The Safety Street weekly video series aims to raise awareness about the dangers of red-light running by highlighting crashes and close calls in intersections caused by reckless red-light runners. The videos are also available on Twitter @SaferRoadsUSA and YouTube youtube.com/SaferRoadsUSA.

Take the pledge to Stop on Red

Intersection located in Memphis, TN.

 

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

The Safety Street weekly news roundup brings together a mix of road safety and transportation stories from around the web. It is published every week on Safety Street and is available on Twitter via @SaferRoadsUSA.

Montgomery Sees Decrease in Collisions at Intersections with Red-Light Safety Cameras
Since 2008, the city of Montgomery, Alabama has seen a decrease in collisions at intersections monitored by red-light safety cameras. These collisions decreased from 274 in 2008 to 78 in 2012, which amounts to about 71.5 percent. Mayor Todd Strange says that the decrease as a sign of positive change in driver habits.
Source: AL.com

NHTSA Highlights Dangers of Child Heatstroke in Cars
With the start of summer quickly approaching, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today joined Safe Kids Worldwide and health professionals at Sunrise Children’s Hospital to discuss ways to prevent child deaths and injuries in hot cars. Earlier this month, four young children died of heatstroke in a seven-day stretch across the country. When outside temperatures are in the low 80s, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes, even with a window rolled down two inches. Children’s bodies in particular overheat easily, and infants and children under four years old are at the greatest risk for heat-related illness.
Source: NHTSA.gov

Legislation Introduced in New York State to Allow Stop Arm Cameras
The New York Association for Pupil Transportation has announced its support for legislation introduced in the New York State legislature that would allow school districts and school bus contractors to install cameras on its school buses that would engage once the Stop Arm of the bus is extended. The camera would capture images of the vehicle and license plate and those images would be used to issue a summons to the registered owner of the vehicle. Currently, a ticket can be issued only by a police officer who witnesses the violation. The legislation would take major steps toward improving safety for children who ride school buses in New York State.
Source: Westfield Republican

New Video Offers Safety Message for Teen Drivers
Just in advance of Memorial Day Weekend, the Traffic Safety Coalition released a video reminding teen drivers to be safe. The video depicts a teenage boy as he scrolls through social media after a car crash that he caused while under the influence makes the evening news. Motor vehicle accidents are the number one killer of 15- to 20-year-olds. The coalition offers five tips to increase safe driving: always stop for red lights, never drink and drive, never do drugs and drive, wear a seat belt don’t use your cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.
Source: Staten Island Live

Texas Legislation Tackles Road Safety
Legislation that deals with safety and insurance on Texas’ roads are headed to the governor for his signature. One bill aims to strengthen the state’s teenage driving laws by enhancing the Graduated Drivers Licensing program through two significant changes to the law: increasing the required number of hours of behind-the-wheel license training to 30 hours and increasing the age of the driving curfew to 18 years old. Another measure expands current limitations on cell phone use while driving in a school zone.
Source: Austin Business Journal

 

The Safety Street Q&A series features NCSR partners, industry leaders and other notable transportation organizations who are working towards the collaborative goal of safer roads. 

The impact left Gabriel Cordell paralyzed from the chest down and near death, the collision with a red-light runner having sent him flying through the soft-top roof of his Jeep and into a telephone pole. And on October 17, 1992, his life was changed forever. Despite his initial 30 percent chance of survival, Gabriel went on to spend the next 20 years fighting drug addiction and struggling for his independence — until he found meaning in his circumstances and decided he could make a difference.

Now, Gabriel is rolling across the country in his wheelchair to raise awareness and inspire others to believe in their own potential. On March 30, he began his journey in Santa Monica, Calif. with a film crew to document the trek. He will arrive in West Hempstead, N.Y. in time for his 25th high school reunion. Gabriel hopes the documentary, Roll With Me, will inspire people to realize that anything is achievable and to pursue their dreams in spite of any perceived limitations.

