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  • SpeedingOpen or Close

    Speeding

    Speed is involved in about one out of three fatal crashes, according to NHTSA. It is the third leading contributing factor to traffic crashes. But while injuries and fatalities due to other dangerous behaviors, such as driving while impaired and not wearing seatbelts, have been significantly reduced, speeding is still a challenge.

    NHTSA defines a crash as speeding-related if the driver was charged with a speeding-related offense or if an officer indicated that racing, driving too fast for conditions, or exceeding the posted speed limit contributed to the crash.

    Surveys find that although people name speeding as a threat to their safety when other drivers around them are speeding, the majority say they also speed when driving. There are many reasons why people speed. According to Focus on Safety: A Practical Guide to Automated Traffic Enforcement, drivers speed because:

    • They're in a hurry.
    • They're inattentive to their driving.
    • They don't take traffic laws seriously; they don't think the laws apply to them.
    • They don't view their driving behavior as dangerous.
    • They don't expect to get caught.
    • Some or all of the above.

    Speeding results in:

    • Lives lost – over 13,000 each year.
    • Work zone crashes and fatalities – speed was a factor in 27 percent of fatal crashes in construction and maintenance zones in 2005.
    • Unsafe school zones – compliance with lower speed limits is poor.
    • Economic costs – speed-related crashes cost society over $40 billion annually, according to NHTSA. Every minute "gained" by speeding to a destination costs U.S. society over $76,000.

    Speeding is often one of several risky factors in fatal crashes, because alcohol-impaired drivers are more likely to speed, and speeding drivers are less likely to wear seat belts. Alcohol, lack of seat belts and speeding can add up to a deadly combination.

    Challenges to Change

    Speeding is a habitual driver behavior. Although drivers name speeding as dangerous to their safety, most still speed. Educational campaigns alone have not effectively reduced crashes. Speed management is often not a priority backed by political will. Speed limits that are not set for the road environment and traffic conditions tend to not be respected by drivers. Law enforcement has many competing enforcement challenges. Speed enforcement can be lower priority, and lax enforcement is noticed by drivers and reflected in their behavior.

    Nevertheless, there is evidence of effective strategies to reduce speeding-related crashes, and the above challenges make attention to these strategies important:

    Effective Strategies

    AUTO ENFORCEMENT

    Automated speed enforcement brings reductions in speed and crashes where it is implemented. Additionally, speeds and crashes tend to increase when automated speed enforcement programs are discontinued. This technology has an advantage by providing visible and ongoing enforcement with minimal disruption of traffic flow. In addition, it doesn't have the disadvantages of traditional law enforcement techniques of observation, chase and citation, which can be hazardous and expensive and are not desirable for high-risk areas like work zones. Media and local education campaigns should accompany speed cameras so the public is aware, and sound safety-oriented operational guidelines should be followed. Resources:

    Focus on Safety: A Practical Guide to Automated Traffic Enforcement

    Speed Enforcement Camera Systems - Operational Guidelines

    NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts: Automated Speed Enforcement in School Zones in Portland, Oregon

    NSC Position/Policy Statement on Auto Enforcement

    HIGH-VISIBILITY ENFORCEMENT

    Highly-visible enforcement blitzes accompanied by media campaigns informing the public about enforcement have proven effective at reducing impaired driving and increasing seat belt use. This strategy is also used to enforce speed limits. NHTSA's Speed Campaign Tool Kit provides media materials to enhance an enforcement campaign.

    The Guide for Addressing Aggressive-Driving Collisions suggests that successful anti-aggressive driving programs place an emphasis on enforcing all traffic laws including speeding. This strategy increases respect and the public’s expectation that all laws should be obeyed.

    COMPANY POLICIES & TECHNOLOGY

    According to Countermeasures that Work, company policies backed up with speed monitors and logs or even speed regulators, can reduce commercial vehicle speeding.

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) CMV Driving Tips: Too Fast for Conditions

    ENGINEERING

    Road environment engineering measures can significantly reduce speeds. In particular, traffic calming measures can reduce speeds on local roads, decreasing risk to vehicle occupants as well as pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) provides a Traffic Calming Website with engineering resources:

    ITE Traffic Calming Measures

    ITE Traffic Calming Library

    Provided by The National Safety Council
  • Drive Safety this SummerOpen or Close

    Drive safely this summer

    National Safety Council promotes driving safety this National Safety Month

    As part of National Safety Month, the National Safety Council urges the public to drive safely, without distractions. National Safety Month is an annual observance to educate and encourage safe behaviors around top causes of preventable injuries and deaths.

