September – Road Safety
Multitasking is a Myth
With advancements in cell phone technology, distracted driving has been an increasing and misunderstood trend. In fact, findings from a recent NSC public opinion poll indicate 80% of drivers across America incorrectly believe that hands-free devices are safer than using a handheld phone.
Even when talking hands-free, drivers can miss seeing up to half of what’s around them because they are engaged in a cell phone conversation.
Drowsy Driving is Impaired Driving
Driving while drowsy is similar to driving under influence of alcohol:
- Drivers’ reaction times, awareness of hazards and ability to sustain attention all worsen the drowsier the driver is
- Driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% – the U.S. legal limit
- You are three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued
A driver might not even know when he or she is fatigued because signs of fatigue are hard to identify. Some people may also experience micro-sleep, a short, involuntary burst of inattention. Micro-sleep of just 4 or 5 seconds can result in a vehicle traveling the length of a football field if the driver is driving at highway speed.
Back to School – Driving Safety Tips
- Be on the lookout for school zone signals and ALWAYS obey the speed limits.
- When entering a school zone, be sure to slow down and obey all traffic laws.
- Always stop for school busses that are loading or unloading children.
- Watch out for school crossing guards and obey their signals.
- Be aware of and watch out for children near schools, bus stops, sidewalks, in the streets, in school parking lots, etc.
- Never pass other vehicles while driving in a school zone.
- Never change lanes while driving in a school zone.
- Avoid using a cell phone, unless it is completely hands-free, while driving in a school zone.
- Unless licensed to do so, never use handicap or emergency vehicle lanes or spaces to drop off or pick up children at school.
In 2017, more than 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes; the three biggest causes of fatalities on the road are alcohol, speeding and distracted driving. Addressing what causes crashes, as well as the role vehicles, drivers, road systems and technology play in creating safer roads is how we will eliminate preventable deaths on the road.
About 4.57 million people were injured seriously enough to require medical attention in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, and costs to society totaled $413.8 billion.