The National Academies

BTSCRP BTS-01 [Active]

Guidance for Employer-Based Behavioral Traffic Safety Programs for Drivers in the Workplace

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Staff Responsibility: Richard Retting
Research Agency: Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Principal Investigator: Eva Shipp
Effective Date: 12/10/2018
Completion Date: 12/31/2021
Comments: Research underway.

Workers may drive motor vehicles as their main jobs or as incidental to their main jobs, but in either case, traffic crashes are the leading cause of workplace fatalities. In 2016, there were 37,461 fatalities on roadways in the United States (NHTSA, February 2018). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of annual workplace fatalities rose for the third consecutive year in 2016. The most common fatal events resulted from work transportation incidents, which represented 40% of workplace fatalities in 2016. On-the-job vehicle crashes have devastating effects on workers and their families, communities, and businesses. In 2013, motor vehicle crashes cost U.S. employers $25 billion—$671,000 per death and $65,000 per nonfatal injury (https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/motor-vehicle-safety.html).
While engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency response efforts have significantly reduced traffic-related fatalities in recent decades, road user behavior remains the most common risk factor associated with traffic crashes. Many organizations implement wellness programs in the workplace to encourage healthy behaviors such as smoking cessation, increased physical activities, healthy eating, and managing chronic conditions in order to improve worker health, lower insurance rates, and employee time off work for sickness and injuries. Some organizations have implemented behavioral change programs aimed specifically at increased employee seatbelt use and other safe driving practices.  Research is needed to assess the success of such programs and determine what elements of these programs, and other behavioral change programs have the greatest likelihood of changing driver behavior and safety culture in the workplace.
The objective of this research is to (1) document the components of existing U.S. and international employer-based behavioral traffic safety programs (e.g., traffic safety citizenship, safety culture and climate, incentives) for workers who operate motor vehicles for any part of their job duties; (2) use behavioral change theory to identify the essential components of the programs; (3) identify and describe measures of program effectiveness; and (4) develop guidance that incorporates the essential components necessary to plan, implement, and evaluate an employer-based behavioral traffic safety program.
The research should address a broad range of issues related to employer-based traffic safety programs, such as, but not limited to, the following:
1. What role does safety citizenship play in successful employer-based traffic safety programs, and what elements of a safety program influence and encourage increased safety citizenship?
2. What are the differences between what is done in the public and private sectors?
3. What components of other employer-based behavioral modification programs (e.g., wellness, smoking cessation, exercise) are transferable to traffic safety behaviors?
4. What types of performance measure data are available for analysis of program effectiveness? Who has access to this data?
5. What are the facilitators and barriers to planning, implementation and evaluation?
6. Does the program have a carryover effect outside the workplace?
7. What are the contextual variables (e.g., leadership, administration, and organizational structure) that should be considered for transferability?
The BTSCRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can be realistically accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposer’s current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective.
A kick-off teleconference of the research team and BTSCRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution. The work plan must be divided into two phases with tasks, with each task described in detail. Phase 1 will consist of information gathering as described in Objective Criteria 1, culminating in the submission of an interim report. The interim report will describe the work completed in Phase 1 and provide an updated work plan for the Phase 2 tasks (Objective Criteria 2, 3, and 4), including an outline of the guidance. There must be a face-to-face meeting scheduled with BTSCRP to discuss the interim report. No work shall be performed on Phase 2 without BTSCRP approval.
The final deliverables will include (1) guidance that incorporates the essential components necessary to plan, implement, and evaluate employer-based behavioral traffic safety programs, including a design and operational matrix to aid in selecting program components; (2) a final report documenting the entire project, incorporating all other specified deliverables of the research; (3) an electronic presentation of the key points of the research that can be tailored for specific audiences; (4) a webinar to inform practitioners of the research results; (5) presentations on the research to the GHSA Executive Board and the GHSA annual meeting; (6) marketing materials to inform practitioners of the guidance; (7) recommendations on needs and priorities for additional research; and (8) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products." Proposers may recommend additional deliverables and presentations to support the project objective.
STATUS: Research underway.

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