    Summer is a time when many choose to hit the road and travel to their favorite vacation spots. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most dangerous times of year for driving. Getting to and from destinations safely should be the number one priority.
    Before setting off on summer excursions, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:
    • Make sure your vehicle is up-to-date with maintenance requirements—tire rotations, oil changes, battery checks, etc.
    • Prepare an emergency kit for your car, including water, non-perishable food and a first aid kit
    • Avoid common driving distractions by turning you cell phone off or putting it on silent so you won’t be tempted to check it
    • Bring games for young children to keep them occupied during long car rides
    During National Safety month, the Council is calling on organizations, communities and the public to help share this information and encourage safe behaviors. Posters, tip sheets and crossword puzzles are available for free download at nsc.org/nsm. Additional materials are available for NSC members to promote driving safety.
    NSC thanks Toyota for being a Safety Leader of National Safety Month and the exclusive sponsor of Driving Safety.
    About the National Safety Council
    Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council, nsc.org, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.
    Provided by The National Safety Council
  • Summer Driving Deadliest for TeensOpen or Close

    Summer Driving Deadliest for Teens

    ITASCA, Ill., – For teen drivers busy attending graduation parties and starting their summer vacations, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered “The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer.” Since seven of the top 10 deadliest driving days of the year occur in June, July and August, DriveitHOME, a new program from the National Safety Council, would like to remind parents of ways to stay involved and keep their teen drivers safer.

    Designed by parents for parents, DriveitHOME is a unique program including an interactive website – driveithome.org – featuring engaging videos, free emailed weekly practice tips and other critical resources including a Parent-Teen Agreement and a parent forum. The website uses humor, animation, reality video and other techniques to capture the attention of parents, while educating them on the real dangers facing their teens on the road, such as in this new infographic. It also helps parents provide ongoing education and experience for their recently licensed teens.

    “Parents often think their work is done once their teens get a license,” said Janet Froetscher, NSC president and CEO. “To truly protect their children, parents should continue to coach their teens in the car for at least the first year after their teens get a driver license.”

    Recommendations for parents found at DriveitHOME.org include:

    • Drive at least 30 minutes each week with a newly licensed teen
    • Practice specific skills together and provide teens with feedback in the following critical areas:
      • Scanning the road ahead to recognize and respond to hazards
      • Controlling speed, stopping, turning and following distance
      • Managing the highest risks, such as night driving and with young passengers
    • Sign up to receive weekly practice tips and suggestions via e-mail, and discuss and sign a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement.

    The DriveitHOME show, a 14-city tour sponsored by The Allstate Foundation, has three performances in June: Nashville, Tenn., Rockford, Ill., and Colorado Springs, Colo. Parents are invited to attend DriveitHOME shows, which feature the comedy of Second City Communications along with safety experts. Click here to RSVP for one of the remaining three shows.

    NSC would like to thank all of the funders who have made DriveitHOME possible including, The Allstate Foundation, General Motors Foundation, AT&T and Toyota.

    About the National Safety Council

    Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council, nsc.org, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.

    Provided by The National Safety Council
  • The Great Multitasking LieOpen or Close

    The Great Multitasking Lie

    Distracted driving certainly includes texting, but what many people don’t realize is that a cell phone conversation while driving, regardless of hands-free technology, is also very dangerous. The National Safety Council shares the following infographic with everyone to educate the public on the myth of multitasking, and help prevent the dangers that can occur due to the use of cell phones behind the wheel. Take a look:

    The Great Multitasking Lie infographic
    Provided by The National Safety Council
  • Safety on the RoadOpen or Close

    Safety on the Road

    Driving is a privilege. A driver’s license gives you a certain level of freedom, but it also gives you an enormous amount of responsibility.
    When behind the wheel this responsibility comes in many forms:

    • Wearing safety belt
    • Driving sober
    • Focusing on the road
    • Driving defensively

    The role of NSC is not only to educate drivers of all vehicle types, but to monitor crash trends. When drivers engage in behaviors that increase crash rates and risks, NSC takes action.

    In January 2009, NSC called for a nationwide ban on all cell phone use while driving. This comes after NSC researchers and statisticians reviewed more than 50 peer-reviewed research reports, many drawing the same conclusion.

    Drivers who use their cell phones have a significantly increased chance of getting into a car crash.

    Provided by The National Safety Council
  • What Parents Can Do?Open or Close

    What Parents Can Do?

    Driving is a constant learning process.

    Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens. Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) can keep your teen alive behind the wheel and help your teen develop safe driving habits. With GDL, teens start driving in low-risk situations, then progressively face more difficult situations as they gain experience.

    This is a scary time - you want to protect your teen, but you are beginning to relinquish control. These simple guidelines can help you understand what you can do to keep your teen driver safe, from the basics such as requiring your teen to buckle up, to the more advanced, such as ensuring your teen has the ability to drive well - and safe.

    What can you do to keep your teen driver safe?

    Make sure your teen practices – a lot.

    Inexperience is a leading cause of teen crashes. Make sure your teen has practice behind the wheel – the more practice, the better. Start off driving during the daytime, then gradually add in practice at night and in inclement weather. Learn more about ways you can help your teen driver practice.

