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July 2012 

 

The 2012 National Triad Conference date has been confirmed


Older driver safety issues? Yep. We cover that!

Please mark your calendars for October 8th through the 10th to join us at the 2012 NATI Conference to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana in conjunction with the Indiana Attorney General's Office. Registration details can be found on our website www.nationaltriad.org!

 

National Sheriffs' Association Announces Recipient of 2012 J. Stannard Baker Award for Traffic Safety

 

Alexandria, VA - The National Sheriffs' Association (NSA) is pleased to announce the selection of Sheriff Dwight Radcliff of Pickaway County, OH as the 2012 recipient of NSA's J. Stannard Baker Award for Traffic Safety, presented by the Association each year.      

 

It is a long-standing NSA tradition to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the law enforcement profession. These individuals are dedicated role models to the profession. The J. Stannard Baker Award is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; the Center for Public Safety at Northwestern University; OnStar; and NSA, and is presented to an individual who has shown unusual initiative directly related to traffic safety.      

 

Sheriff Radcliff is no stranger to traffic safety. He has served in his current capacity for the past 48 consecutive years, and is the longest serving sheriff in the nation. In 1964, when he became Sheriff of Pickaway County, there were not even seat belts in patrol cars. Today, there is no one more passionate about traffic safety and the role of sheriffs in its enforcement!       

 

Sheriff Radcliff is a past NSA President (1986 - 1987) and continues to serve on the NSA Board of Directors, where he is the Corporate Representative. He is a long-serving member, and past Chair, of NSA's Traffic Safety Committee. Finally, Sheriff Radcliff has worked closely with all the sponsors of this Award to increase the awareness of sheriffs nationwide in the importance of traffic safety. 

 

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The National Sheriffs' Association is the largest association of law enforcement professionals in the United States, representing more than 3,000 elected sheriffs across the nation, and having a total membership of approximately 20,000. NSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of criminal justice and public safety. Throughout its 72-year history, NSA has served as an information clearinghouse for sheriffs, deputies, chiefs of police, other law enforcement professionals, state governments and the federal government. NSA also provides management training for sheriffs and their command personnel at the National Sheriffs' Institute and through other innovative programs, workshops, and seminars.  

 

 

States could sharply reduce teen crash deathsby strengthening graduated driver licensing laws 

 

ARLINGTON, Va. - If every state adopted all five components of the toughest young driver laws in the nation, more than 500 lives could be saved and more than 9,500 collisions could be prevented each year. Some states could halve or more than halve their rate of fatal crashes among 15-17 year-olds if they adopted the strongest graduated driver licensing (GDL) provisions. These are the main findings of a new analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) meant to encourage states to improve GDL laws.

A new online calculator (go to iihs.org/gdl <http://www.iihs.org/gdl> ) developed by the Institute and HLDI shows individual states the safety gains they could achieve by adopting some or all of the most beneficial GDL provisions in effect today. The five key components are permit age, practice driving hours, license age, and night driving and teen passenger restrictions.

The current best practices are a minimum intermediate license age of 17 (New Jersey), a minimum permit age of 16 (Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Rhode Island), at least 65 supervised practice hours (Pennsylvania) and, during the intermediate stage, a night driving restriction starting at 8 p.m. (Idaho and in South Carolina during daylight saving time) and a ban on all teen passengers (15 states and D.C.).

Prior Institute and HLDI research has shown that states with the strongest laws enjoy the biggest reductions in fatal crashes among 15-17-year-old drivers and the biggest reductions in collisions reported to insurers among 16-17-year-old drivers, compared with states with weak laws.


"Even the best states can do better," says Anne McCartt, Institute senior vice president for research. "There's room for improvement across the board, and states could see immediate reductions in fatal crashes and collision claims as soon as the beefed-up provisions are in force."


