Prom and Graduation: Safe Driving

Prom and graduation season is exciting, but unfortunately, the months of April, May, and June are also the most dangerous times for high school students. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. One out of three teen crashes is alcohol related and distracted driving results in thousands of deaths.

To help reduce teen deaths and injuries and encourage safe driving, each spring, Elk & Elk sponsors None 4 Under 21 and Choices Beyond. This community-based event encourages high school students to make safe driving choices and demonstrates the serious consequences of drunk and distracted driving.

While drunk driving is a serious problem, distracted driving has emerged as a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. That’s why we feel it is important to go beyond the message of drinking and driving and talk about the message of distractions.

Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract them from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing. Distractions include, talking or texting on a cell phone, grooming, eating or drinking, changing radio stations, or talking to passengers.

Distracted Driving: Alarming Teen Statistics

  • In 2013, 3,154 people were killed, and an estimated 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • A recent analysis of crash videos revealed distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times higher than previous official estimates.
  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds—the equivalent of driving blind at 55-mph for the length of an entire football field.
  • If you text and drive, you’re 23 times more likely to be in a car accident.

Take the Pledgeth-pledge

We know talking to young adults about drunk and distracted driving can be difficult. To help start the conversation, we encourage you to join Elk & Elk’s effort to promote safe driving by downloading our free Parent-Teen Pledge. It is designed to help families set ground rules for both teen drivers and adults. After you sign it, hang the Pledge by the car keys or near the front door as a reminder to drive responsibly. Don’t just sign the Pledge, take it to heart. It just might save a life.

 

Sources:

AAA: Distracted driving a huge factor in teen driver crashes” by Wyatt Andrews, CBS News, March 25, 2015

Labor Day Safe Driving Tips

National Safety Council estimates nearly 400 fatalities in car crashes during Labor Day weekend.For many people, Labor Day means a road trip to celebrate the final days of warm weather with family and friends. AAA predicts more than 1.4 million Ohioans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the holiday weekend, with national estimates just under 35 million.

Unfortunately, the busy holiday traffic also means an increase in motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Safety Council (NCS), about 395 people will be killed and another 42,300 will be injured in car crashes during Labor Day weekend. Of those, NCS estimates 144 lives could be saved if all drivers and their passengers wear seat belts.

Don’t be a statistic

“Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer activities – it should be a time of celebration,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman president and CEO of NSC. “Unfortunately this weekend will be a time of tragedy for hundreds of families that experience a preventable fatality on our roadways.”

  • Don’t drink and drive. Designate a non-drinking driver or plan for alternative transportation, such as a taxi
  • Turn it off. All drivers should refrain from using cell phones – handheld or hands-free – because there is no safe way to use a cell phone while driving
  • Eyes on the road. Do not manipulate in-vehicle infotainment systems or electronic devices, including GPS systems, while the vehicle is in motion
  • Buckle up. Make sure all passengers use their safety belts and children are in safety seats appropriate for their age and size
  • Take your time. Allow plenty of travel time to avoid frustration and diminish the impulse to speed
  • Use your head. Drive defensively, check your blind spots and exercise caution, especially during inclement weather

From all of us at Elk & Elk,

Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

 

 

Source:

National Safety Council estimates nearly 400 fatalities in car crashes during Labor Day weekend” August 25, 2014 | nsc.org

NTSB Most Wanted List 2014

Are you one of this country’s ‘Most Wanted?’ If you’ve been using your cell phone or other portable electronic device while driving, then you’ve been engaging in distracted driving—one of the top priorities for the national Transportation Safety Board.

Each year, the NTSB releases its Most Wanted List, which represents their advocacy priorities. It is designed to highlight the most critical changes needed to reduce transportation accidents and save lives. This year, the agency is pursuing a number of goals, including the elimination of distractions in all modes of transportation—highway, aviation, railroad, marine, and even pipelines.

While this may seem like a daunting task, you can do your part by making the commitment to drive phone-free and encouraging your friends and family to do the same. Check out our infographic to learn more.

Distracted Driving Infographic

 According to the NTSB website, cell phones and other electronics are a “cultural epidemic.”

“With the expansive increase in portable electronic devices (PEDs), including cell phones, messaging and navigation systems, and entertainment devices, as well as the growing development of integrated technologies in vehicles, the NTSB is seeing a disturbing growth in the number of accidents due to distracted operators; often these accidents have deadly consequences. . . In short, operator distraction due to PED usage is a cultural epidemic that too often has tragic consequences.”

The complete NTSB Most Wanted List includes the following goals:

  • Address Unique Characteristics of Helicopter Operations
  • Advance Passenger Vessel Safety
  • Eliminate Distraction in Transportation
  • Eliminate Substance-Impaired Driving
  • Enhance Pipeline Safety
  • Improve Fire Safety in Transportation
  • General Aviation: Identify and Communicate Hazardous Weather
  • Implement Positive Train Control Systems
  • Promote Operational Safety in Rail Mass Transit
  • Strengthen Occupant Protection in Transportation

 

 

 

 

Distracted Driving Puts Pedestrians, Cyclists at Risk

A distracted driver hitting another motorist seems to be in the news daily. However, it’s not just drivers and occupants of vehicles who are in danger. A new report reveals that the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed by distracted driving has risen dramatically.