    Know the risks your teen faces behind the wheel.

    There are three factors that contribute to teen crash risk:

    1. Inexperience
    2. Teen passengers in the vehicle
    3. Nighttime driving

    Research shows that increasing practice time, limiting the number of passengers in your teen’s vehicle and restricting nighttime driving will all contribute to keeping your teen safe.

    You should also require your teen to wear his or her safety belt while driving, and require that anyone else in the vehicle wear their belts as well. Finally, do not allow your teen to use a cell phone while driving, under any circumstances. Research shows regulating these factors will keep your teen alive and help your teen become a safe driver.

    Set clear, reasonable rules – and stick to them.

    As a parent, you’re used to setting rules and following up with consequences if your expectations aren’t met. But driving is different – the risks of driving are huge, so rules should be very specific.

    That’s why communication is key. Keep an open dialogue with your teen and discuss your rules. Use a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement to outline both of your expectations and set consequences if they aren’t followed.

    Don’t declare victory too early.

    So your teen has been through driver’s education, you have practiced driving with your teen in the vehicle and now he or she wants to get a provisional driver’s license. You might think your work is done – but it isn’t.

    Make sure your teen is ready for the next step, and keep communicating your expectations.

    Remember that teen motor vehicle crashes are deadly.

    More than half of parents know that motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens – yet they talk to their children about the dangers of smoking and drugs at a younger age, according to The Allstate Foundation.

    Act proactively and speak to your teen before a tragedy occurs. Aside from potential financial damage, there are far worse consequences to your teen being involved in a crash. Don't let your child become one of the thousands of people who die in teen driver-related crashes every year.

    And remember - your teen is at risk just like anyone else. Assuming that your child is invincible can be deadly.

    What else can I do?

    DriveitHOME is a new program offering specially-created resources to help parents keep their teens safer on the roads, especially after they receive their driver's licenses. Designed by parents for parents, the unique program includes an interactive website featuing engaging videos and other critical resouces. Parents can sign up to receive weekly practice tips and suggestions via email, and are encouraged to share their own teaching techniques and experiences.

    You can also learn to reinforce your teen's basic driving skills and good decision-making with the Alive at 25® Parent Program Online.The innovative, two-hour online course will help you be more involved in your teen's learning-to-drive process, helping them to become safe, responsible and defensive drivers.

  • Children In And Around VehiclesOpen or Close

    Children In And Around Vehicles

    Motor vehicles are dangerous places for kids, even when vehicles are not on the road. Children are injured or killed in and around vehicles each year. All are preventable. Parents and caregivers should know the risks and safety steps.

    Driveway Backovers

    In 2007, about 2,000 children were injured by vehicles that backed over them and 99 children died, according to NHTSA's Not-in-Traffic Surveillance system. Advocacy groups tracking the issue found similar numbers in previous years. Even with sensory systems such as rearview cameras or beeping object detection devices, researchers found half of drivers still hit objects behind them. Minivans, SUVs and trucks can have the biggest blind zones behind them, with the longest at nearly 70 feet. See how 62 children can fit in a vehicle blind zone.

    Blind zones also exist in front of vehicles where drivers cannot see small children, and injuries and deaths happen from vehicles pulling forward and hitting children too.

    Prevention Tips

    • Walk 360° around your vehicle every time before driving.
    • Make sure children are in the house. Young kids often run outside suddenly and unseen to say "bye bye" to their family.
    • Teach your children to never play in or around vehicles, and to never play or stand in the driveway.
    • Consider installing devices such as rearview cameras and sensors to reduce your blind zone. They are not failsafe, so should not be used as a replacement to the 360° walk around.
    • Be especially vigilant during hectic times, schedule changes, family gatherings and holidays. These busy times are often when overlooked children are injured or killed.

    Hot Car Deaths

    On average, between 31-43 children a year die in hot vehicles. A 2005 study found that over 90 percent of children were forgotten by relatives, most often by parents. It can and does happen to people who think they would never forget their child. Another 18 percent of children crawl into the vehicles themselves.

    Vehicles heat up rapidly to fatal levels. At just 70 degrees outside, a vehicle interior can reach dangerous temperatures in just minutes. Interior temperatures rise more than 40 degrees in an hour, and leaving windows open doesn’t help keep the vehicle cooler. A study in Pediatrics journal shares more information.

    A child’s body temperature rises 3-5 times faster than an adult's. When in hot vehicles, children are at risk of hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is commonly called heatstroke or sunstroke, and can be fatal to children and pets left in vehicles. For children who survive, it can cause permanent brain damage.