Graduated licensing enables new teen drivers to gradually build up driving experience as they mature and develop on-the-road skills. The system has three stages: a supervised learner's period, an intermediate license (after passing a road test) that limits driving in high-risk situations except under supervision, and a license with full privileges. Teens with learner permits should get lots of supervised driving practice, and once they have intermediate licenses they should be subject to limits on night driving and teen passengers. The longer the restrictions last the better.


In the mid-1990s, states began adopting elements of graduated licensing. By December 2000, all but nine states had GDL laws. Since there is no nationwide GDL system, the laws vary.


To recognize states with the best laws, the Institute began rating them in 2000 from good to poor. Initially, only six states and D.C. earned good ratings, and nine were poor. By May of 2011, 36 states and D.C. rated good, seven rated fair and seven were marginal. No states earned poor ratings. In recent years, legislators have been slow to toughen GDL laws, particularly when it comes to raising the age for a permit or license. During the 2010-12 legislative sessions, for example, nine states strengthened elements of their young driver laws, compared with 20 states during 2007-09 sessions.

The ratings initially encouraged states to adopt three-phase graduated licensing systems. The ratings, however, didn't show legislators how any state - even ones with already-strong laws - could boost the benefits of graduated licensing by targeting specific components, such as night driving restrictions, for improvement. The Institute now knows more about what works and what doesn't when it comes to keeping young drivers safe. Based on more than a decade of data, researchers are able to estimate the effects of changing individual provisions of GDL.

As a result, the Institute has decided to stop grading state GDL laws and switch to a calculator system designed to outline opportunities for improvement in every state. In addition to the best-practice scenario, the online calculator shows the estimated fatal crash and collision claim reductions that a given state can achieve with any combination of specific law changes. Users can easily navigate among states using a drop-down menu.


"States don't have to adopt the toughest laws in the nation to realize safety gains. Strengthening one or two components pays off. To maximize all of the benefits of graduated licensing, however, we would encourage lawmakers to consider the strongest provisions," McCartt says.


Stronger laws yield benefits


Iowa and South Dakota are examples of states that could sharply lower fatal crash and collision claim rates among teen drivers. Both states allow 14 year-olds to obtain learner permits. Iowa makes drivers wait until they're 16 to get a license, but South Dakota allows teens to get a license three months after their 14th birthday. The state has the youngest licensing age in the nation.

"That's too risky," McCartt says. "The younger teens are when they get their licenses, the higher their crash rate."


If South Dakota raised its license age to 17, the benefit would be an estimated 32 percent reduction in fatal crash rates among 15-17-year-old drivers and a 13 percent reduction in collision claims among 16-17-year-old drivers. Raising the license age to 15 1/2 could reduce fatal crashes by an estimated 16 percent and collision claims by 6 percent among teen drivers.

A crucial provision of any GDL system is a night driving restriction. South Dakota's starts at 10 p.m., but Iowa's doesn't begin until 12:30 a.m. Moving Iowa's restriction to 8 p.m. would reduce teens' fatal crashes 10 percent.

Neither state bars beginners from transporting other teens, a practice that increases crash risk. If both states adopted such a policy, they each could realize a 21 percent drop in fatal crashes among 15-17-year-old drivers and a 5 percent decline in collision claim rates among 16-17-year-old drivers. A one-teen-passenger limit would reduce teens' fatal crash rates 7 percent in either state.

If Iowa adopted the strongest provisions across the board, the state could see a 55 percent reduction in teens' fatal crash rates. South Dakota's estimated safety gains are even bigger - a 63 percent reduction in fatal crashes and a 37 percent drop in collision claims.

Even best states can improve

Connecticut's young driver law comes the closest to representing the current best-practices system. The state makes teens wait until age 16 for a permit and restricts all teen passengers during the intermediate stage of licensure. If Connecticut also adopted the best provisions for practice hours, license age and night driving, it could realize a 17 percent reduction in fatal crashes and a 13 percent reduction in collision claims among teen drivers.