From 2005 to 2010, the number of pedestrians struck and killed by distracted drivers in the United States went up nearly 50 percent, from 344 to 500. For cyclists, the numbers of those killed rose from 56 to 73 – a 30 percent increase.

cross walk

Sadly, statistics related to distracted driving may actually be underreported since it is difficult for law enforcement to prove. Although safety features in cars are helping to reduce the number of motorist deaths, bicyclists and pedestrians remain vulnerable. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrians were one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the United States in 2011, totaling 4,432 deaths.

‘Tis the Season

While we should always focus on our driving and refrain from texting or other distracting behaviors, the holidays pose a special risk. This time of year brings an influx of drivers and pedestrians to many areas as we all rush around, buying gifts and preparing for parties. The attorneys at Elk & Elk remind you that one text or call could wreck it all. Please commit to distraction-free driving.

Ways to keep pedestrians safe

On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes. To raise awareness, the NHTSA has launched a new campaign entitled Everyone is a Pedestrian.

Drivers can…

  • Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk where pedestrians are likely to be.
  • Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to the pedestrians, too.
  • Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path.

Pedestrians can…

  • Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road, cross at crosswalks or intersections, and obey signs and signals.
  • Walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
  • Pay attention to the traffic moving around you. This is not the time to be texting or talking on a cell phone.
  • Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.
  • Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night.
  • Look left-right-left before crossing a street.

 

Source:  Fatalities of Pedestrians, Bicycle Riders, and Motorists Due to Distracted Driving Motor Vehicle Crashes in the U.S., 2005–2010” by Jim P. Stimpson, PhD; Fernando A. Wilson, PhD; and Robert L. Muelleman, MD; Public Health Reports, University of Nebraska Medical Center, November-December 2013.

5 to Drive: National Teen Driver Safety Week

October 20-26, 2013 is National Teen Driver Safety Week. To mark the occasion, Elk & Elk is issuing a special challenge this week to the parents of all teen drivers with a special “5 to Drive” campaign encouraging parents to always set the rules before their teens hit the road.

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens in America. More than 2000 teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes in 2011 – with almost half of those teen drivers being killed in those crashes.

Even more alarming, there was a 20-percent jump in teen driver fatalities in just the first six months of 2013.

Five ways to a safer teen.That’s why Elk & Elk is joining with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other highway safety partners across the country to encourage parents to get the facts and to start the conversations—during National Teen Driver Safety Week and every week—to help keep their teens safe behind the wheel.

Parents have spent their entire lives trying to protect their kids, but then they hand their teens the keys to a 2-ton machine, and expect them to know what to do. We want to remind parents that they still have a lot to teach their teen drivers, and they should talk it out and always set the rules before their teens hit the road.

Each day during National Teen Driver Safety Week parents are encouraged to visit www.safercar.gov/parents for more information and key reminders about the “5 to Drive” – five specific rules designed to help save the lives of more teenage drivers and soon-to-be teen drivers.

The “5 to Drive” reminders that parents are encouraged to regularly share with their teens include:

  1. No Cell Phones While DrivingTeens texting or dialing while driving have proven to be recipes for disaster. In 2011, 270 people were killed in crashes involving distracted teen drivers. REMEMBER, One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.
  2. No Extra PassengersResearch shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teens in the car. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior when traveling with multiple passengers increased to three times. REMEMBER: No extra passengers in the car.
  3. No SpeedingIn 2011, speeding was a factor for 35 percent of the fatal crashes of teen drivers. REMEMBER, Stop Speeding Before It Stops You.
  4. No Alcohol – Although all States have zero-tolerance laws for drinking and driving under 21, 505 people died in crashes in which 14- to 18-year-old drivers had alcohol in their systems. Nationally in 2011, 27 percent of teen drivers killed had some level of alcohol in their systems. Parents should show zero tolerance for any sign of impaired driving. Teens need to hear it again and again: REMEMBER, No Drinking and Driving.
  5. No Driving or Riding Without a Seat BeltTeenage belt use is not what it should be. In 2011, over half of the teen occupants who died in passenger vehicles were unrestrained. Teens, and all adults for that matter, need to buckle up every trip, every time, day and night, no matter the distance. REMEMBER, Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time – Front-Seat and Back.

While some might say such rules are fairly obvious, a recent survey shows that only about 25 percent of parents have serious talks with their kids about the key components of safe driving. The “5 to Drive” are designed to address the major contributing factors in fatal crashes involving teens.

We hope more parents will use National Teen Driver Safety Week as a way to get started in having direct and regular conversations with their teens about safe driving. Too many teen lives are being needlessly and tragically lost, and the numbers are only going up. So it is time for parents to swing into action and use the ‘5 to Drive’ before their teens hit the road.

For more information about national Teen Driver Safety Week and the new “5 to Drive” campaign, please visit www.safercar.gov/parents.