US Rail Safety Week

September 24 – 30, 2017

The fourth week of September marks the first national Rail Safety Week. The U.S. Department of Transportation and other associations aim to educate the public and remind us that railroads are dangerous. Did you know railways and rail yards are private property? Each year, around 1,000 people are killed or injured trespassing on or near railroads.

Some things to keep in mind next time you encounter train tracks:

Never cross tracks anywhere other than a public crossing and even then, only cross when it is safe to do so.

In an average year, there are approximately 2,500 collisions between trains and motor vehicles, resulting in roughly 250 people killed and 1,000 more injured.

Never try to beat a train or try to go around or under closed crossing gates.

A typical train takes over a mile to come to a complete stop and the majority of vehicle-train crashes occur when the train is traveling at speeds between 40-49 mph.

Vehicular Heatstroke

On average in the United States, 37 children die from heatstroke each year as a result of being left in a vehicle. Between 1990 and 2016 there have been a total of 793 vehicular heatstroke deaths. Over half (55%) are a result of being left behind unknowingly by a parent or caregiver. Another 28% occurred due to a child getting into the vehicle on their own.

According to KidsAndCars.org, 27 children have died in hot cars so far this year. The KidsAndCars.org safety campaign, “Look Before You Lock,” provides parents and caregivers an important safety checklist aimed at preventing heatstroke tragedies.

Avoid leaving your child alone in the car:

  • Get in the habit of always opening the back door and checking the back seat before leaving your vehicle.
  • Put something you will need, like a purse or a cell phone, in the back seat so you will have to open the back door to get it once you are parked.
  • Keep a stuffed animal in baby’s car seat. Each time your child is in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front seat as a reminder that baby is in the car.
  • Ask your child care provider to call if you have not dropped your child off as usual.

Make sure your child can’t get into your car:

  • Keep your vehicle locked at all times, even in your garage or driveway.
  • Keep your keys and clickers in a safe place out of your child’s reach.
  • If your child goes missing, check inside your vehicle and trunk right away.

Thanksgiving 2016

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Quick Tips for Holiday Travels

AAA estimates there will be 48.7 million travelers this Thanksgiving holiday weekend starting today, November 23, 2016 through Sunday, November 27, 2016. For those of you traveling on highways and byways, here are a few helpful safety reminders.

Before you leave:

  • Check your tires are properly inflated and that your tire tread is healthy (no bald spots).
  • Be sure to pack an emergency kit: a flashlight, blankets, jumper cables, a first aid kit, drinking water, non-perishable snacks, and a cell phone.
  • Buckle up. Make sure you and all your passengers are properly secured in an approved and appropriate seat belt and/or child passenger restraint system.

On the road:

  • Obey the posted limit signs. Speed limits are set for your safety. Also, you’ll save a little money with better gas mileage.
  • Avoid unnecessary lane changes. Remember, frequently changing lanes to pass other vehicles increases your risk of having a collision. If you do pass, remember to pass on the left and look for the other vehicle’s headlights in your rearview mirror before you return to your lane. For large trucks you want to see the cab of the truck in your rearview mirror before going back into the lane.
  • No drinking and driving. If you have been drinking alcohol, don’t drive. If you plan on drinking, set up a designated driver before you start.

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

Seat Belts in America

How Do You Rate?

Seat belt use in the United States has been steadily rising since 2000. There has also been a consistent decrease in unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities in the daytime.

The overall National average seat-belt use in 2015 was 88.5%. The Western States have the highest average with 95.0% and the Midwest has a ways to go coming in at 81.7%.

As you can image, States that have Primary Seat Belt laws (an officer can ticket you for the sole reason you are not wearing a seat-belt) have a higher rate of seat belt use as compared to States that have secondary enforcement laws (requires an officer to pull you over for another reason before you can receive a citation for not using your seat belt.)

