Monday, April 15, 2013
Some recent studies on the dangers of distracted driving:
More adults text while driving
Source: USA Today, March 28, 2013
Forget teenagers. Adults are the biggest texting-while-driving problem in the U.S. What's worse — they know it's wrong. Almost half of all adults admit to texting while driving in a survey by AT&T compared with 43% of teenagers. More than 98% of adults — almost all of them — admit they know it's wrong. Six in 10 say they weren't doing it three years ago. This follows an extensive national campaign against distracted driving: 39 states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving for all drivers, and an additional five states prohibit the practice for new drivers, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. The AT&T survey follows a study this month from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found 31% of drivers in the U.S. reported texting or e-mailing while driving. To see the full article, go to: www.usatoday.com/.
Do texting bans really prevent fatal accidents?
Source: The Atlantic Cities, March 27, 2013
The psychological evidence is quite clear: using a cell phone while you're driving is distracting. Conversing with someone on the phone imposes a cognitive strain that makes it harder for the brain to concentrate on other tasks. Hands-free systems keep drivers eyes on the road, but they don't do much to reduce their level of distraction. No matter how you cut it, the case for banning drivers from using mobile phones is a strong one. What's less clear is whether or not these bans actually reduce collisions. Given that mobile technology is fairly new, the question hasn't received much empirical attention. One study to look at texting bans in four states, back in 2010, actually found that crashes increased in those states, compared to neighboring states without the bans — perhaps because drivers tried to hide their phones while texting, making the act even more dangerous. To see the full article, go to: www.theatlanticcities.com/.
Kids one of the worst distractions while driving, study suggests
Source: 680 News (Canada), March 20, 2013
Distracted driving campaigns usually center around eating, texting and talking behind the wheel — but what about your young passengers? An Australian study says children may be taking your eyes off the road the most. Pulling squabbling siblings apart, calming fussy babies and even picking up dropped toys are taking parents' eyes away from the road, the study suggests. According to the study, children are 12 times more distracting to drivers than cellphones, with the average parent taking their eyes off the road for three minutes and 22 seconds during a 16-minute trip. The Canadian Automobile Association said statistics in Ontario show children are four times more distracting than cellphones. To see the full article, go to: www.680news.com/.
(Source for these abstracts: Network of Employers for Traffic Safety newsletter, April 15, 2013)
Friday, April 12, 2013
As part of the Spring StreetSmart campaign, three Safety Zone events were held in Montgomery County to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Events in Montgomery County were held at the following times/locations:
Tuesday, 4/16 from 4:00 to 6:00pm with WIAD 94.7 Fresh FM:
Hillandale Shopping Center at New Hampshire Ave. and Powder Mill Rd., Hillandale, MD
Wednesday, 4/17 from 4:00 to 6:00pm with WPGC 95.5:
Near Starbucks at Market St. and Center Point Way in Kentlands Shopping Center, Gaithersburg, MD
Wednesday, 4/24 from 4:00 to 6:00pm with WLZL 107.9 El Zol:
Wheaton Triangle at Reedie Dr. & Georgia Ave., Wheaton-Glenmont, MD
Pedestrians were reminded to use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal, while divers were reminded to
slow down and watch for pedestrians. Learn more about the Street Smart campaign at http://bit.ly/BeStreetSmart
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Jeff Dunckel (MCDOT) and Captain Thomas Didone (MCPD) address students at Seneca Valley High School about pedestrian safety
The morning of April 11 marked the beginning of a pedestrian safety education and enforcement campaign at Seneca Valley High School in Germantown. The campaign kicked off with a student assembly featuring Seneca Valley High School Principal Marc Cohen, Montgomery County Police Captain Thomas Didone, and Montgomery County Department of Transportation's Pedestrian Safety Coordinator Jeff Dunckel. Mrs. Gwendolyn Ward, mother of Christina Morris-Ward, a 15-year old Seneca Valley student who was tragically killed crossing Germantown Road this past Halloween morning, also spoke to the crowd of more than 1,200 high school students about the potentially life-threatening consequences of not obeying pedestrian safety laws. The assembly also featured a 10-minute Public Safety Announcement produced by students at the high school, which highlighted the importance of being a safe pedestrian and driver.
Over the next week and a half a team of pedestrian safety Champions, comprised of parents and members of the community, as well as representatives from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, will be out on the streets talking to the high school students about crossing safely and handing out reflective materials. The Champions will remind pedestrians to practice the following safe behaviors:
· Cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections
· Look left, right, left, and over their shoulder for turning vehicles when crossing the street
· Begin crossing the street on the "walk" signal
· Stay visible after dark
· Make eye contact with drivers
· Stop texting and talking on the cell and remove earphones
If you would like to partcipate as a Champion in this campaign, please contact Joana Conklin: Joana.Conklin@montgomerycountymd.gov.
Following the education campaign, police will be out on the streets around the high school issuing citations to pedestrians and drivers who do not obey the law. Pedestrians will be fined $50 for crossing outside of a crosswalk if both adjacent intersections have traffic signals, or starting to cross at a signalized intersection if the pedestrian signal is red or flashing red. Drivers will be fined $80 for not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The purpose of the education and enforcement campaign is to inform the students about crossing safely so that future tragedies can be avoided. The campaign will encourage students to BE SAFE, BE SEEN, and BE STREET SMART.
