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Archive for April, 2012

Distracted Driving: Week 4

It’s the fourth and final week of the National Safety Council‘s Distracted Driving Awareness month! We appreciate the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for encouraging us to share important information about distracted driving throughout the month of April.

We would also like to thank EHS Today for providing the article for this week.

78% of College Students Use Cell Phones While Driving

A new study reveals that 78 percent of college students reported talking on a cell phone or texting while driving. Half of the students admitted to sending texts while driving on the freeway.

Experts from University of California San Diego’s Trauma Epidemiology and Injury Prevention Research Center analyzed the driving habits of nearly 5,000 college students from UC San Diego, San Diego State University, University of San Diego, CSU San Marcos and eight smaller colleges in the region.

The results show that, despite the safety concerns associated with texting and driving, many college students are tapping out text messages while they’re in the driver’s seat. Sixty percent said they send texts while in stop-and-go traffic or in city streets, while 87 percent send texts while at traffic lights. Only 12 percent of students said they never text while behind the wheel.

In addition, 52 percent of students said they use hands-free devices at least some of the time, and 25 percent said they use hands-free devices with high frequency. Other research has shown, however, that drivers are dangerously distracted when talking on the phone, whether they use hands-free devices or not.

Misplaced Confidence

“Distracted Driving is a highly prevalent behavior in college students who have misplaced confidence in their own driving skills and their ability to multitask,” said Linda Hill, MD, MPH, clinical professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Despite the known dangers, distracted driving has become an accepted behavior.”

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (CADMV), distracted driving is on the rise due to an increase in the use of cell phones and other electronic devices and the increasing importance of these devices in individuals’ lives. Studies have shown that phoning and driving increases the risk of crashes four-fold, with hands-free and hand held devices equally dangerous. Texting increases this risk 8-16 times.

“This study highlights the high prevalence of distracted driving in college students, including texting while driving, something we see firsthand each and every day,” said assistant chief Robert Clark, Border Division, California Highway Patrol. “The demonstration of misplaced confidence in their own and others’ ability to multitask may lead to opportunities for us to educate and employ some risk abatement strategies.”

The students’ average age was 21 years old; 66 percent were female; 83 percent were undergraduates; and 17 percent were graduates. The UC San Diego research team also included Jill Rybar, MPH, Tara Styer, MPH, and Ethan Fram.

Distracted Driving: Week 3

It is week three of the National Safety Council‘s Distracted Driving Awareness month! Thanks again to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for giving us an opportunity to inform others about the dangers of Distracted Driving.

Driver Distractions – Don’t Be a Statistic

This article was taken from The California Department of Motor Vehicles’ webpage.

Distractions Are Everywhere

Driving is a skill that requires your full attention to safely control your vehicle and respond to events happening on the roads around you. Driving involves constant and complex coordination between your mind and body. Events or things that prevent you from operating your car safely are distractions. There are three types of distractions and they are anything that takes your:

  • eyes off the road (visual).
  • mind off the road (cognitive).
  • hands off the steering wheel (manual).

When you think about the actions you make in your vehicle, other than just driving, you can see that they often involve more than one type of distraction. For instance, if you change your radio station, you take a hand off the steering wheel to press a button, and take your eyes off the road to look at what button you want to press.

Driving Distractions Study

Driver distractions are the leading cause of most vehicle crashes and near-crashes. According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction. The distraction occurred within three seconds before the vehicle crash!

According to the NHTSA and VTTI study, the principal actions that cause distracted driving and lead to vehicle crashes are:

  • cell phone use.
  • reaching for a moving object inside the vehicle.
  • looking at an object or event outside of the vehicle.
  • reading.
  • applying makeup.

Drivers who engage more frequently in distracted driving are more likely to be involved in a vehicle crash or near-crash.

“Dial D” for Disaster

Cell phone use has become so popular these days that many times we don’t realize when, where, and how often we are utilizing our “cellular telephones.” Cell phone use while driving has increased so significantly within the last few years that at any typical daytime moment, as many as 10% of drivers are using either a hand-held or hands-free phone.

Studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and near-crashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.

Make and finish your cell phone calls before you start your vehicle and drive. If your phone rings while you are driving, let your voicemail pick up the call. If you must answer your phone, pull over to a safe location and park before using your cell phone.

New cell phone laws took effect July 1, 2008 in California. Drivers age 18 and over may use hands-free devices while driving. Drivers under the age of 18 may not use any type of hand-held or hands-free wireless phone while driving.

Are You Eating a Crash Diet?

