Click It or Ticket

This Memorial Day weekend, keep safety the top priority.

To ensure the safety of the motoring public, through May 31 law enforcement will be making a special effort to check motorists for proper seat belt use in support of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2015 Click It or Ticket campaign.

If you have plans to hit the road, buckle up at all times. Wearing a seat belt will not only help you avoid a ticket, it also can save your life – statistics show that properly wearing a seat belt can increase the chance of surviving a crash by more than 50 percent.

If wearing a seat belt isn’t a habit for you, make it one. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day.

May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the National Highway Safety Transportation’s message to all motorists is simple – share the road. Warmer weather entices both car and motorcycle enthusiasts to road trip, and whether on two, four or 18 wheels, we need to remember to follow the same rules of the road.

So as we gear up for our road trips and joy rides, pay special attention. Motorists can easily miscalculate the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle due to its smaller dimensions. To prevent crashes, drivers should check the position of a motorcycle at least two or three times before proceeding through an intersection, changing lanes or making a turn.

Motorcyclists in turn also should practice safety, and the best protection is

preparation. In most states, an important step in the license process includes passing a skills test. Taking a safety course gets you ready to hit the road safely and with confidence.

Wearing the appropriate gear also is a good measure of safety, including a helmet, durable clothing and shoes. Perhaps the best thing motorcyclists can do is always stay visible to other motorists.

So have fun on the road, but remember – we all want to get there safely, so we must do our part to share the road.

New Amenities Available for Professional Drivers

As part of Werner’s growing culture of wellness, the Lakeland, Florida, terminal now features a new fitness room, with equipment to be added soon, as well as a new driver quiet lounge.

Also now open is the new 24 hour, seven day a week fitness facility at the Dallas, Texas, terminal. Add this as a stop to your regular fitness routine, and get a workout in before you hit the road.

Werner Gives Thanks for Drivers

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week provides the perfect opportunity to thank the more than 3 million professional drivers who keep our country’s economy moving.

“We look forward to these opportunities, not just this week but throughout the year, when we can express our gratitude and respect for all of the professional drivers on the road,” said President and COO Derek Leathers. “The importance of what they do can never be emphasized enough.”

All this week, all Werner terminals and the majority of our off-site Dedicated operations will host cookouts featuring complimentary meals, food days, meetings and games.

Drivers will be presented with a Werner-branded gift, as well as other items donated by the company and industry partners.

In addition, our drivers can receive exclusive offers at the Company Store, including 25 percent off of purchases totaling more than $25, and participate in raffles for a chance to win prizes like flat screen TV’s, two NASCAR racing tires, a one-night stay at the Werner Valley Lodge and gift cards.

Gordon Stewart: 2 Million Safe Miles

Easy going and consistent is an apt description of professional driver Gordon Stewart, recipient of the 2 million safe driving miles award at the Dec. 13 Fourth Quarter Recognition Ceremony.

Throughout the years, Stewart’s driving experience has run the gamut of Werner services, including Flatbed, Temperature-Controlled and Vans. He also has driven on a team, as a solo and as a trainer.

“It’s been a fun 22 years,” Stewart said. “Compared to 20 years ago, driving today can be hard, but driving a Werner truck makes the job a whole lot easier.”

His safety advice to other drivers is to slow down and rest.

Stewart, an army veteran, resides in Lemon Grove, Calif., and enjoys spending time on his fishing boat.

Nissen Honored with Humanitarian Award

One never expects an impromptu visit to a friend’s house to turn into a life or death situation, but thankfully Steve Nissen, heavy equipment appraiser, was prepared.

On the evening of Aug. 14 in Weeping Water, Neb., Nissen was visiting his friend and co-worker, Dixie Norris, when she began having speech difficulties and fell convulsing from her chair. While 911 was dialed and a neighbor ran for help, Nissen rolled Norris, who had no pulse and was not breathing, on her back and began chest compressions. Norris soon began breathing and regained consciousness by the time the ambulance arrived.

“I got lucky,” said Nissen, who has had no formal medical training.

Lucky or not, his heroic actions were recognized and honored Sept. 20 with a Humanitarian award.

“It gives me a great, great honor to present somebody who is not only a true friend of ours in our hometown, but someone who if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where I would be today,” said Norris, who presented Nissen the award.

Humanitarian awards honor those who demonstrate lifesaving efforts and selflessly help others in a time of need.

2013 Great American Trucking Show Results

The Werner Enterprises team represented strongly at this year’s Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas, Aug. 22-24. Three Werner drivers were named top 10 finalists in the 2013 Trucking’s Top Rookie competition:

  • Timothy Pye
  • Immanuel Odongkara
  • Michael Bonniwell

Each finalist, selected from a list of 46 nominees, was recognized at an Aug. 23 ceremony and received $1,000 cash and additional prizes.

Werner also had two drivers take home honors in Overdrive’s Pride and Polish Competition. David Green and the Operation Freedom 2 truck received first place in the Working Bobtail – First Show – 2012 and newer class. Tom Pietrzak earned second place in the Working Combo – Company Truck – 2013 or newer class.