    A routine change is a common factor in the situations leading to these deaths. The day is unusual with additional tasks and stresses, and a child is forgotten. A parent or caregiver who doesn't usually drop off a child at daycare must do so, but forgets and drives straight to work, where the child remains in the parking lot. Most at risk are very young children sitting in car seats where they cannot be easily seen, or heard if they fall asleep. A March 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post story, Fatal Distraction, shares how this can happen due to life situations and the human memory.

    Prevention Tips

    • Always place something that you need in the back seat like your handbag, briefcase, or cell phone so you must go to the back seat before walking away from the vehicle.
    • Keep a stuffed animal in the car and when your child is in the back seat, place the animal in the front as a visual cue.
    • Use drive-thru services when available.
    • Encourage your day care provider to establish a call system where your provider will call caregivers if children are not dropped off as expected.
    • Encourage employers to place reminders calling attention to easily-overlooked children in the back seat.

    Power Windows

    Power windows are in most new cars. Younger children do not understand what automatic switches or power windows can do. Children can easily lean out the window and get caught in them if they accidentally activate the switch. Unable to reverse the window, children can be injured or fatally strangled.

    Prevention Tips

    • Have children properly located in car seats so they cannot reach power window switches.
    • Choose a car seat appropriate to your child’s weight, height and age. See our child passenger safety page for information.
    • Do not leave children alone in vehicles, even to run a quick errand. (It is illegal in some states to leave your child alone for more than 10 minutes.)
    • Lock power windows from the driver’s seat so that children cannot get caught and injured in them.

    Trunk Entrapment

    Children sometimes think trunks are fun places to play, but they can get trapped in trunks and be overcome by heat exhaustion before they can call for help. Help may not arrive if children in trunks cannot be heard.

    Prevention Tips

    • Teach children that trunks are only used to store and move items, and are not safe places to play.
    • Make sure that children do not have access to keys and keep your vehicle locked at all times, even in the driveway or garage.
    • Keep rear fold-down seats up and secured in place, to prevent kids from getting into the trunk from the passenger area.
    • Show children how to locate and use the glow-in-the-dark emergency release found in newer vehicles. This feature does not exist in cars made before 2001, but there are inexpensive kits you can buy to retrofit your car.
    • Check trunks first if you can’t find your child. It’s quite possible they have found the perfect hiding place.
  • Seat BeltsOpen or Close

    Seat Belts

    Seat belts save lives. While seat belt use has been increasing and averages 88 percent nationally, there are still groups less likely to wear seat belts: teens, commercial drivers, males in rural areas, pick-up truck drivers, people driving at night, and people who have been drinking. Resources here include data, effective prevention, and links to national and state organizations working on this issue.

    Seat Belts: Your Single Most Effective Safety Step

    Seat belts are the single most effective traffic safety device for preventing death and injury, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of crash injuries by 50 percent. They save lives:

    • Seat belts saved more than 75,000 lives from 2004 to 2008.
    • Forty-two percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2007 were unbelted. A 2009 NHTSA study estimates more than 1,600 lives could be saved and 22,000 injuries prevented if seat belt use was 90 percent in every state.

    The good news is, in 2009, seat belt use averaged 88 percent nationally, compared with 69 percent in 1998. NHTSA attributes this increase to the "Click It or Ticket" campaign, originally created by the National Safety Council as part of its Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign.

    Nationwide, seat belt use is higher than ever. Yet seat belt use remains lowest among young drivers. NHTSA also reports that, in 2007:

    • Seat belt use was lower among blacks than any other race.
    • Seat belt use was higher among females than males.
    • Seat belt use was lower among drivers who drove alone than drivers with passengers.

    State Seat Belt Laws

    Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have mandatory seat belt laws (the exception is New Hampshire). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a state-by-state map of seat belt laws.

    Primary and Secondary Enforcement

    Seat belt use is 13 percent higher in states with primary enforcement (88 percent) than in states with secondary enforcement (75 percent).

    • 31 states plus the District of Columbia have primary enforcement of seat belt laws, meaning police can stop vehicles and write citations for failure to buckle up.
    • 18 states have secondary enforcement, meaning police can issue a seat belt citation only after a vehicle is stopped for another reason.
  • Technology SolutionsOpen or Close

    Technology Solutions

    Influencing people to drive without distractions can be a challenge. Changing the environment instead of ongoing behavior can effectively prevent injury.

    For example, vehicle passengers are protected by many engineering devices that automatically reduce crashes and injury: air bags, crash-absorbing vehicle engineering, vehicle stability control, lane departure warning systems and cables in freeway medians.

    Likewise, a solution to prevent distracted driving is technology that automatically manages calls and texts while people are driving. This technology is ideal for fleet managers and employers who want to monitor and enforce their cell phone policies. It's also a solution for parents of teen drivers, and by drivers who want to reduce their own temptation to use cell phones while driving.

  • Hands-free is not risk-freeOpen or Close

    Hands-free is not risk-free

    ”Hands
    Provided by The National Safety Council