Archive for March, 2021

Distracted Driving is Dangerous

Image of text "Distracted Driving 3,142 Number of People Killed by Distracted Driving In 2019"

Distracted Driving Awareness Month takes place each April to bring national attention to the dangers of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2019, distracted drivers caused 3,142 deaths and many thousands of injuries on America’s roads and highways. That’s almost 9 people killed and hundreds injured every day. Washington State Traffic Safety Council data shows that distracted driving causes 30% of fatalities and 23% of serious injuries in crashes in the State of Washington.

Operating a motor vehicle requires full attention to the road, but distraction happens easily when you are driving and at the same time using a mobile device, changing radio channels, using a calculator, applying cosmetics, smoking, eating or drinking. Texting is one of the most dangerous distractions – it takes your eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the entire 120-yard length of a football field with your eyes shut. Driving while texting also increases your crash risk like driving with a blood alcohol content of 1.9.

It’s the Law

In 2017, Washington State passed a distracted driving law into the rules of the road. Getting ticketed for distracted driving is expensive. Fines start at $136 and can go up to $234 on repeat offenses. The citations stay on your driving record and increase your vehicle insurance rates. Federal law also prohibits texting by interstate truck drivers and forbids companies from requiring their drivers to text while behind the wheel. In addition to disqualification, civil penalties for truck drivers can reach up to $2,750 for multiple offenses, and $11,000 for companies requiring or allowing drivers to text while driving. Over 150 law enforcement agencies across Washington State participate in the Distracted Driving Awareness Month prevention effort.

Drive Safely

The best strategy to prevent a roadway incident is an easy one. Never take your mind off driving and always keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the steering wheel. Put away your cell phones and other handheld gadgets and objects until you are safely parked out of the flow of traffic.

Trucking companies should implement a cell phone policy in their safety program that prohibits drivers from using their cell phones while driving. Drivers also should not handle dispatching devices, maps, or food while driving.

Visit the following links to get more information and resources for distracted driving prevention:

Washington State traffic law:

Using a personal electronic device while driving

Dangerously distracted driving

Keep Trucking Safe:

Smart and safe cell phone use poster

Washington State Traffic Safety Council:

Distracted driving data, training resources and programs

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

Rule limiting the use of wireless communication devices

Distracted driving tips and training tools

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Be Wise, Protect Your Eyes

Image of title: "Prevent Blindness, Bringing Americans to Eye Care"

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month—a time to take a fresh look at preventing eye injuries at work. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that around 2,000 workplace eye injuries requiring medical care occur every day in the United States. About 20% of these injuries result in missing one or more workdays to recover, with 10-20% causing temporary or permanent vision loss.

The most common workplace eye injuries are from airborne particles and objects that strike, scrape, or penetrate the eyes. Chemical, thermal, and flash burns also cause many eye injuries. Welders, power tools, and solvents are major sources of such injuries.  

The best way to prevent workplace eye injuries is to have a company safety program that identifies, assesses, eliminates, and controls hazards that can cause such injuries. Your program should include performing job hazard analyses that identify eye injury hazards and prevention solutions. Providing safe equipment and tools, proper lighting, machine guarding, and employee training can prevent many kinds of eye injuries.

In addition, Washington State workplace safety rules require employers to provide appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to workers who are exposed to eye injury hazards. Depending on the specific hazard, PPE selection may include:

  • Non-prescription and prescription safety glasses
  • Goggles
  • Eye protection with side shields
  • Face shields
  • Welding helmets
  • Full-face respirators

PPE must meet current American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87.1 standards. The International Safety Equipment Association’s Eye and Face Protection Selection Guide can help you find the right PPE to keep your workers safe.

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