If you are eating in your vehicle while driving, you are focusing on your food and not on your driving. You are not only chewing and swallowing; you are also opening packages, unwrapping and re-wrapping food, reaching, leaning, spilling, wiping, and cleaning yourself or your vehicle. These are quite a number of distractions for one driver on one trip. You are safer when you stop to eat or drink. Allow yourself plenty of time to stop, rest from driving, and enjoy your meal.

Are You Being Driven to Distraction?

What do children, friends, and pets all have in common? All can be a dangerous distraction to you while you are driving.

Teach your young children that driving is an important job and that you must concentrate when you are behind the wheel. Buckle up your children properly. Give them distractions—books, games, or other appropriate toys to occupy their time. If you need to attend to your children, pull over to a safe place. Don’t try to handle children while you are driving.

When you are driving with friends and relatives, establish some strategies to keep your passengers under control. A carload of friends can be very distracting with loud talking, quarrelling over music selections, or horseplay. Arguments and other disturbing conversations should be held in a safe, appropriate place, not while you are driving in your vehicle.

A loose pet in a moving vehicle can be very dangerous. Properly secure your pet in a pet carrier, portable kennel, or specially designed pet harness when you are driving. Never allow your pet to sit in your lap while you are driving your vehicle.

Turning Dials Can Turn Your Head

Making destination entries on an in-vehicle navigation system, radio surfing for a good song, or adjusting your vehicle’s climate controls are distracting activities that can put you in danger of a vehicle crash or near-crash. The availability of in-vehicle Internet and e-mail access from cell phones, blackberries, and other portable devices are added distractions that increase your risk of a crash if you engage in these activities while driving.

  • Adjust vehicle’s controls (climate controls, mirrors, radio, seat, etc.) before you begin to drive.
  • Check your e-mail, voicemail, and any other portable devices you have before you begin driving.
  • Take advantage of normal stops to adjust controls.
  • Ask your passenger to adjust the radio, climate control, navigation system, etc. for you.

Looks Can Kill…

Looking out your window at what you are passing while you are driving can be a distraction if you are concentrating on getting a good look at:

  • an accident
  • a vehicle pulled over by law enforcement
  • construction work
  • a billboard advertisement
  • a scenic view
  • street names and addresses

Always focus on your driving. It’s crucial that you remain alert while on the road to arrive at your destination safely.

Distractions and Young

The leading cause of death for 15-20 year olds are vehicle crashes. Vehicle crashes make up approximately one-third of all deaths for this age group. More crashes occur when passengers, usually other teens, are in the vehicle with a teen driver. Two out of three teens die as passengers in a vehicle driven by another teen.

These statistics are caused by a teenager’s immaturity, driving inexperience, overconfidence, and risk-taking behaviors. Before your teen takes to the road, explain to him/her the dangers of participating in distracting activities and driving. Many teens do not see the connection between the things that distract them and their age group’s high rate of vehicle crashes and death.

Give your teen strategies and rules to help them keep their passengers under control. No horseplay, inciting the driver to speed or engaging in any other type of dangerous activity while riding in a vehicle.

Instruct your teen to set up his/her in-vehicle radio, CD player, IPOD or any other in-vehicle music playing device before driving and to play the music at a listening level that is not distracting. Wearing headphones or earplugs is illegal in California regardless of the age of a driver.

Talk with your teen about how to deal with driving distractions. Discuss what could happen if he/she tries to answer a cell phone, send a text message, search for music, or spill a drink on themselves while they are driving. Explain the importance of driving safely and staying alive.

Other Deadly Distractions

In this age of multi-tasking, it is common to do more than one task at the same time. You already multi-task when you are driving; your mind and body are working simultaneously to drive your vehicle. You should not add another task on top of what you already need to do to drive safely. These tasks should never be done while you are driving:

  • Reading a newspaper, a book, or a map.
  • Personal grooming, such as hair grooming, shaving, or applying makeup.
  • Smoking and dealing with lighting up, putting out cigarettes, or falling ashes.
  • Working in your car: typing on a laptop, making business calls, and writing notes or reports.

Undistracted Driving

When you are driving, the condition of the roadway you are on and the behavior of other drivers can change abruptly, leaving you little or no time to react. When you are driving, follow these rules:

  • Stay focused.
  • Pay attention.
  • Expect the unexpected.

 

*The picture above was taken from Ads Logistic Co., LLC‘s webpage.

Distracted Driving: Week 2

It is week two of the National Safety Council‘s Distracted Driving Awareness month! Again we would like to dedicate this post to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for encouraging us to help spread the word on the dangers of Distracted Driving.

