NJ ASSE Celebrates NAOSH Week

Local members of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers (NJASSE), a state affiliate of the oldest and largest safety society, are concerned that the number one cause of on-the-job and off-the-job deaths continues to be transportation incidents – all modes. Therefore, in celebration of North American Occupational Safety and Health Week (NAOSH) which runs from May 1-7, 2016, the NJASSE along with thousands of other organizations, will be working to raise awareness of the importance of preventing on-the-job and off-the-job accidents, by distributing transportation best practices information and urging all to heed to traffic rules and regulations.  Here is a link to a distracted driving presentation: NSC Distracted Driving PPT.

In 2014, there were 5,419,000 million vehicle crashes resulting in 32,675 people dying and injuring 3.9 million more. In the U.S. alone, car crashes cost all of us $242 billion each year. Males made up approximately 70 percent of those who died in transportation accidents in 2014, 30 percent were female.

As for weather conditions, in the U.S. the majority of crashes occur during normal weather during daylight hours. The top factors causing fatal crashes are 1) failure to keep in proper lane or running off road; 2) driving too fast for conditions or in excess of posted speed limit; 3) DUI; 4) failure to yield right of way; 5) distractive driving and inattentive (texting, talking, eating, etc.); 6) operating erratic, reckless, careless, or negligent manner; and, 7) failure to obey traffic signs, signals or officer.

The State of New Jersey’s experience is not unlike that of the nations. In fact, in 2014, there were over 240,000 motor vehicle crashes. 556 motor vehicle related deaths which represents a 2% reduction over the prior year. Of particular concern were the 170 pedestrian fatalities, which represent nearly 31% of all motor vehicle fatalities, which is 17% higher than the national average of 14%. There were over 55,000 teenager motor vehicle related incidents in 2014 and in that same year 57 teenagers lost their lives on New Jersey roadways.

Distracted driving is a behavior dangerous to drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike. Distractions including talking on a cell phone, texting, eating and using/looking at a GPS injured an estimated 431,000 people in motor vehicle crashes in 2014, while killing 3,174 others. For drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes in the U.S., 10 percent of the distracted drivers were distracted at the time of their fatal crash

Founded in 1911, ASSE is made up of 36,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professionals committed to protecting people, property and the environment so we urge people to drive wisely, follow traffic laws and rules, and to devote one’s full attention to the driving task at hand. We also urge law enforcement officials to continue to crack down on those that break traffic laws and state and federal officials to continue to upgrade our roads and bridges.

Businesses can and are doing their part by reviewing their driver safety policies, most are including an element that would prohibit workers from conducting business on a cell phone while driving, mandating seat belt use and developing work schedules that allow employees to obey speed limits and to follow hours-of-service regulations.

We all need to continue to do our part to curb these preventable tragedies. We urge you and your readers to support NAOSH Week this May 1-7, and throughout the year by urging your friends, family and co-workers to drive smart. The tangible and intangible losses due to transportation crashes are extremely high. To learn more about NAOSH Week and to see what our partners are doing, please visit our website at www.njasse.org.

Together we can make a difference.

 Contact: American Society of Safety Engineers, Bob Sagendorf, 908-276-1000, NAOSH Week Chair: rsagendorf@eiielectric.com