What does the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration think are the most important ways to reduce the number of accidents on the roads?
Gary Jaffarian reviews the national organization’s campaigns to reduce traffic accidents and improve highway safety. This week’s blog summarizes the top 10 list..
The NHTSA’s vision is to be the “Global leader in motor vehicle and highway safety.” They base their campaigns on research and statistics and are the experts in collecting national data on accidents and fatalities and looking at the causes to come up with their driver safety campaigns. Below is a list of their 10 campaigns to make the roads safer and to reduce accidents and fatalities:
1. “Distracted Driving Kills: You’ve got one job: driving safely.” Start thinking of driving as being a machine operator and your machine weighs 4,000 pounds. If you weren’t paying attention while operating the machine, what would happen? You’d have an accident, possibly get killed—or at the very least, you’d be fired. “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” The NHTSA featured this campaign starting this weekend.
“If you’re driving down the highway, do you think there is ever a circumstance when it’s safe or smart to close your eyes for five seconds?” the NHTSA asks. “Of course you don’t. Keeping your eyes on the road is one of the first things we all learn about safe driving. So why would anyone ever think it is okay to text when behind the wheel, or do anything else that takes your attention from driving?
It takes about five seconds, on average, to read or send a text. Not a lot of time. But, in that span of time, with your eyes on your phone and not on the road, a vehicle travelling 55 miles per hour can travel the length of a football field. In that instant, over that distance, a life can be taken—maybe even yours. Distracted driving killed 3,477 people on America’s roads in 2015.
During April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, NHTSA is partnering with our friends in state and local law enforcement and with advocates across the country to remind everyone about the dangers of distracted driving.”
2. “Last call 360” and “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” campaigns focus on drunk and buzzed driving. Have you ever heard a friend say, “I’m only a little buzzed!” Then as a friend or relative, it your responsibility to make sure that person does not drive home. Take them home, drive their car or call a cab or Uber. Don’t let that person drive home. I cover that topic on a regular basis. Especially at the holidays and on weekends, people tend to drink too much. Summertime is worse than winter—people want to go out and party and then go home. Remember your options: stay overnight, have someone else drive you, call a friend, cab or Uber—just don’t drink and drive. You risk losing your license and high fines. Drunk driving is still the NHTSA’s #1 priority. Don’t use Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Super Bowl Sunday and other holidays and celebrations as a reason to drink and drive.
3. Decrease in speeding, means a decrease in fatalities and “Slow Down and Save Lives.” Drive the speed limit. There’s a reason the speed limits are set as they are reflecting type of road and traffic patterns.
4. “Click It or Ticket”–Wear your seatbelts. The states with the highest seatbelt use have the lowest fatality rates. In 95% of all accidents, those who wear seatbelts are better off than those who didn’t.
5. Make certain your vehicle is safe—that means good brakes and tires. For a good check-up on your vehicle, visit the Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Service Department. We service all makes and models. We invest in the latest in technology and our service technicians review your vehicle and email or text you a video as he/she reviews your vehicle highlighting the status of your brakes, tires and identifying any items to make you aware of while your vehicle is in for service. Seeing is believing!.
6. Check for recalls. That also means if you get a recall notice, you take care of the issue. The NHTSA at www.nhtsa.gov has a place on their website to enter your VIN (vehicle ID number) to see if there have been any recalls. That is especially important if you purchased a used vehicle from another person or small dealership
7. Drowsy driving kills. It claimed 846 lives in 2014. NHTSA is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes for Health to expand their understanding of drowsy driving so they can reduce related deaths and injuries and help people avoid being a drowsy-driving statistic. Driving drowsy presents the same risks as driving drunk.
8. Protecting children—The NHTSA has established at least four ways in which to protect children (and in some cases adults as bicyclists and pedestrians). First, young children, toddlers and infants must be in the rear seat in an appropriate car seat for their age. (Also, check on car seat recalls.) If you are not sure if your child is in the correct car seat, please check with your local hospital, pediatric office or police station to be certain you meet the child cars seat laws. Also, when driving on main streets or back roads, watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists. That’s why it is so important, even if you’re driving 25 m.p.h. on a back road not to text.
Every 10 days, vehicular heatstroke kills a child in the United States. Every 10 days, a parent loses a child to a preventable death. Since 1998, there have been 684 deaths, 23 of which happened this past year. Never, ever leave a small child alone in the car, not even for a minute. This is especially important in hot weather and applies to pets as well. A closed-up car is often more than 100 degrees. Police will issue fines and charges for leaving a child in a car under child endangerment laws and animal cruelty laws.
9. “Safe cars save lives”—The NHTSA and IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) are responsible for the most objective crash test results. They both rate vehicles from 1-5 stars. See how your vehicle rates for safety on their website.
10. Move over for emergency vehicles and tow trucks. “All 50 States have ‘Move Over’ laws to protect law enforcement officers and other first responders stopped on our nation’s roads. Yet only 71% of the public are aware of these laws, and traffic-related incidents continue to be the number one cause of death among on-duty law enforcement officers. Together with our law enforcement partners and State Highway Safety Offices, NHTSA is working to increase awareness of these life-saving ‘Move Over’ laws and highlight the need to protect public safety professionals who place themselves at risk to protect motorists.” When you see a tow truck or emergency vehicle in the break-down lane, move over to the middle lane.
If it were a perfect world and everyone abided by these campaigns—there would be almost no more traffic fatalities. Please take your driving responsibility seriously. Unfortunately, it is too easy to take driving for granted—it becomes second nature to us—like washing our hands or brushing your teeth. But it comes with a high degree of responsibility. It is a life or death responsibility.
Drive safely while enjoying the nice spring weather—and watch for those runners, walkers and bicyclists.