Asleep at the wheel
A recent, shocking study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that 41% of drivers have fallen asleep or nodded off at the wheel and that 16.5% of fatal crashes likely involve a drowsy driver. The implications for employers are huge.
Motor vehicle-related incidents are consistently the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States. Of approximately 5,700 fatalities annually reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 35% are associated with motor vehicles. Costs of an accident exceed $500,000 when a fatality is involved.
In recent memory, the most dramatic work-related, asleep-behind-the-wheel accident began as a simple fender-bender that resulted in a traffic backup. It mushroomed into a chain-reaction collision on an Oklahoma highway that left 10 people dead and six injured when a tractor-trailer traveling 69 mph plowed into the line of traffic.
Investigators concluded that the 76-year-old driver was falling asleep.
Fatigue has also been at the root of major bus, airline and train accidents.
Preventing roadway fatigue requires sound management practices and driver education:
- Develop work schedules that allow employees to obey speed limits and to follow applicable hours-of-service regulations.
- Do not require workers to drive irregular hours or far beyond their normal working hours.
- Teach workers strategies for recognizing and managing driver fatigue and in-vehicle distractions.
- Identify drivers that are at high risk for fatigue related problems.
- Recognize the link between health and diet and fatigue. Develop programs to address the health and wellness of drivers.
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The Seltzer Group with locations in Schuylkill Haven, Orwigsburg, and Pottsville, Pennsylvania, serves businesses and individuals locally, regionally, and on the national level. The Seltzer Group is a proud member of the Keystone Insurers Group.