When NWRA’s (National Waste & Recycling Association) National Safety Director Tony Hargis was first appointed, he was vocal about the safety issues facing those within our industry. “As an industry, we need to provide safety material that comes from the subject matter experts, who are really the people who are doing the work in the field,” Hargis said.
Each year, texting while driving is involved in 200,000+ vehicle crashes, often causing injuries and death.
For that reason, we make it a practice to call upon other companies and organizations that can offer their expertise in helping us achieve a higher level of safety. From challenging weather conditions to operating mechanics to the sheer dangers that come with being out on the road, we know that educating ourselves about these issues and seeking out partners and peers that can help us implement safety-enhancing practices is a critical piece of the puzzle.
Recently, we began working with AT&T to highlight their It Can Wait® campaign aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. Launched in 2010, the message of the campaign is simple – keep your eyes on the road and not on your phone.
Each year, texting while driving is involved in 200,000+ vehicle crashes, often causing injuries and death. However, the problem has grown in recent years to include many of the ways that people use their phones behind the wheel – to check emails, to post to their social media accounts, even to shoot videos. The problem is not a small one; 7 in ten people admit to engaging in smartphone activity while driving. AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign aims to educate people about the dangers of this epidemic, reinforcing that no text message, tweet or post is worth a life.
And, not only are companies like AT&T taking action to prevent distracted driving, 46 states have enacted laws that completely ban texting and driving behind the wheel. And those laws are making a difference. In research released this month, AT&T’s Big Data team found that the 4 states without a full statewide ban have a roughly 17 percent higher rate of texting while driving than the 46 states with statewide bans.
Though, for those of us who spend each and every day on the road distracted driving presents an even more enormous risk to our safety. That is why our work with AT&T is of such critical importance. We want our drivers to be safe on the road, as well as the millions of other drivers who share the roads with collection teams around the country to be safe behind the wheel.
So, what can you do now?
First, “take the pledge” to keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone. At www.ItCanWait.com, you can pledge your commitment to staying safe on the road, along with the over 8 million others who have already done so. Word of mouth is critically important to spreading awareness, so after taking the pledge, encourage your family and friends to do the same.
You may also be asking – what is NWRA doing on a broader scale to ensure worker safety when it comes to distracted driving. We’re working with AT&T on how our industry can leverage their successful “It Can Wait” campaign so that we can reduce the impact distracted driving is having on our industry. Additionally, we’re inviting all of you to share your personal stories. If you’ve been personally impacted by distracted driving, we want to hear about it. Moreover, AT&T’s speaker’s bureau connects those with personal stories like yours to events across the country, where you can share your stories and help raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.Lastly, some of you may have seen the It Can Wait simulator – AT&T’s virtual reality tool that allows you to experience the dangers of distracted driving firsthand – at our most recent NWRA conference. We’ll be working with the AT&T team to offer some of the simulators to NWRA team members who may be interested in doing local events in their communities.
As technology continues to evolve and our organization continues to grow, partnerships like the one we have with AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign will only help to make our members safer, which remains one of our highest priority goals. For more information on It Can Wait, and other ways that you can get involved, visit ItCanWait.com.
This blog was originally posted on wasterecycling.org.