Read aticles on the Seneca Valley HS Pedestrian Safety Campaign:
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Station 22 Distributing Pedestrian Safety Materials to Seneca Valley High School Students
Seneca Valley High School Principal Marc Cohen with Derrick Gilliam (MCPS Security) and pedestrian safety Champions Ellyn Terry and Ruthanne Stoltzfus
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Dramatic Ads Offer Safety Tips, Promote Increased Traffic Safety Vigilance
Like millions of others in the area, most days Stephen Grasty walks several blocks a day–to work, to a Metro stop, to a friend’s house. Though he has had his share of close calls, he has never been hit by a car and he would like to keep in that way. Stephen’s face—symbolically blemished by a tire tread—will soon be appearing in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ new public awareness safety campaign urging drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists to look out for each other.
The Street Smart campaign offers safety tips to prevent pedestrian and bicyclist deaths and injuries in the DC metro area. The campaign began the second week of April in the wake of recent pedestrian crashes that left a 71-yearold woman dead in the 1100 block of Florida Avenue and at least 12 other pedestrians killed in crashes in the Washington metropolitan region in 2013 to date. “Most people do not stop to think how vulnerable pedestrians are on our streets and sidewalks,” said District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray. “But the reality is that we must protect pedestrians from cars and other vehicles, because when they collide with a pedestrian, the pedestrian never wins.”
The “tired faces” visuals call attention to the dangers confronting pedestrians and bicyclists with the larger-than life faces of area residents on ads on buses and in transit shelters in the District, Virginia and Maryland. State and local officials want drivers to actively watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially when turning. They also are reminding bicyclists to ride with traffic and stop at red lights and urging pedestrians to use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal before crossing the street. In 2012, preliminary data indicates there were 3,033 crashes in the DC metropolitan region involving pedestrians and bicyclists, which resulted in 70 fatalities. On average, pedestrians and bicyclists account for 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in the Washington region.
During the Street Smart campaign, which runs through May 13, law enforcement officers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and northern Virginia will be watching for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists who violate traffic safety laws. Drivers and cyclists who fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, as well as pedestrians who jaywalk, can face fines that range from $40 to $500. Drivers also are subject to getting points on their driver records.
Information on the new campaign and the Street Smart public education program may be found at www.bestreetsmart.net.
StreetSmart Press Release in Spanish
Jurisdicational Fact Sheet
StreetSmart Campaign Quick Facts Sheet
New Articles about the StreetSmart Campaign:
NewsChannel 8's "NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt"
WRC-TV (NBC)'s "Viewpoint"
Fairfax Daily Monitor
Washington Post 1
Montgomery County Sentinel
Univision interviewing Montgomery County Pedestrian Safety Coordinator Jeff Dunckel about the new StreetSmart campaign
Monday, April 08, 2013
To see more pedestrian and driver Safety Tips, visit MCDOT's Pedestrian Safety website.
During the months of April and May, the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) will be focusing enforcement efforts on pedestrian safety. MCPD will be conducting a number of operations at locations with marked crosswalks and areas that have been identified as pedestrian High Incidence Areas (HIAs) -- areas with more pedestrian collisions. Police will be issuing citations to both drivers and pedestrians who are breaking the law.
Particular attention will be paid to the following HIAs:
· Connecticut Avenue between Independence Street and Georgia Avenue (Aspen Hill)
· Randolph Road between Selfridge Road and Colie Drive (Wheaton)
· Four Corners (Silver Spring)
· Rockville Pike between Halpine Drive and Hubbard Road (Rockville)
· Piney Branch Road between Flower Avenue and New Hampshire Avenue (Silver Spring)
In addition to these HIAs, MCPD will focus pedestrian enforcement actions on other crosswalk locations around the County where driver compliance with pedestrian safety laws has been an issue, including:
· Veirs Mill Road at Turkey Branch Parkway (Aspen Hill)
· Bel Pre Road between Georgia Avenue and Layhill Road (Aspen Hill)
· Democracy Boulevard between Old Georgetown Road and Bells Mill Road (Bethesda)
· Arlington Road between Elm Street and Old Georgetown Road (Bethesda)
· Muddy Branch Road between Suffield Drive and Diamondback Drive (Gaithersburg)
· Aircraft Drive between Century Boulevard and Germantown Road at the Germantown Transit Center (Germantown)
· Middlebrook Road at Great Seneca Highway (Germantown)
· Lost Knife Road between Odendhal Ave and Contour Rd at the Lake Forest Transit Center (Montgomery Village)
· Wooton Parkway near Wooton High School (Rockville)
· Spring Street at First Avenue (Silver Spring)
· University Boulevard at Reedie Drive (Wheaton - Glenmont)
· Randolph Road at Livingston Street (Wheaton – Glenmont)
· Randolph Road at Bluhill Road (Wheaton – Glenmont)
In Montgomery County, more than 400 pedestrians are struck by vehicles each year. Many of these collisions could be avoided if drivers and pedestrians obeyed the law and were more aware.
The Montgomery County Police Department takes a proactive approach to ensuring the safety of pedestrians. The department’s Traffic Unit routinely conducts pedestrian safety operations throughout the County to enforce traffic laws. The SafeSpeed and red light camera programs serve to improve the safety of pedestrians by slowing down traffic and reducing the number of vehicles running red lights.
Drivers and pedestrians have equal responsibilities in reducing pedestrian-involved collisions. Drivers should take extra caution when approaching crosswalks. Look for pedestrians near the crosswalk and prepare to yield when they enter the crosswalk. When driving in a residential area, or near a school zone, scan ahead for pedestrian traffic, especially for children, who may suddenly run out into the roadway. Extra caution should apply in the evening hours. Pedestrians should always use designated crosswalks when crossing a busy roadway. Assume that drivers can’t see you until you have made eye contact. Once in the crosswalk continue to scan for traffic in each lane of traffic. When in doubt, yield to vehicle traffic -- pedestrians are the ones who are injured in a collision.