New York is another state with a strong GDL program. It has a permit age of 16, a license age of 16 1/2, a night driving restriction beginning at 9 p.m., a one-teen-passenger limit and a 50-hour supervised-practice-driving requirement. Adopting the toughest provisions would reduce fatal crashes among 15-17-year-old drivers by 24 percent and collision claims among 16-17-year-old drivers by 7 percent.


"We encourage states to sharpen the core elements of their teen driver laws, particularly restrictions on night driving and young passengers," McCartt says. "Raising the licensing age would help in many states, but we realize that this isn't always a politically popular option."

About the calculator

The calculator grew out of the Institute's and HLDI's 2009 evaluation of the effects of various provisions of teen licensing laws on fatal crashes and collision claims for teen drivers. In this analysis, fatal crashes are the rate of 15-17-year-old passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 teens. Collision claims are the frequency of collision claims per 100 insured vehicle years for 16-17-year-old drivers (an insured vehicle year is one vehicle insured for one year, two insured for six months each, etc.). Collision coverage insures against damage to the policyholder's vehicle. The findings indicate strong benefits of restricting when teens are allowed to drive and how many young passengers may ride along. Raising the license and permit age also reduces teens' fatal crashes. The calculator estimates reflect the relative importance of each provision and reductions states have seen as a result of GDL laws. Longer learner permit holding periods, a criterion under the prior rating system, don't show independent benefits in the new analysis.
 

 

Choose "The Right Seat" For Children In Cars 

 

Choose "The Right Seat" for children in cars and get the car seat basics, the NHTSA recommendations, car and booster seat installation tips, and learn how to secure your child in the car. Car safety is very important and this helpful information will tell you where you can find out everything you need to know about how to choose the right seat and keep your kids safe in the car. 

(NAPSI)-U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced the launch of a series of new public service announcements (PSAs) released in partnership with the Ad Council that promote child car safety among parents of children ages newborn to 12.

 

  According to the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 through 12 years old. From 2006 to 2010, 4,028 children ages 12 and younger were killed in crashes and another estimated 660,000 children were injured in crashes involving a passenger vehicle. However, NHTSA reports that child restraints in the vehicle saved the lives of an estimated 9,611 children ages 4 and younger from 1975 to 2010.

 

    "While safety is our top priority for everyone on our roadways, we're calling on parents to do everything they can to protect our most vulnerable passengers," said Secretary LaHood. "These new public service announcements will encourage parents to choose the right seat for their children and properly secure them every time they get behind the wheel."


Working with the Ad Council as part of an ongoing campaign to ensure child car safety, NHTSA unveiled new PSAs that will air on television, radio, online and in outdoor advertising nationwide. "The Right Seat" effort aims to make sure all parents and caregivers are properly securing children ages 12 and under in the right car restraint (rear-facing, forward-facing, booster, seat belt) for their age and size. Targeting parents and caregivers who think their children are already using the right car seats, the key message of the PSAs is "Parents who really know it all, know for sure their child is in the right car seat."


"The proper use of a child seat is the most effective way to keep a child safe in a moving vehicle," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Parents and caregivers should always use a child seat and, based on NHTSA's updated guidelines, should keep their children in their current seats for as long as possible before moving them up to the next type of seat."


Coinciding with the release of the new PSAs, NHTSA also launched "Parents Central," a new one-stop-shop website with tools and resources for keeping children safe in and around cars.

For more than 25 years, the Ad Council and NHTSA have worked together on consumer safety PSA campaigns. Previous campaigns targeted individual stages of child passenger safety; i.e., the LATCH system, booster seats and seat belts. The English-language PSAs were created pro bono by advertising agency Gotham, Inc.


"We are proud to partner with Secretary LaHood, Administrator Strickland and NHTSA to extend our more than 25-year partnership with NHTSA by releasing new PSAs that address the absolute importance of child car safety," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council.

For more information, visit www.SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat.
Brought to you by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
   

 

NHTSA Launches Grant Program to Tackle Distracted Driving

 

Written by:Jake Holmes    

 

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today issued an ambitious plan called the "Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving." In addition to providing steps to help curb road deaths caused by drivers using cell phones or other electronics at the wheel, today's announcement provides $2.4 million in grants to help law enforcement agencies catch distracted drivers. 

