which calls for action worldwide to protect children and the vulnerable on the world's roads. "We are honored to have Zoleka, the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, address us today on this important issue," he said. "According to the World Health Organization road traffic injury is the number one killer of young people aged 15-29. This is unacceptable and must surely be a call to action." To see the full article, go to:

Road safety for children is going global

Source: Kate Carr of Safe Kids Worldwide via The Huffington Post, October 7, 2015

The United Nations recently did something that's incredibly important for our children -- and for all of us. For the first time, the UN approved new global goals that include targets for reducing deaths and injuries on our roads. The new Global Goals are particularly important to children, who are among the most vulnerable. In fact, road traffic injuries are the number one killer of kids ages 5 to 19 in the U.S. and around the world. But Global Goals 3 and 11 can help change that: Goal 3 calls on the world to reduce road traffic fatalities by 50% by 2020; and Goal 11 calls for "safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety," and it demands special attention to children. Right now, more than 186,000 kids die each year on or around the roads. If Goals 3 and 11 are fully implemented, we will save more than 93,000 lives per year! There is a burst of enthusiasm about the Global Goals, but it's up to all of us to make sure this enthusiasm is not lost in coming years. To see the full article, including initiatives underway by Safe Kids Worldwide and other safety organizations, go to:

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Asleep at the Wheel: A Nation of Drowsy Drivers

Source: NHTSA meeting announcement

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announces a meeting that will be held in Washington, DC on November 4-5, 2015 to kick off a new national drowsy driving initiative. The NHTSA Drowsy Driving Forum will include presentations and discussions on a number of topics, including problem identification and measurement of drowsy driving, public awareness and education, public and corporate policy, vehicle technology, and balancing the needs for research and action. Attendance at the meeting is limited to invited participants because of space limitations of the DOT Conference Center. However, the meeting will be available for live public viewing on the NHTSA website ( Remote viewers will be able to submit questions online to the forum moderators. NHTSA will use this forum to discuss research and program objectives, consider priority public policy needs, stimulate connections between diverse stakeholders, and identify core public education needs to address the risks, consequences and countermeasures related to drowsy driving. Addressing the risks of drowsy driving is a top priority for this Administration. (NETS staff and members who will be attending the meeting include Jack Hanley, Executive Director, Mike Watson- Board of Directors member from Shell, Bill Windsor- Board of Directors member from Liberty Mutual and Stephanie Pratt – Federal Liaison to the board from NIOSH.) To see the full announcement, go to:

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Upcoming Transportation/Safety Events

October 18-24, 2015
Teen Driver Safety Week

Sponsored by NHTSA. Planning materials are available at:

October 19-23, 2015
National School Bus Safety Week

Sponsored by the National Association of Pupil Transportation (NAPT). For more information, visit:

October 31, 2015
Halloween Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign

Materials are available through NHTSA at:

November 4-5, 2015
NHTSA Drowsy Driving Forum:
Asleep at the Wheel: A Nation of Drowsy Drivers

The event takes place on November 4th, 2015 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on November 5th, 2015 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. It is by invitation only due to limited space, however, it will be available via live webcast at (Note at publishing time further details were not yet available regarding the webcast.)

November 27, 2015
Thanksgiving Weekend Travel

Buckle Up America. Every Trip. Every Time. Materials are available through NHTSA at:

November 28 - December 15, 2015
Pre-Holiday Season Drunk Driving Prevention:
Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving

Materials are available through NHTSA at:

December 16, 2015 - January 1, 2016
Holiday Season Drunk Driving Prevention:
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Materials are available through NHTSA at: /

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