Safety Street had a chance to speak with Gabriel about the collision that changed his life, his thoughts on road safety and his cross-country journey to raise awareness. Read the Q&A below to learn more:

Safety Street:  Would you please tell us a little bit about the details of your collision?

Gabriel:  I was driving in my Jeep Wrangler and approaching a small intersection. I had the green light and as I was going through the intersection. I saw a car coming in my peripheral vision and I knew she was going to run the red light. Although she didn’t quite T-bone me, she came close. She hit the rear quarter panel of my driver side just before the wheel well.  I felt myself start to fly out of my soft top and the next thing I remember is waking up on the street with the steering wheel in my hand because I was holding on so tight that I had ripped it out of the column. So, I woke up with the steering wheel in my hand, my soft top wrapped around me, and my Jeep on its passenger side three feet away from me.

I knew immediately that I was paralyzed – all I felt was tingling from the bottom of my chest down. Although I can’t recall it, I learned that I flew seven feet in the air and hit the telephone pole with my back, causing the vertebrae on both sides to crisscross and crush my spinal cord. My spinal cord wasn’t severed, but it was crushed to the point that it was a complete injury where it just smushed all the nerves.

Safety Street:  How has the collision impacted your life today and how is it a driving force in the Roll With Me campaign you created to raise awareness?

Gabriel:  It’s affected me in two ways. The first way is physical. I don’t have control over my motor skills from my chest down.  I do have complete control of my upper motor skills, my head and my arms, which gives me independence. Now the older I get, the more wear and tear I put on my shoulders and this journey has helped show me that. Everything hurts more acutely because my sensation is so limited that I’m ultra-sensitive where I can feel. But, I’m still independent. I’ve lived 18 of the 20 years that I’ve been in a wheelchair by myself. I drive my own car. I mean I do everything except going upstairs.

The collision has also impacted me emotionally. The day of my accident, I was lying on the street with two things running through my head. One, I was paralyzed; two, this is not the thing that is going to make me different; however it’s going to be the vehicle that will allow me to do something extraordinary. I knew that this was an accident that happened to me, but it wasn’t by accident. And twenty years later, that’s how I wound up on this trip.

Safety Street:  In light of the collision, what’s the importance of road safety to you?

Gabriel:  Road safety is important because it saves peoples’ lives. I actually recognize that even more now that I’m on this journey. I can’t tell you how many crosses I roll by that are obviously there because of car accidents. Now I have every perspective that one could possibly have because I’ve been on some city streets, on one-lane roads, and on the interstate. I pray every day that no one gets hurt on my crew cause that’s something I could never live with. Their safety is very important to me.

Safety Street:  Tell us a little bit about how Roll With Me got started and what it means to you?

Gabriel:  Eleven months ago, I was a full blown drug addict and when I got out of it, I wanted to do something that was the extreme opposite of what I was doing, living and being at the time. And so I started thinking about how I could make an impact on people. First, I started researching messages that I could bring to people. Then I said, well what if I roll my wheel chair across the country? Has anyone ever done that? So I did research, and there were three people who had done it, but none had done it in an everyday, standard wheelchair.

Then I decided it would be a shame to roll across the country and not have it documented. It was me wanting to make a difference. It took me 20 years to figure out the real reason why I was put in a wheel chair. And now I am living that – I’m kind of rolling away from my past life and rolling into my future.

I’m doing it to give people hope and inspiration that they can do whatever they want and they don’t have to be held back by their circumstances. The human will is powerful and limitless. If you want to do something, you can do it. You really can. And it’s amazing to see not just the affect and inspiration that we are having on people, but to see the affect that we’re having on ourselves. It’s a humbling, beautiful thing.

Safety Street:  That’s amazing. How did you choose your route across the country?

Gabriel:  I called my friend when I decided to do this and asked him to find the quickest legal route possible. There are states like New Mexico where you are allowed to go on the interstate and others where you are not. So he routed the most direct path and I think it was 3,300 miles. Then when I got my crew, one of the producers cut it down by like 150 miles. So, the route started in California and includes Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York.

