2023 November Newsletter: Serve Two Slices of Safety at Your Thanksgiving Feast

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This is an illustration of a busy street in Austin during the nighttime hours.

Safety First, Turkeys Later

Providing education on the risks of alcohol-impaired driving is not always on top of employer to-do lists. Many organizations have policies that ban the use of alcohol and other drugs, including cannabis, and procedures to test employees, particularly those who are federally regulated.

So, why place an extra emphasis on alcohol-impaired driving now? Last year, 1,163 people were killed in crashes in Texas where a driver was under the influence of alcohol, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. That’s nearly 26% of all crash fatalities across the state.

How many were coworkers, friends, relatives or neighbors? How many would be alive today if someone had reached out through a workplace safety initiative? We know what’s learned at work often is carried home.

We also know alcohol-impaired driving incidents tend to spike on weekends and during the holidays. So, here five ways you can influence driver behavior and keep your employees and their family members safe as we approach the long Thanksgiving weekend, one of the busiest travel times of the year:

Thanksgiving is a time for food, family, football and fun, right? Bring safety to the table in the days leading up to the holiday, and help your team prepare for a celebration.

A man is pictured here buckled up in the back seat of a ride-share service vehicle.
Seat belts are the first line of defense in a crash incident.

Give Thanks, Buckle Up

Here are myths about riding in the back seat often shared by adults:

  • The back seat is safer than the front, so using a seat belt is unnecessary
  • They forget to fasten the seat belt in back or are not in the habit of buckling up in the back
  • The seat belt in back fits poorly
  • They can’t find the belt or the buckle, so buckling up in back is difficult

Unbelted riders in the back put themselves and everyone else in the vehicle at risk. They can become flying projectiles in the event of a crash. Buckling up prevents drivers and passengers from being ejected. Seat belts are the first line of defense against aggressive, distracted and impaired drivers. In fact, seat belts save thousands of lives every year.

Share this information as millions will be traveling for Thanksgiving. Some will use ride-share services to get to and from the airport. A simple reminder from you to buckle up in the back seat is a great way to show how much you care for the wellbeing of coworkers, friends and relatives.

Use these free resources to spread the word about seat belt safety:

Traveling at 30-mph, an adult passenger riding in the back seat without his seat belt fastened is thrown forward with a force of 3½ tons during a hard crash. That’s roughly the weight of an elephant charging straight through the driver and/or others seated up front.

That’s a good reason to share another reminder: Buckle up – every time, every seat.

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This survey is part of a program evaluation being conducted by a group of master’s students taking a program evaluation course in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. The students are being supervised by their Professor, Dr. Patricia A. Cody. If you have any questions about this program evaluation or about this survey, please reach out to her at [email protected].

This survey will take about 15 minutes to complete and will help the National Safety Council better achieve its goal of enhancing driver and transportation safety training and improving traffic safety around the country. 

By starting this survey, you are confirming that you are at least 18 years of age and are consenting to participate. Survey responses are anonymous, and all data will be reported in aggregate.