Monday, Oct. 4

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[OCT. 4, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois Transportation Secretary Timothy W. Martin is urging the department's employees and employers throughout the state to emphasize safe driving techniques during "Drive Safely to Work Week," Oct. 4-8. The Illinois Department of Transportation will be passing out palm cards with driving tips, as well as other traffic safety materials, at locations throughout the state to remind motorists that when they're behind the wheel, their No. 1 focus should be driving safely.

"When we get into our cars and head to work or head home, we often lose focus on our driving, we talk on our cell phones, mess with the radio, apply makeup, or even jot down notes to ourselves," Martin said. "We all do it, we've all seen others do it, but this is absolutely not the time to be distracted doing other things. During rush hours, we need to focus our attention on driving, more so than any other time of the day."

Drive Safely to Work Week is a national campaign sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety and designed to help employers emphasize the importance of driving safely both on and off the job. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death and injury in the nation's work force, with an average crash costing an employer approximately $16,500. Last year, 43,220 people were killed in traffic crashes and approximately 3 million were injured, at a cost to employers estimated at $60 billion.

Illinois averaged 1,198 traffic crashes per day in 2003, down slightly from the previous year's 1,203. Tuesdays and Fridays were the two days of the week that had the greatest number of crashes during 2003; in total there were 64,401 crashes on Tuesday and 73,678 crashes on Fridays throughout the year.

 

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"The time an employee spends in his or her car is the most dangerous part of their day, and much of that danger could be eliminated by improving our driving habits," Martin said. "Human error is a factor in 90 percent of crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration."

The theme for this year's Drive Safely to Work Week is "Safe drivers make good company." Some safe driving behaviors to be stressed include:

  • Add another second. Keep a safe following distance.
  • Steer clear of trouble. Expect bad decisions by other drivers.
  • Use good judgment. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
  • Look ahead. Be alert to changing traffic conditions.
  • Stay alert and focused. No one is crash-proof.

Employers interested in getting more information about Drive Safely to Work Week are encouraged to go to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety website, www.trafficsafety.org.

[Illinois Department of Transportation news release]

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