Safety Street:  What avenues are available for people to get involved and help you out?

Gabriel:  The biggest avenue is obviously our website: RollWithMe.org. It’s the most direct way to get involved, but people can also follow our trip on Facebook and Twitter. We’re also on JUNTOBOX Films, which allows people to “like” the project. If we have enough followers to make an impression then JUNTOBOX actually invests in the movie.

For more information on Roll With Me and Gabriel Cordell’s journey across the country, visit RollWithMe.org. You can follow Gabriel as he promotes road safety and a positive outcome from such a dangerous and life-altering collision. The consequences of red-light running are serious, often resulting in injuries or fatalities. Gabriel Cordell has seized his survival as an opportunity to encourage others to tap into their own potential.

 

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

The Safety Street weekly news roundup brings together a mix of road safety and transportation stories from around the web. It is published every week on Safety Street and is available on Twitter via @SaferRoadsUSA.

United Nations Officials Call for Harnessing of Information Technology to Improve Road Safety
United Nations officials are calling for utilizing the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve road safety and thereby save over a millions lives each year. World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is celebrated every May, and this year’s theme is ICTs and improving road safety. Officials are promoting the elimination of technology-related driver distractions and increased use of in-car intelligent transport systems to enhance collision avoidance.  Road accidents kill nearly 1.3 million people every year and leave millions more injured.
Source: UN News Centre

Nevada DOT to Post State Traffic Fatalities on Freeway Signs
With a rise in Nevada traffic deaths in 2012, the Nevada Department of Transportation will post traffic fatality numbers on digital freeway boards to remind motorists to always drive safely. The numbers will be followed by safety messages, including reminders to always buckle up and never drive impaired. Preliminary numbers show that 258 traffic fatalities occurred on Nevada roads in 2012, an increase of 12 deaths compared to the previous year.
Source: Mesquite Local News

New Jersey Town Uses Comedy Act to Highlight Teen Road Safety
In Middletown, New Jersey, the Second City comedy troupe performed skits designed to shine a spotlight on the importance of teaching road safety to teens.  The skits focused on several important driving topics, including distracted driving, the importance of gaining driving experience, and parents as role models. The Second City troupe is in the midst of a nationwide tour of the “Drive it Home Show,” a series of skits created by the National Safety Council and supported by Allstate Insurance Company.
Source: NorthJersey.com

Cleveland to Double Red-Light Safety Cameras
The city of Cleveland, Ohio will add red-light safety cameras to 26 more intersections. The city council approved the measure earlier this week, citing the cameras record of increasing driver awareness at red lights as the driving force behind the decision. More than a dozen Ohio cities use traffic safety cameras.
Source: 10TV.com

Forty States Now Ban Texting While Driving
The state of Hawaii is the 40th state to ban texting while driving. The new law, signed on Monday, also prohibits hand-held cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle. Texting bans are also pending in Florida and Texas.
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association

 

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

Nationwide, one-third of school bus collisions involve children who are hit by cars on their way to and from the bus. A recent segment from NBC New York takes a look at the dangers of drivers ignoring school bus flip-out stop signs. Mike Covino, a Bronx school bus driver, used his smartphone to capture motorists as they flew by his stop arm sign, often nearly colliding with student passengers as they disembarked the bus. Covino caught taxis, buses, and even a police car violating the law and putting children’s lives at risk.

In a survey conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, nearly 100,000 school bus drivers reported that 88,025 vehicles passed their buses illegally on a single day. The results from the sample indicate that nearly 16 million violations occur during a typical 180-day school year.

Because these violations can be difficult for police to spot, many school districts across the country have installed safety cameras on the outside of their school buses.  These cameras snap photos of cars that fail to come to a stop when a stop arm signal is up, after which a fine is issued.

Camera technology is proven to improve driver behavior, reduce collisions and save lives. Broader use of school bus safety cameras throughout communities in the U.S. has significant implications for the safety of all school children.