Grand prize winner - National AAA Traffic Safety Poster & Video Contest
Leah Shenfeld of Owings Mills and Shawn Markow from Pikesville were honored with the Grand Prize Award in the Video Public Service Announcement (PSA) category during the national judging of the 66th Annual AAA 2010 Traffic Safety Poster and Video Contest. The contest is a unique opportunity to provide students with a forum to showcase their artistic talents while encouraging critical thinking about traffic safety. The Pikesville High School team’s winning submission advanced to AAA’s national contest to compete against hundreds of high school video PSA entries from across the country. The team received $2,000 in VISA gift cards as their grand prize award.
Governor’s Message On Ban of the Use of Hand-Held Cell Phones While Driving
Protecting the public’s safety is the greatest obligation that we have in government. To reduce car accidents and save lives, we’re working together to make our roadways safer through legislation, education and enforcement.
Distracted driving is a growing problem on our roadways. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation has called it an epidemic. A major cause of distracted driving crashes is cell phone use while driving. Motorists who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to be involved in a vehicle crash.
We recently passed reforms that ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, which will go into effect on October 1st. This new law is a big step toward reducing the number of crashes, deaths and severe injuries caused by distracted driving.
Unlike some of the tragedies that touch our lives, traffic crashes can be prevented. Since taking office, I have signed into law reforms cracking down on drunken driving, speeding and texting while driving. I have also issued an executive order that bans the use of hand-held cell phones by Maryland executive branch employees while driving state-owned vehicles.
Public safety is a priority of my Administration. Together with the General Assembly, we are working every day to protect our people by creating the safest roadways in the nation, moving us forward toward a safer future for all Marylanders.
October 6th is International Walk to School Day. Be extra cautious and alert while driving through school zones, as numerous schools in Maryland will be participating in this international event. Walk to School Day is designed to raise awareness about the lack of safe routes to school (i.e., sidewalks, crosswalks, crossing signals, etc.), and the environmental and health benefits of walking to school. Help support this initiative by staying alert and driving the speed limit in school zones. Remember, a pedestrian hit by a car traveling 40 mph has a mere 15 percent chance of survival, at 30 mph, those odds increase to 45 percent. By contrast, a pedestrian has an 85 percent chance of survival if hit by a car moving at 20 mph.
For more information on International Walk To School Day, CLICK HERE
Let Technology Remove the Urge to Text
"More than 1 trillion text messages were sent worldwide last year. Undoubtedly many of those texts were created and transcribed while in a vehicle, oftentimes by the driver of that vehicle. A report by the National Safety Council found cell phone use leads to about 1.6 million crashes a year, about 200,000 of those crashes are caused by texting while driving. Studies show teenagers are especially prone to text and drive, with a recent survey showing 46 percent of drivers ages 16 to 17 admit to texting while driving.
We all know that texting while driving is not a safe decision - for your well-being and for everyone else with whom you share the road with. In Maryland, legislators deemed it so dangerous that they banned the act of texting-while-driving in 2009. However, human nature often prevails when we hear the sound of an incoming text message. Cell phone application developers have picked up on this behavior and have made several applications that remove that ability to send or receive texts while a vehicle is in motion. Below is a listing of several of these applications, with a side-by-side comparison of their features and prices. For a PDF version, please click here."
Drive focused. Drive smart. Get home safely.
Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW) is an annual workplace safety campaign to remind employees of safe driving practices. The campaign addresses:
Reminders that most everyone has someone
counting on them to get home safely each day
With today’s businesses most likely operating with the bare minimum staff needed to get the job done, no one can afford to lose even one employee to a traffic crash.
The campaign’s primary message is to get home safely at the end of each day. Because chances are, someone special is waiting for you to get there. It addresses the issue of distracted driving and provides materials and activities to help build strategies to minimize distractions while behind the wheel. In addition, tips and information on smart driving are included.
The estimated economic impact of motor vehicles crashes on Maryland roadways has reached $5.7 billion a year.
A motor vehicle fatality costs approximately $5.8 million annually.
A critically injured crash survivor costs at approximately $221,800.
The Impact of Seat Belts
In one year, the use of seat belts prevents an estimated 73 fatalities (45% effective) and 2,575 serious injuries (50% effective) in Maryland.
Seat belts could have saved $186.5 million in medical care, lost productivity and other injury-related costs (2,856 total injuries) in Maryland in 2008.
The Impact of Speed
Excessive speed was associated with 163 fatalities and 10,024 non-fatal injuries in 2008.
Injuries and fatalities sustained in crashes in which at least one driver was exceeding the legal speed limit or driving too fast for conditions cost $1.4 billion in Maryland in 2008.
The Impact of Alcohol
Alcohol and/or drug-involved crashes resulted in 164 fatalities and 4,291 non-fatal injuries in Maryland.
Injuries and fatalities sustained in crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs accounted for $1.2 billion in economic costs in Maryland in 2008.
Thoughts for the Road
Distracted driving is the presence of anything that can distract a driver’s physical and mental attention from driving.