Congratulations to all of these professional drivers!

SiriusXM Radio Show

Werner Enterprises hosted a live radio remote at its global headquarters in Omaha, Neb., on Thursday, Aug. 1. The SiriusXM Radio show “Road Dog Trucking News” on channel 128 aired live from the Conestoga building on Werner’s campus. Host Mark Willis discussed industry issues and news with Werner President and COO Derek Leathers. Guest speakers Senior Vice President of Operations Steve Phillips and Vice President of Safety and Compliance Jaime Maus covered the topics of safety, equipment and regulations. Willis highlighted driver recruiting and the Operation Freedom program with Executive Vice President of Driver Resources Bob Synowicki and Associate Director of Government and Field Recruiting Jim Morbach. In addition, Willis talked with professional Werner drivers Charley Endorf, David Conkling and Tom Pietrzak to get their views regarding the rewards and challenges of life on the road.

Drivers and associates in attendance were able to sit in and listen to the live remote. A free lunch was provided along with games, music, giveaways and prizes for the drivers.

We thank all associates who took the time to participate in this great event to make it such a success.

AAA: Hands-Free Devices Don’t Solve Distracted Driving Dangers

By Tanya Snyder

Researchers at the University of Utah and AAA found that using hands-free electronic devices and on-board technology can cause dangerous levels of driver distraction.

Distracted driving killed 3,331 people on American streets in 2011, yet car manufacturers continue to outdo each other to add more infotainment distractions in their vehicles. These systems are expected to increase five-fold by 2018, according to AAA. Carmakers seek to show their commitment to safety by making their distractions –onboard dinner reservation apps and social media, for example –hands-free. But a growing body of research indicates that there is no safe way to combine driving with tasks like dictating email or text messages.

AAA recently teamed up with experts at the University of Utah to conduct the most in-depth analysis to date of the impact of cognitive distractions on drivers’performance. They found that some hands-free technologies, like voice-to-text email, can be far more dangerous than even hand-held phone conversations. Unlike previous studies, they also found that conversations with passengers can be more distracting than those on the phone, but only if the passenger is kept unaware of what’s happening on the road. The researchers had subjects first perform a series of eight tasks, ranging from nothing at all to usage of various electronic devices to something called OSPAN, or operation span, which sets the maximum demand the average adult brain can handle. For the OSPAN, the researchers gave subjects words and math problems to recall later, in the same order, as a way to “anchor the high end of the cognitive distraction scale developed by the research team,” according to AAA’s Jake Nelson.

The subjects then performed these eight tasks while operating a driving simulator, and then while driving on residential streets in an “instrumented” vehicle that captures information about the driver’s eye movements and brain activity. In each environment, researchers studied how the additional tasks added to subjects’ “cognitive workload” and diminished their eye movements. They found that as drivers devote more mental energy to other tasks in addition to driving, the less observant they become, and the more they fail to scan for roadway hazards. This bolsters the conclusions of previous experiments: that when drivers are mentally distracted by some other task, they get tunnel vision. They keep their eyes fixed on the road in front of them to the exclusion of everything else —the rear-view mirror, side mirrors, and “safety critical roadside objects” and “cross traffic threats”—such as pedestrians.

The AAA study also found that greater “cognitive workloads” slow drivers’ reactions to events like a ball rolling in front of the car and a kid running out to catch it. (Reaction times were measured with the simulator, not the instrumented vehicle driving on real streets.)

The researchers conclude that hands-free communications can be significantly more distracting and dangerous for drivers to engage in than passive tasks like listening to music. Some activities, such as listening to the radio or a book on tape, are not very distracting. Other activities, such as conversing with a passenger or talking on a hand-held or hands-free cell phone, are associated with moderate/significant increases in cognitive distraction. Finally, there are in-vehicle activities, such as using a speech-to-text system to send and receive text or e-mail messages, which produced a relatively high level of cognitive distraction. The data suggest that a rush to voice-based interactions in the vehicle may have unintended consequences that adversely affect traffic safety.

The researchers note that of the eight tasks, only one required subjects to take their hands off the wheel (using the handheld phone), and none involved taking their eyes off the road, so the decreased attention and increased reaction times were are all attributable to cognitive distraction –something all the hands-free gizmos in the world can’t fix. Increased use of these distracting technologies contributes to a “looming public safety crisis,” said AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet in a statement. The study authors say they hope their findings will be used to craft “scientifically-based policies on driver distraction,” particularly in relation to cognitive distraction.

AAA’s recommendations include:

  • Limiting the use of voice-activated technology to core driving-related activities such as climate control, windshield wipers and cruise control, and ensuring that these applications do not lead to increased safety risk due to mental distraction while the car is moving.
  • Disabling certain uses of voice-to-text technologies including social media, e-mail and text messaging, so that they are inoperable while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Educating vehicle owners and mobile device users about the responsible use and safety risks of in-vehicle technologies.

Copyright 2017 Werner Enterprises

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