The first full week in October is Drive Safety Work Week. The campaign promotes safe driving in a number of ways. It is not restricted to people who drive as part of their work. The name is related to the group that produces the campaign each year, the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS). The idea is to help employers push the message of safe driving to their employees. While car and truck accidents have the most devastating impact on the victims and their families, the cost of accidents to employers and society at large is tremendous. For employers who wish to help their workers drive safely, NETS offers materials to accomplish that mission.
September 2015 Archives
Working in a hostile environment is more damaging than many people realize. If you are lucky enough to have avoided sexual harassment, you may not realize the impact of this unacceptable behavior. Sexual harassment, both obvious and subtle, can take a terrible toll on the health and well-being of its targets. Women are substantially more likely to be subjected to sexual harassment of all types than men. The effects of harassment on women was recently the subject of a study conducted by researchers at the University of Melbourne. The research suggests that covert sexism and harassment, the type that is difficult to prove in a legal setting, is as damaging to a woman's career and health as the more obvious types of harassment.
The scandal concerning Volkswagen and its not so clean diesel technology is a safety issue on a broad scale. The pollution poured into the atmosphere because of Volkswagen's malfeasance is a real threat in many ways. It does not, however, have a direct connection to car crashes that we know of. The issue does raise a number of concerns about auto safety, however. If a company like Volkswagen is willing to engage in cheating on this scale, risking billion of dollars of fines and damage to their brand (not to mention to the environment), it is safe to wonder how far they might go to cover up deadly auto defects.
The majority of parents of teenagers list car crashes as their top safety concern. Teen drivers have a well-earned reputation for dangerous driving. One of the ways to combat the problems of teen drivers is to introduce them more slowly to the experience of driving. Graduated Driver Licensing programs, such as the one in New Jersey, help teens gain the experience they need before confronting them with all of the pressures that driving can include. By giving teens a partial right to drive, GDL programs have helped reduce teen accident rates. Unfortunately, many parents do not understand the GDL restrictions and so do not help their teen drivers get the most out of the program.
Some people consider bullying to be a problem reserved for young people. While bullying is certainly prevalent among children and young adults, it is not restricted to these groups. Bullying in the workplace is a common problem. A recent survey of workers showed that workplace bullying increases the likelihood of the victim having suicidal thoughts. In fact thoughts of suicide were twice as likely among victims of workplace bullying as among those who have not been targeted.
The balance of power between employers and employees is the result of years of public policy, lobbying and enough history to fill countless books. An abusive employer can make your life hell. Unless you are one of the fortunate few who can leave your job, totally confident of getting another just as good, you face a difficult decision in deciding when enough is enough. That decision might depend on your rights as a worker. In the United States, your rights likely fall far short of those in other nations. Employers face some restrictions, but it is important to understand what you need to show to win a battle in court.
For some people, safety is the top concern when choosing a car. For most, safety is one concern among many. Cost, convenience, even style might all rank ahead of the safety features of a vehicle, depending on your preferences. Wherever safety falls on your list of priorities, you should, at least, understand the ways your car can help make your driving experience safer. Toward that end, the National Safety Council recently launched a new web site designed to help drivers understand important features of their vehicles. At mycardoeswhat.org, drivers can learn about passive and active safety technology present in their vehicles.
I know. I hear you. If you've read my blogs before, I'm starting to sound like a broken record. I've talked -- it seems to me endlessly -- about the problem we have in America of reconciling a person's personal religious beliefs with public policy. Frankly, it's starting to get embarrassing for us. I just returned from a trip overseas and believe me when I tell you, America's obsession with religious fundamentalists calling the political shots is not well thought of.
The National Safety Council released preliminary data about traffic fatalities in 2015 and the news is not good. From January to June, 18,600 traffic deaths were reported throughout the United States. Through June of 2014, 16,400 deaths had been reported. That marks a 14 percent increase in motor vehicle deaths so far this year. It puts 2015 on pace to be the most deadly year on U.S. roadways since 2007.
More than twice as many people were hospitalized due to bicycling injuries in 2013 than in 1998, according to a report in the journal of the American Medical Association. The report showed an increase in the proportion of head and torso injuries, as well as a marked increase in injuries suffered by riders 45 years of age and older. In fact, the proportion of injuries suffered by riders over 45 increased 81 percent in that time period. In addition, the rate of hospital admissions for bike accidents rose more than the increase in total injuries. Older riders are suffering more injuries in bicycle accidents and are more likely to be hospitalized as a result.