Nearly 80% of crashes and 65% of near crashes involve some form of driver inattention within three seconds preceding the event.1
A recent poll conducted by Nationwide Insurance indicated 98% of people feel they are safe drivers, yet nearly three-quarters report that they perform other tasks while driving.
It is estimated that a driver makes an average of 20 major decisions during every mile of driving.2
Recent simulator studies have shown that drivers on cell phones look but fail to see up to 50% of the information in the driving environment. The same studies have indicated there is no difference in the cognitive distraction between drivers using hand-held and hands-free devices.3
Although they tend to increase their following distance, drivers on cell phones have more rear-end crashes than drunk drivers.4
Text messaging continues to set usage records, according to the industry trade group. In 2008, an estimated 3.5 billion text messages were sent per day in the U.S. alone, nearly tripling the amount from the previous year. In a recent MSNBC poll, 32% of respondents admitted to texting while driving.
1 NHTSA and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2006. 2 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. 3 University of Utah Simulator Study 2008 4 Ibid
Drivers to Distraction
Engaging in hand-held or hands-free cell phone conversations
Other passengers, especially children
Reading a road map or adjusting the navigation system
Dealing with shifting cargo or something that has dropped on the floor
Eating, drinking beverages or smoking
Checking PDA’s, browsing the Internet or text messaging
Adjusting the radio, CD player, iPod® or mp3 Player
Driving an unfamiliar vehicle
Help combat distracted driving in 140 characters or less
It's Drive Safely Work Week. FOCUS! Safe driving is serious business.
It's time to shift expectations of employee availability. If someone's driving, leave a message. They'll call you back.
Employee safety gear: hard hat, safety goggles, biohazard suit, corporate policy to restrict use of mobile devices while driving.
Experts say take a break every 2 hours when driving. That's the time to check & respond to voicemails, texts. Focus on driving
Arrive alive. Status updates, tweets and texts can wait until you are done with the drive. It's Drive Safely Work Week
Keep your friends & family safe. If you call someone and they're driving, end the call and talk later. It's Drive Safely Work Week
Driving takes your full attention. Take a minute and clear your mind before you hit the road. It's Drive Safely Work Week.
Take a moment to focus on those counting on you to get home safely before choosing to divert attention from the road.
If you're a passenger and the driver's not focused on the road, speak up! It's Drive Safely Work Week
Need to catch up on e-mails and texts during your commute? Let someone else do the driving! It's Drive Safely Work Week
If one state has a law re: talking/txting + driving, it's not less dangerous when you cross to another state- break the habit!
Got a conference call? Don't allow co-workers to participate while driving even if using hands-free. Safe driving requires hands on the wheel & mind on the road.
Take Action Against Distraction
Turn your phone off when driving. Avoid the temptation to talk or text on your phone; simply turn it off while you are driving.
Texting and driving don’t mix. There is no way to safely drive while texting. And, in most states, it’s illegal. Texting that begins at a stoplight often carries over to when traffic is moving again. Even if you are proficient enough that you don’t take your eyes off the road, your mind is off the road, and your hands are off the wheel. JUST DON’T DO IT!
Keep a safe following distance. Driver training experts suggest a following distance of 4 seconds. The 4-second following rule increases visibility and gives more time to react to what’s happening in front of you, reducing risk to you and your passengers.
Be in control. On your personal vehicle, pre-set the climate control, radio and CD player. If driving an unfamiliar vehicle, take the time to identify the location of signals, wipers and lights.
Use technology to manage your technology. If you’re having trouble breaking the habit of using a mobile device while driving, consider using a call blocking application to let callers know you are driving and to queue calls and texts until you are safely pulled over. Be sure to check with your insurance company; they may offer a policy discount.
Clear your mind. You cannot focus on driving if your mind is on work or family pressure, or your to-do list. Take a moment before you drive to get your mind focused on the task at hand — safely getting to your destination.
Have a plan. Don’t wait until you are driving to plan and become familiar with your route. Consider using navigation devices with voice directions. Pull over to a safe location if you need to re-program your navigation system or consult printed directions.
Buckle yourself in on every trip. It’s your best defense should you have a “run-in” with distracted drivers sharing the road with you. Be sure to also properly secure cargo including pets, potted plants and casseroles.
Help others help themselves. Make it a practice when you call someone’s cell phone to ask if they are driving. If the response is “yes,” take it upon yourself to call back later or ask them to return your call when they’ve reached their destination. If everyone did this, it would greatly reduce the number of distracted drivers sharing the roads.
Speak up. If you’re a passenger and the driver is not focusing entirely on the road, don’t be afraid to speak up! Offer to help with directions or even make a phone call on their behalf. You’re looking out for your own safety, as well as that of the driver and those sharing the road with you.
Fine tune your tunes. Digital music devices (iPods, MP3 players) can pose a major distraction. Pre-set a driving playlist to provide continuous tunes without the need for adjustments. Also, it’s dangerous and typically illegal to drive with headphones. Only use your device if it can be played over your vehicle’s speakers.
Look at the big picture. Making or receiving a phone call while driving makes you four times more likely to be involved in a traffic crash. Take a moment to focus on those who are counting on you to get home safely every day before you make a choice to divert your full attention from the road.