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.

Buckle Up, Drive Safely This Christmas
Alabama Police Chief Terry Holden said if the current increase in traffic is any indication of what is yet to come during the Christmas holidays, it’s going to be heavy.
Source: TimesDaily

AAA: It’s Holiday Time So Don’t Let the ‘Spirits’ Move You
With more than 90% of holiday travelers driving to their destinations, AAA Southern New England urges motorists to be extra diligent about the dangers of impaired driving. According to the latest data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, 1 in 8 licensed drivers, who drink at least occasionally, reported having driven when they thought their alcohol level might have been close to, or possibly over, the legal limit in the past year.
Source: Easton Courier

Safety Officials Want Stricter Cell Phone Driving Laws
According to traffic safety officials, Washington’s texting while driving law isn’t tough enough on drivers. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission says we’re missing out on hundreds of thousands of federal dollars to enforce distracted driving laws, because the laws aren’t tough enough.
Source: KGMI News

Traffic Fatalities Fell in 2013, But There’s Still Plenty of Room for Improvement
Traffic fatalities have been on the decline for years, tumbling 25 percent in the last decade alone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 2013 continued that trend, with the fatality rate hovering at an all-time low — though there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
Source: The Car Connection

Record-Setting 98.6 Million Americans Traveling this Holiday Season
AAA now projects 98.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season, an increase of four percent from the 94.8 million people who traveled last year. This upward trend marks the highest forecast growth rate for the year-end holiday season since 2009 and the highest travel volume for the holiday period on record. (AAA data dates back to 2001.) The year-end holiday period is defined as Tuesday, December 23 to Sunday, January 4.
Source: World Property Journal

As the holiday season continues, communities and safety organizations remain dedicated to promoting safe driving techniques nationwide. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) member State Highway Safety Offices, for example, are working with law enforcement officials and other community partners to keep impaired drivers off the roads.

Their efforts to enhance safe and sober driving is especially important during the holiday season, for it is one of the most dangerous time of year on the roads. With millions of people on the road and unpredictable winter weather conditions, motorists are already at great risk while they travel to their holiday destinations. Adding impaired drivers to the dangerous and congested roads can turn the situation from risky to fatal.

During the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which lasts from December 10-31st, more than 800 people lose their lives in vehicle crashes involving a drunk driver. According to GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins, impaired driving contributes to one-third of all highway fatalities.

Though the primary focus of the safety programs is to reduce drunk driving, another growing issue the GHSA is working to address is drug-impaired driving. In attempt to decrease the number of injuries caused by drug-impaired driving, GHSA is working with states to provide research and recommendations on how to prevent it.

Whether it is from alcohol or drugs, or a combination of the two, driving under the influence puts the driver and other motorists on the road in danger, stressed Adkins.

The holiday season is a time for love and celebration, but it is also a time for caution and safety so that everyone can enjoy it. With millions of people on the road traveling long and short distances to spend time with family and friends, we need to be extra careful.

For tips on safe driving this holiday season, check out AAA’s Winter Driving Tips here.

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 Selma, Alabama.

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

During a time of debate over the use of red-light safety cameras in New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of Transportation released its third annual report about red-light safety cameras and the effect they have had on drivers throughout the state in recent years. The conclusion: perhaps this isn’t an issue worth debating.

Since the pilot program for the red-light safety cameras began on December 16, 2009, the New Jersey Department of Transportation has kept a close watch on the program’s effectiveness and how it has influenced driving behavior in New Jersey.

After five years, the Department released its third report analyzing the safety data for the cameras, noting that driving behavior has in fact been modified and suggested to continue the monitoring program.

Top findings include:

  • For the two locations with three years of data, when the Pre-Camera year crash data is compared to Year 3, right-angle crashes are down 86%, rear-end crashes are down 58%, total crashes are down 72%, and estimated crash severity costs have been reduced by $246,200. Regarding the citations issued at these locations, comparing the first month of operation (Month 1) with the last month at the end of the three-year period (Month 36), citations are down 83%.
  • Considering the crash, severity and citation data, both annually and over the three-year period it can be concluded that RLR has made a difference and therefore appears to be a viable safety tool at these Group 1 intersections.
  • For the twenty-two locations that have been active for two full years, when the Pre-Camera year data is compared to Year 2, right-angle crashes are down 60%, rear-end crashes are down 7%, total crashes are down 27%, and estimated crash severity costs have been reduced by $787,200. Regarding the citations issued at these locations, comparing Month 1 of operation with Month 24, citations are down 61%.
  • For the twenty-three intersections that have been operating for one full year, when the Pre-Camera year is compared to Year 1, right-angle crashes are down 15%, rear-end crashes are down 3%, total crashes are down 5%, and estimated crash severity costs have decreased by $2,176,100. Regarding the citations issued at these locations, comparing Month 1 with Month 12, citations are down 31%.
  • Adding the severity costs for each operational year, right-angle crash costs at all RLR intersections have decreased $1,519,500 and rear-end crash costs have decreased $1,690,000, resulting in a combined net public benefit of $3,209,500 for the program up through December 31, 2012.

While the debate may continue, the Department’s report shows that those who are in support of the red-light safety cameras and say the cameras promote safety by improving driving behavior are correct. So far, NCSR has collected more than 12,800 signatures from New Jersey residents on a petition supporting the use of the cameras at dangerous intersections.

To sign the petition and support the continuation of the red-light safety cameras in New Jersey, go here.

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.

Top 5 Findings in New Jersey Department of Transportation 3rd Annual Red-Light Safety Camera Report
Red-light safety cameras turned in another year of positive results at intersections in New Jersey, and trends show “driver behavior is being modified,” according to the recently issued New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT) third annual analysis of the photo enforcement program.
Source: NJ.com

Tennessee Council Votes To Extend Red-Light Vendor’s Contract
Buoyed by figures showing wrecks down at intersections across town, the City Council voted 5-1 Thursday to extend a vendor’s contract for one year to oversee an automated red-light enforcement system. American Traffic Solutions, which took over the program in March 2011, three years after Traffipax started it, will continue operating and maintaining the cameras until Nov. 30, 2015.
Source: The Post

HFM Prevention Council Urges Drivers to Stay Sober When Driving During The Holidays
According to the 2012 stats from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 1,168 traffic fatalities in New York and 422 (36 percent) of them involved alcohol. Nationally, the average for traffic fatalities in 2012 involving alcohol were about 36 percent, with a total of 12,041 deaths because someone choose to drive a car while their brain was affected by a drug called alcohol. According to Mothers’ Against Drunk Driving, about every 53 minutes someone is killed in a drunken-driving crash. There are also many more who are seriously injured.
Source: The Daily Gazette

Crash Victim’s Mother Speaks To Teens About Safe Driving Habits
Regina Stewart is honoring her son Chris, who was killed in a car crash by speaking to teens, by sharing her story of loss and raising awareness of safe driving practices at the annual New York Teen Safe Driving Coalition.
Source: The Record

Driving Safety Tips for Snow
With snow in the forecast, drivers are encouraged to take it slow and be prepared when hitting the road. The snow is expected to blanket parts of the area in the next few days, and so some drivers said they are now getting their winter driving kit ready. AAA Public Affairs Specialist Steve Pacer also recommends including a small snow shovel, snow brush and water in your winter driving kit, in case you get stuck.
Source: Time Warner Cable News

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

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