Utilities promote awareness of dangers of texting and driving to employees
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 9, 2013) — Louisville Gas & Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities Co. received the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Outstanding Service Award for efforts to instill awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. The award was presented before the University of Louisville vs. Eastern Kentucky University football game on Saturday, Sept. 7.
Recognizing the rising trend in injuries and fatalities on the roadways because of distracted driving habits, such as texting while driving, LG&E and KU, both owned by PPL Corp., developed a strategic safe-driving plan for employees and took proactive measures to train the workforce on driving methods that will prevent accidents and injuries.
The utilities partnered with the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) to have the agency’s Distracted Driving (D2) simulator at 11 LG&E and KU facilities, where more than 260 employees trained on it over the past two years. In addition, more than 500 employees were instructed on driving attitude, defensive driving and distracted-driving hazards, including eating and drinking, applying makeup, listening to music, reading, texting, using a phone, talking to passengers, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic and drowsiness. LG&E and KU employees operate a fleet of about 1,600 vehicles and equipment units, driving nearly 13 million miles each year to provide safe, reliable service to customers.
“LG&E and KU recognized the critical need to protect the safety of employees and the general public on the roadways and committed the necessary time and resources to address that need,” said KOHS Director Bill Bell, who presented the award on behalf of NHTSA. “This award is our small way of recognizing the passion of LG&E and KU for saving lives on Kentucky roadways.”
Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, according to the NHTSA. At 55 mph, that is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field – blindfolded.
“It’s an honor to receive this award because the safety of our employees and the general public is a priority for LG&E and KU,” said Ken Sheridan, director, Operations and Security. “We have to credit our employees with this success, though. LG&E and KU have provided training and other educational opportunities to caution them about distracted-driving hazards. However, their deep-rooted commitment to safety in general is what truly makes a difference on the road.”