MCLEAN, VA - The annual Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW), Oct. 5-9, takes aim at distracted drivers, a factor in more than three-fourths of all vehicle crashes in the U.S. and a cost to employers in the billions of dollars.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic crashes are the number one cause of death and injury in the U.S. and cost employers more than $60 billion annually. NHTSA studies reveal 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes are due to driver inattention.

Sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), the DSWW campaign is designed to educate employees on targeted safe driving issues, whether they drive for business or to and from the workplace. The 2009 DSWW is themed "Drive Focused - Drive Smart - Get Home Safely."

Campaign Kit Provides Tools

NETS has created a Web-based campaign kit for employers, providing materials and activities to help build strategies to minimize distractions while behind the wheel. The kit offers easy-to-use tools that include downloadable messages, graphics, and activities for each day of the campaign week. This year's kit also features an interactive distracted-driving self-assessment that can be distributed via e-mail to employees. Other components include fact/tip sheets and resources for global employers.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury fatalities for our associates and one of the top causes of off the job injuries," said Bill Windsor, AVP Office of Safety, Nationwide Insurance, a 10-year DSWW participant. "Nationwide uses the 'Drive Safely Work Week' material to help remind our associates about driving practices that will keep them safe on our highways."

In addition to distracted driving education, the 2009 campaign also targets eco-friendly issues, "driving smart to minimize the impact that driving habits can have on the environment," Hanley said. "Just by making simple changes to our driving and maintenance practices, fuel economy can be improved by up to 15 percent, according to EcoDrivingUSA."

"Designed for Businesses of All Sizes

"The Drive Safely Work Week campaign is designed for businesses of all sizes. Even companies with a robust fleet safety program find the campaign a great way to include everyone in safe driving awareness and practices," said Maureen Mazurek, director of human rights for Monsanto Company and NETS chairperson.

The DSWW campaign kit is available for a nominal fee, ranging from $49.95 to $199.95 according to company employee totals, said Hanley. NETS members and educational, nonprofit, military, and government organizations receive a 20-percent discount.

"In today's tough economic climate, our businesses appreciate that the DSWW materials include meaningful messages and activities that can be easily shared and implemented without taking significant time away from the work day," said Dan Vartanian, corporate program coordinator, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

"Although the campaign is nationally recognized in October, the materials are not dated and may be used throughout the year to make driving safely a part of every day, every trip, on and off the job," Hanley noted.

For a preview of 2009 DSWW materials, click here.

NETS is a partnership between the 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, and UPS.

For more on distracted driving, stay tuned for the upcoming September issue of Automotive Fleet.


Originally posted on Automotive Fleet