The American Academy of Orthopedic SurgeonsHarris Interactive Survey Results

The survey results reveal how American drivers feel about multitasking, their own behavior behind the wheel as well as the choices of other drivers.

  • Drivers are more likely to report observing distracted behaviors in other drivers than say they engage in the activity themselves, for instance, 99% report seeing other drivers talking on a cell phone and only 61% report that they have done this.
  • Eighty‐seven percent (87%) said they have seen other drivers grooming themselves whereas only one out of five (18%) report that they have done this.
  • Of the more than 1,500 driving‐age adults surveyed, NONE of them reported their own driving as unsafe. In fact, 83 percent claim to drive safely. And, yet they believe only 10 percent of other drivers drive “safely.”
  • Although drivers are aware that distracted driving compromises the ability of others to drive safely, one in five (20%) agree that they are a good enough driver that they can do other things while driving without compromising [their driving ability].
  • Among those who self‐reported distracted driving behaviors overall, 30‐44 year olds seem to be the worst offenders who most frequently admitted to eating or drinking, talking on a cell phone or reaching in the back seat of the car while driving.
  • Many drivers who have experienced a near‐accident due to their own distracted driving behavior say they will continue the behavior that caused them to swerve or slam on the breaks to avoid an accident.
  • The results showed that 94 percent of drivers in America believe that distracted driving is a problem in the U.S. and 89 percent believe it is a problem within their own communities.
  • Drivers report that nearly half of all drivers (46%) say they encounter on a typical day are distracted driving.
  • Nine out of ten drivers say that distracted driving is a very serious or serious problem among teenagers (90%) and young adults 20‐24 (86%).
  • Half of all drivers think about their driving before they get behind the wheel.
  • Virtually all (96%) of passengers say they sometimes or always mention a distracting behavior to the driver.
  • Four out of five (81%) drivers have avoided an accident with another driver who appeared to be distracted while driving.
  • Men (24%) are more likely than women (18%) to believe they can multi‐task while driving.

Thanks to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons for this week’s article!

Important Announcements

Gribbins Insulation is pleased to announce…

Ryan Henderson promoted to Senior Estimator

Ryan Henderson, Senior Estimator, hard at work.

Ryan started with the company almost 11 years ago and has been an important participant in our growth and success.  Upon joining us in 2001, Ryan had no experience or knowledge of the insulation industry and came to us with a graphic design background.  Over his career he has gained the expertise to successfully estimate and project manage most any project we encounter, most recently as the Estimator/Project Manager on The Ford Center in Evansville, and the UK Hospital addition in Lexington, two of our major commercial jobs in recent history.

Trevor Atherton becomes an Associate Safety Professional (ASP)

Trevor accepting the Indiana Governor's Workplace Safety Award in March 2011.

Trevor Atherton, the Gribbins Safety Manager, is well on his way to becoming a Certified Safety Professional after passing the first of two rigorous examinations from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.  With this first step complete, he is now considered an Associate Safety Professional, or ASP, and may move forward with studying for the final exam.  Trevor has been instrumental in our exceptional safety performance and the many recent safety accolades, including being named one of America’s Safest Companies by EHS Today magazine.

We congratulate Ryan and Trevor as they continue making a difference in our efforts to be the premier insulation contractor in the Midwest.

Distracted Driving: Week 1

April is the National Safety Council‘s Distracted Driving Awareness month! Thanks to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we will be posting articles each week in order to educate our viewers on the dangers of distracted driving.

What is Distracted Driving? 

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include: 
  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

The best way to end distracted driving is to educate all Americans about the danger it poses. Below you’ll find facts and statistics that are powerfully persuasive. If you don’t already think distracted driving is a safety problem, please take a moment to learn more. As with all of our Safety Tips, please share these facts with others. Together, we can help save lives.

Key Facts and Statistics 

 

  • In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction, and an estimated 448,000 were injured. (NHTSA)
  • 16% of fatal crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA)
  • 20% of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA)
  • In the month of June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the US, up nearly 50% from June 2009. (CTIA)
  • Teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to be involved in a fatal crash where distraction is reported. In 2009, 16% of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were reported to have been distracted. (NHTSA)
  • 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. (Pew)
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Monash University)
  • Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (VTTI)
  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. (VTTI)
  • Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. (VTTI)
  • Using a cell phone while driving – whether it’s hand-held or hands-free delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (University of Utah)
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. (Carnegie Mellon)

 

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