Walk This Way

Pedestrian Safety

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2014 a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes on average in U.S. traffic crashes.

While the number of total traffic fatalities has decreased over the last 10 years, the percentage of pedestrian traffic fatalities has increased.  In 2005, Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reported 43,510 total traffic fatalities, 11% (4,892) of which were pedestrian fatalities.  In 2014, FARS reported 32,675 total traffic fatalities, 15% (4,884) of which were pedestrian deaths.

The rise in percentage of pedestrian deaths may be partly due to improvements to vehicle occupant protection and safety features.  While safer vehicles improve a passenger’s survival rate in a crash, a pedestrian still has no defense if struck by a vehicle.

Another pedestrian safety concern: distracted walking.  A Pew Research Center survey found that 53% of adult cellphone owners either had bumped into a person/object while using their phone or had been bumped into by another person distracted by their cellphone.  Distracted walking on or near a roadway can spell disaster.

Important Safety Reminders for Pedestrians:

  • Walk on a sidewalk or path when one is available.
  • If no sidewalk or path is available, walk on the shoulder, facing traffic. Stay alert; don’t be distracted by electronic devices, including smart phones, MP3 players, and other devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
  • Be cautious night and day when sharing the road with vehicles. Never assume a driver sees you (he or she could be distracted, under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or just not see you). Make eye contact with drivers as they approach.
  • Be predictable. Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections when possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians.
  • If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area, wait for a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.
  • Be visible. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flash light at night.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your judgment and coordination.

Source: NHTSA’s Safety Countermeasures Division

Keep Them Safe

Child Passenger Restraints

rear-facing-child-seatJanuary 1st, 2017 ushers in new laws and regulations. In California one new law affecting motorist and parents will require child passengers under the age of two to be secured in rear-facing child safety seats.

Transporting children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, or seat belts is key to keeping kids safe on the road. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), child safety seats lower the risk of fatal injury for infants (under 1 year old) by 71% and by 54% for toddlers (1 to 4 years old) in passenger cars.

NHTSA recommends using a Rear-Facing Car Seat for as long as possible: age 0 to 3 years or once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat. Rear-facing seats are the safest way to transport a child as in a crash the impact force is more evenly distributed along the outer shell of the seat, keeping the child’s neck and spine in line.

Be sure to read the instruction manual for your child safety seat as well as your vehicle owner’s manual on car seat installation. Check height and weight limits of the car seat and never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat or in front of an active airbag.

Parental Influence

2016 Teen Driver Safety Campaign

Speak with your teen about making good driving decisions.

For those of you that have young drivers at home, National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 16 – 22) is a good reminder to sit down with your teen and go over the “5 to Drive” risky driving behaviors to avoid.

  1. NO CELL PHONES: Dialing a phone while driving increases your teen’s risk of crashing by six times, and texting while driving increases the risk by 23 times.
  2. NO EXTRA PASSENGERS: Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teenagers in the car.
  3. NO SPEEDING: In 2014, speeding was a factor for 30% of the teen drivers involved in fatal crashes.
  4. NO ALCOHOL: 20% of 15- to 19-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 had been drinking.
  5. ALWAYS BUCKLE-UP: In 2014, 53% of teens 15-19 years old killed in passenger vehicle crashes were not wearing a seat belt.

Source: NHTSA and safercar.gov

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

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.

Seeing Red

Road Rage: Do You Have It In You?

s1roadrage_web_2Road rage. We all have a little bit in us. No? Remember that time when the vehicle in front of you was driving so obnoxiously slow that if you got out of your car and walked, you’d probably make it to your destination a lot faster? Or how about the driver who continuously slammed on his breaks causing you to do the same, for absolutely no reason at all? Yes, I’m sure you remember moments like this. You may even remember how you felt, the choice of words you used, and the amount of frustration endured. However, some of us choose to take this anger and act upon it in ways that presents not only self-danger, but danger to other motorists on the road as well.

Road rage is defined as aggressive or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other motor vehicle. Such behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately driving in an unsafe or threatening manner, or making threats. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions which result in injuries and even deaths.

So, if you are ever confronted with an aggressive driver, what should you do?

1. Avoid direct eye contact with a driver who appears to be agitated. Many people associate eye contact with a challenge or threat. Even a friendly smile can be misinterpreted as a sarcastic threat.

2. Put Your Pride Aside. Do not challenge them by speeding up or attempting to hold-your-own in your travel lane.

3. Gestures. Ignore gestures and refuse to return them.

4. Report Serious Aggressive Driving. You or a passenger may call the police. But, if you use a cell phone, pull over to a safe location.

Aggressive driving contributes to 56 percent of all fatal car crashes, so next time think twice before you react!

(Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

NHTSA Goes Mobile

How Safe Is The SaferCar App For Your Mobile Device?

safercar-app

Most car shoppers would say that safety is at the top of their list when purchasing a vehicle for themselves, or perhaps even for a new driver in the family. However, with so many different types of vehicles manufactured and new safety features constantly being invented, you almost have to do an extensive investigative search on the vehicle you’re buying just to make sure it’s the right one. Aware of this, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the SaferCar app for mobile iOS devices, such as iPhones and iPod Touches. This real-time app allows anyone who downloads the feature access to crash test ratings, recalls and reviews (good and bad) on particular vehicles, the option to file a vehicle safety complaint, as well as the ability to search 5-Star Ratings for vehicles by make and model. It can also be used to scan a vehicle’s VIN, which can alert you to news and recall notices. In addition, for those new parents or babysitters out there, the app can also help with the proper installation of child safety seats by directing users to the nearest fire or police station and other entities that can assist. Not only does this smartphone app makes sense because we live in such a technologically driven society where most of our noses are spent buried in our phones, but it also provides important and vital information right at your fingertips, not to mention…it’s free! “This app takes advantage of the latest technology to ensure that consumers have the real-time information they need to buy safe, drive safe and stay safe,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Although the SaferCar app is only compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch devices, development is also underway for a version compatible with Android devices. “Safety is our highest priority, and we’re always working to find new and better ways for people to access SaferCar, one of the most popular programs on our website,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He went on to say, “This app takes advantage of the latest technology to ensure that consumers have the real-time information they need to buy safe, drive safe and stay safe.”

The launch of the NHTSA app is part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make it easier for consumers to access and submit information about important vehicle safety concerns. According to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, “Timely, accurate, and accessible safety data is the lifeblood of our agency’s work. The new SaferCar app literally puts the latest in vehicle safety information directly in the hands of consumers so they can make the appropriate purchasing and other decisions for themselves and their families.”

So just how safe is the new SaferCar App for your mobile device? Extremely! Easy access data and all that you need to know from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding your vehicle is available to you anytime of the day, anywhere, and always at your leisure.