The European Union has a special name for certain parties who share highways and streets across the continent. They are the VRUs: vulnerable road users. These pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists account for almost 50 percent of Europeans injured or killed each year in accidents involving vehicles—and 28 percent of those injured or killed in large truck crashes. More than half of these large truck incidents take place at low speeds. In Germany alone this year, more than 20 cyclists have been killed by right-turning trucks alone. The numbers are predicted to grow as governments across Europe promote walking and biking over driving and as more urban construction projects begin.
Safety is paramount to the manufacturers of heavy duty equipment and automobiles today. Innovation is driving the car industry to go well beyond the simplicity of seat belts and automatic brake systems. More and more, advanced technological systems are becoming common place in our cars, trucks, and transportation equipment.
You’ve worked hard to build a profitable and sustainable business. Your employees are devoted to ensuring your company’s success, and in turn rely on you to make their living. Over the years you’ve obtained a significant amount of assets including property, equipment, supplies, and probably most importantly—a reputation that attracts customers. Don’t you want to protect it all? Of course you do. That protection is often created in a risk management plan.
With the development of new vehicle safety technology comes the ever-present danger of complacency. Traffic signals were once a sensation - drivers knew to slow down on yellow and stop on red. Today drivers tend to treat a yellow light turning red like the final sprint of a race. They charge full-speed ahead and safety becomes the back seat driver that is often dismissed.
The advances made in our current age of technology are undeniably game changers. Communication, no matter how near or far, is literally at our fingertips. We can get immediate answers to questions, dictate texts and emails and tell our phones to call someone on demand, all while keeping our social networks updated in the time it takes to walk into the next room. These advances are conveniences our predecessors would have thought of as science fiction; but these—like all new realities—come with their own set of challenges.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. A designation created in large part to our technological strides in communication. As far as we’ve come in bringing the future of communication to our front doors, we’ve also taken a big step backwards when the actions we take on our devices while behind the wheel are proven to increase crash risk.
Topics: Distracted Driving
To counter the rise of injuries and deaths that stretch across heavy-duty industries, both on-road and off-road, initiatives that aim to promote workforce health and safety are being adopted countrywide.
Blind spots behind all moving vehicles and equipment can cause serious physical harm and financial damage. The problem will soon be addressed for passenger vehicles. In May 2018, a decade after the enabling legislation was passed, a law will go into effect requiring that all automotive vehicles be equipped with backup cameras and monitors. The Department of Transportation (DOT) law will apply to new vehicles under 10,000 pounds. It is not hard to imagine that these same requirements will soon be extended to medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
It comes down to simple math. Invest in workplace safety before an accident happens, and you get to take your savings to the bank.
Liberty Mutual estimates that every dollar invested in injury prevention reduces costs for employers by $2 or more. That’s a lot of savings considering the fact that a workplace injury costs employers a whopping $30,000 on average, according to The National Safety Council.