Owatonna Public Utilities has about 16 employees who work on electric, water or natural gas equipment under or above our streets. In addition to the hazards of the work being performed, employees in a work zone may also encounter additional risks, including drivers traveling through the work zone.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 700 workers were killed in work-zone accidents in 2015.  Fortunately, OPU’s field workers have never been struck by a vehicle while in a work zone, although there have been some close calls. Our field workers’ continued safety depends on you! When you see a utility truck on the side of the road, orange cones in the street and the sign, “Utility Work Ahead,” please give them a brake and be extra careful:

  • Slow down
  • Don’t stop to watch the work
  • Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of it

You can keep OPU field workers safe by practicing defensive driving when in a work zone. Please do not allow yourself to become distracted by trying to text, talk, eat, drink or perform other activities while driving. Thank you for your part in keeping OPU workers safe.

The following information provided by Federated Mutual Insurance Company.

2,440,000 people were injured and 35,092 were killed on our nation’s highways.† These are not just numbers, they’re family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers. Hundreds of thousands more suffered injuries or emotional pain following a car crash. And nearly all of these crashes were preventable.

Last year, Federated Insurance rolled out a distracted driving program, Please Make it Home Safe Today, which focused on the dangers of texting and driving. The goal was to help prevent vehicle crashes from taking an immeasurable toll on business owners, their employees, and their families. Federated spread the word to its 30,000+ clients and shared the message locally with fellow businesses, friends, and neighbors through billboards, radio ads, and presentations.

Federated Insurance is committed to safer roads. The Company recently partnered with local NBC television affiliate KARE 11 to sponsor #eyesUP, a cooperative awareness campaign to encourage Minnesotans to put down their cell phones and end distracted driving. The kick-off was televised on April 11and the campaign will continue through September 24. Go to kare11.com/eyesup to watch the live program and to take the pledge to stop driving distracted.

Complementing its distracted driving focus, Federated’s latest campaign, appropriately titled Drive S.A.F.E.,addresses the other behaviors behind a majority of all auto crashes: Speed, Attention, Fatigue, and Emotion.

SPEED Nearly one-third of traffic fatalities occurred in speed related crashes*
ATTENTION Texting while driving is one of the fastest growing driver distractions.  Sending a text while driving requires roughly five seconds.  If you’re driving 55 mph, you just traveled the length of a football field without looking where you’re going.
FATIGUE A National Sleep Foundation poll reveals nearly two-thirds of adult drivers say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy, and more than one-third of those same drivers admitted to actually falling asleep at the wheel*
EMOTION Aggressive driving (a.k.a. road rage) plays a role in more than half of fatal crashes.*

Risky driving habits typically develop over time and can take effort to break. But it can be done. Keeping the S.A.F.E. factors in mind may help drivers avoid the temptation to take risks that put them and others in danger. Federated’s ultimate goal is to help keep you and your loved ones out of harm’s way.

To help spread this important message, Federated developed an accompanying Drive S.A.F.E. video, which is available for you to show family, friends, employees, community organizations, and others interested in ending the distracted driving epidemic on our streets and highways. If you would like a copy of the Drive S.A.F.E video, contact Julie Rethemeier at 507-455-5684.

In the meantime, here are some tips you can use today to help make our roads safer for everyone.

  • Allow enough time to get where you’re going. Not only does it feel good to be early and not rushed, chances of being involved in a crash can be significantly reduced.
  • Commit to paying attention to the task at hand, mentally and physically. Be on the lookout for inattentive drivers and drive defensively.
  • Get enough rest. This helps with mental awareness, which can help you react to hazards that may require split-second maneuvers.
  • Remain in control of your emotions and act responsibly. Put space between you and motorists whose actions aren’t sensible.

Please make it home safe today…and every day.

*Injury Facts, 2016. National Safety Council. Page 117 (124 of 218 PDF).
https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812318 p1 first paragraph

This article is for general information and risk prevention only and should not be considered legal or other expert advice.  The information herein is not intended to identify all risk exposures.  The recommendations herein may help reduce but are not guaranteed to eliminate any or all risk of loss.  Qualified counsel should be sought with questions specific to your circumstances.  © 2017 Federated Mutual Insurance Company.