Nationwide Insurance and NETS team up to promote Drive Safely Work Week
Safety campaign educates employees on dangers of driving while distracted
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 2, 2009
Charley Gillespie (614) 249-5701
Columbus, Ohio — Nationwide Insurance and the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) are reminding workers during Drive Safely Work Week (October 5-9, 2009) of the dangers of multitasking behind the wheel – including talking and texting on a cell phone and checking emails on mobile devices.
We are a nation of multitaskers and too often employees, whether they drive for work or just to and from work, carry over those habits when behind the wheel. Traffic crashes are the number one cause of death and injury in the workplace and the National Safety Council estimates crashes cost employers more than $257 billion annually in the U.S. alone. Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have concluded that 80 percent of all crashes are due to some form of driver inattention and that 15 percent of driver deaths in the U.S. last year – 5,870 people – were as a result of distracted driving.
This year’s Drive Safely Work Week campaign theme, “Drive Focused – Drive Smart – Get Home Safely” focuses on the issues of driving while distracted as well as eco-friendly driving – driving smart to minimize the impact that driving habits can have on the environment.
Too much to do, too little time
A 2008 Nationwide Insurance survey found that almost two-thirds of drivers who own cell phones said their colleagues, friends and family expect them to be available by cell or other electronic communication devices at all times. “On-the-go lifestyles” was cited by 35 percent as the reason why people are Driving While Distracted (DWD). Specifically, “multitasking” was cited by 22 percent and “having too much to do and too little time” was cited by 30 percent.
“Current ‘rules’ making it socially and professionally unacceptable to not respond immediately to a call or email, have made DWD commonplace, but Americans need to realize that there is no such thing as safe DWD,” said Bill Windsor, AVP of Safety at Nationwide Insurance and incoming chairman of the board of NETS. “Getting home safely is the most important thing any employee can do each day.”
Public support for legislation restricting cell phone use by drivers
Nationwide’s new On Your Side survey, conducted Aug. 5-9, 2009, by Harris Interactive, reports that 80 percent of Americans favor a ban on texting while driving and more than half say they would support a ban on cell phone use altogether. Of those who support some type of cell phone usage restriction, nearly 3 in 4 believe the law should apply to all drivers, not just specific groups.
Tools to help businesses
To help businesses combat the issue, NETS has created a web-based driving safety campaign kit providing easy-to-use tools that include downloadable messages, graphics and activities for each day of the campaign week as well as an interactive distracted driving self-assessment. By answering a series of questions on driving behavior, employees discreetly learn how their driving habits rate on a scale developed by a panel of driving-safety experts. Other components include fact/tip sheets and resources for global employers.
The campaign week follows the government’s Distracted Driving Summit that brought together transportation officials, safety advocates, elected officials, law enforcement and academics to discuss combating the issue.
“Employers are in a significant position to lead the way when it comes to encouraging drivers to give their full attention to the road,” said Jack Hanley, executive director of NETS. “The Drive Safely Work Week campaign gives businesses the tools they need to raise awareness of the dangers of driving distracted and provides strategies to help their employees stay focused on driving.”
To access the campaign materials, visit Drive Safely Work Week. Campaign materials are not dated and can be used throughout the year to promote driving safety in the workplace. Find more information on the NETS Web site.
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by A.M. Best. The company provides a full range of personalized insurance and financial services, including car insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and health and productivity services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.
Nationwide, the Nationwide Framemark and On Your Side are federally registered service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.