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Report No. DOT HS 812 243

National Work Zone Awareness 2016

April 11-15, 2016: Respect the Orange

The week of April 11-15, 2016, the Federal Highway Administration encourages, “Don’t Be THAT Driver!” This year’s National Work Zone Awareness theme focuses on a current road safety topic: distracted driving. Construction zones are dangerous enough without mixing in the added hazard of driving distractions. With so much confusion going on in a work zone, taking your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and/or mind off of driving, even for a second, can lead to an unfortunate crash. Besides being aware of in-vehicle distractions also avoid the temptation to try and see what the road workers are doing. Remember to slow down to a safe speed, drive more cautiously and focus on the task at hand.

Hands-Free Is Not Worry-Free

Mental Distractions

A new study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Measuring Cognitive Distraction in the Automobile III: A Comparison of Ten 2015 In-Vehicle Information Systems (October 2015), examined the effect of several different In-Vehicle Information Systems on mental performance while driving. Participants of the study were asked to complete voice initiated tasks such as dialing a phone number, placing a call to a contact or making a song selection.

One finding to note, it took up to 27 seconds for the driver to return their full attention back to driving after completing a task. The driver’s hands were on the wheel and eyes were on the road, but for 27 seconds their mind was not on driving. Driving needs your complete attention and involves continuous and complex coordination between your mind and body.

The study also revealed that practice does not may perfect. Participants kept a vehicle for five days to familiarize themselves with the technology. Even after a week of practice, activities required about the same amount of mental concentration as when it was first attempted.

No matter what potential distractions await you while on the road, it is up to you, the driver, to always focus on your driving.

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Renewed Life

Used Motor Oil Recycling

Did you know motor oil doesn’t wear out? It just gets dirty. Which means it can be recycled and reused in several ways. All over the U.S. there are used oil collection locations available. These organizations allow the average Joe to dispose of old motor oil, which in turn keeps that oil out of our ground water and waterways. Next time you change the oil in your car, or even your lawnmower, collect the dingy oil in a metal or plastic container to be recycled. These collection centers should also accept old oil filters and bottles. To find a collection center near you, visit http://search.earth911.com/american-petroleum-institute.php.

Another quick tip to keep oil out of our water is don’t try to hose down spilled oil. Rather use absorbent towels to wipe up the mess.

To-and-Fro: Stay Safe as You Go

School Bus Passenger Tips

School is starting all across the country. Now is a good time to teach, or remind, your little ones about school bus safety.

  1. When waiting at the bus stop, stay on the sidewalk, away from the road. Pay attention to what is going on around you. Don’t get distracted by playing with your friends.
  2. When getting on the bus, find a seat promptly and sit down facing the front of the bus. Sit still and talk quietly with your neighbor. Don’t distract the bus driver with a lot of ruckus. Let them do their job safely driving you to school.
  3. When exiting the bus, be aware of passing cars. Put distance between you and the bus so the bus driver will be able to see you. Stay away from the wheels of the bus and remember to cross in front of the bus, not behind it.

Anytime, Anywhere

Remember Your Seat Belt

Click It Or Ticket DAY & NIGHTMonday, May 18, 2015 designates the beginning of a two week National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization. Law enforcement officers will be looking for motorist not wearing their seat belts in the annual Click It or Ticket campaign. Always wearing your seat belt is not only a good idea, but is required by law. This year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is putting the spotlight on night driving as a large percentage of fatalities occur between 6 p.m. – 5:59 a.m. that involve failure to buckle in.

So always, always, always wear your seat belt. It doesn’t matter…

  • What type of vehicle: Whether it’s a compact car or a pickup truck, put on your seat belt!
  • Where you are sitting: Front seat or back seat, always buckle up!
  • Where you are driving: In the city or the country, safety belts are a must!

To learn more, visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.

Danger Zone

Road Work and You

Today marks the close of 2015 National Work Zone Awareness Week which advised drivers to “Expect the Unexpected”. Road worker safety is always good to have in the forefront of your mind, especially in the coming summer months as road construction will undoubtedly increase. The main thing to remember when you see orange (signs, cones, and vests) along the road is slow down and drive more cautiously. Keep your focus on navigating through the changing lanes, speeds and road conditions. The smallest distraction could be disastrous. Obey the posted construction signs and workers giving you instructions. And if safety for all is not a good enough motivator, remember almost all states have larger fines for speeding and other traffic infractions in a construction zone.