By Art Liggio, President and CEO, Driving Dynamics
Anytime your drivers hit the road, they are surrounded by any number of people with diminished operational control. Distractions, speeding, fatigue, aggression, DUI—it’s a minefield out there. Faced with the “other driver” and their poor decisions and actions it’s certainly no easy job to manage your fleet’s risk exposure but together we prepare your drivers to steer clear of the oncoming danger.
One area that’s a serious cause for concern is the rapidly growing abuse of prescription opioids. It’s has reached epidemic levels. The latest research shows a seven-fold increase since 1995 in the number of drivers killed while under the influence of prescription opioids. And it doesn’t appear to be getting any better as Researchers at Columbia University’s Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention expect a continued increase in the percentage of fatal crashes related to opioid usage.
The American Journal of Public Health recently published a paper looking at the effects this epidemic is having on driver safety. Researchers found that the percentage of drivers with prescription opioids detected in their systems at the time of death surged from 1.0% in 1995 to 7.2% in 2015!
If you’re not alarmed yet, consider that a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that an estimated 92 million adults in the United States, that’s almost 30 percent of our population, used prescription opioids in 2015. Adding to the pain, how many more adults were using these drugs illegally? Yes, most people use prescription drugs responsibly but you cannot escape the fact that your drivers are on the road with these “other drivers” every day, hour and minute.
So what should you be communicating to your fleet? Tell them: You cannot be complacent. You cannot depend on someone or something else to keep you safe. You and you alone are responsible for your safety behind the wheel. Maintain constant situational awareness. Take the time to understand the warning signs of a driver operating in your safety zone who has the potential to put you at risk. Be proactive. Respond accordingly before it’s too late to control the situation. Remember—complacency kills. Get this message out on a regular basis. It’s worth repeating.
Also, provided here, to share with you drivers, is a free copy Driving Dynamics’ Safety Bulletin: The Other Driver—10 Warning Signs. While we can’t control the “other driver” and their actions, each person in your fleet can be empowered to stay alert to warning signs and be ready to steer clear of anyone that may be place them in harm’s way.
Safety & Risk is presented by Driving Dynamics an accomplished provider of impactful driver safety training and risk management services. Continually building and delivering programs based on sound research, proven learning methodologies and expert instruction, we are dedicated to improving drivers’ abilities to stay safe by leveraging risk management tools, principle-based learning and applied techniques. The One Second Advantage™ safety training principle developed by Driving Dynamics is rooted in research that shows 90 percent of all traffic crashes can be avoided when the driver has just one more second to react and knows what to do with that additional second. Driving Dynamics encourages all drivers to Steer Toward Safety™
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