Since his appointment as Transportation Secretary in 2009, LaHood has focused much of his energy on tackling distracted driving - drivers whose attention is drawn from the road by phone calls, text messages, or using other electronic devices. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that 3092 people were killed by distracted drivers in 2010, a figure that represents one in ten driver fatalities in the U.S. Moreover, the agency says its data suggests that 100,000 drivers are sending text messages at any given time.

 

One part of the "Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving" involves a $2.4 million grant to Delaware and California. The money will fund programs aimed at cracking down on drivers violating those states' distracted-driving laws. Based on the success of the "Click It Or Ticket" seatbelt campaign, NHTSA hopes increased funding for the "Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other" program will reduce the number of people using phones behind the wheel. The programs begin this fall in the entire state of Delaware, and eight counties in the Sacramento valley of California.

 

The safety agency is drawing on experience last year that involved trial enforcement programs in Hartford, Connecticut, and Syracuse, New York. After several months of increased ticketing for drivers using phones, Hartford saw the number of distracted drivers drop 72 percent, while Syracuse saw a 32-percent drop. The idea is that a fear of being ticketed, as well as increased media coverage of the enforcement efforts, will encourage drivers to follow state laws. 

The remainder of the "Blueprint" includes guidelines to help further tackle the problem. One part of the proposal would encourage states without anti-texting laws to add them. NHTSA also will encourage automakers to consider driver distraction when developing future vehicles. The agency alreadyreleased a set of guidelines on in-car technologies earlier this year, and hopes to build on them with more in-depth guidelines over the coming months and years.

 

One final step in the proposal is to help driver's education companies add training and information about distracted driving to their programs. The agency wants a special focus on teaching novice and learner drivers about the dangers of using a phone while driving. That's because NHTSA data suggests drivers under 25 are three times more likely than older drivers to send text messages or emails at the wheel. We've reported before thatteenage drivers, despite knowing the risks, continue to text while driving.

 

Sources: U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA    

 

LaHood pushes for more states to ban texting and cellphone use while driving

 

ByAshley Halsey III

The Obama administration on Thursday said that stronger state laws and crackdowns by local law enforcement are the best way to prevent the thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries caused by drivers using cellphones or sending text messages.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the administration would pay for pilot crackdown programs in Delaware and California to see whether the results replicated those produced by a pair of federally funded programs last year.

Hartford, Conn., and Syracuse, N.Y., officials said distracted driving in general and text messaging in particular dropped greatly during the highly publicized campaigns.

"If you have good law enforcement, you can drive down distracted driving," LaHood said in announcing $2.4 million for the two states. "We think we're going to make a difference here."

The National Transportation Safety Board has called for a ban on the use of mobile devices while driving a vehicle.

Although the federal government doesn't have the constitutional authority to impose a ban, it could threaten to withhold highway funds to get states to pass bans, a tactic that has been used on other traffic safety issues in the past.

"If we could get all 50 states to pass a law, that would send a message," LaHood said. "Me, personally, I'd be for a national ban. I'm going to leave it up to Congress to decide what they want to do."

Ohio last week became the 39th state to ban drivers from sending and receiving text messages. Ten states have prohibited use of handheld cellphones. The District and Maryland ban texting and require hands-free devices for cellphones. Virginia prohibits texting but allows handheld use.

Cellphone use  behind the wheel was a factor in at least 24 percent of crashes in 2010, according to the National Safety Council. The council said drivers were talking on the phones in 1.1 million crashes and texting in 160,000.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 5,474 people were killed and about 448,000 injured in 2009 in crashes in which the driver was distracted. Teenagers were particularly prone to accidents when using mobile devices, the federal agency <http://www.distraction.gov/>  said.

The rapid increase in crashes blamed on use of mobile devices has resulted in lawsuits that claim cellphones were an aggravating factor. Those lawsuits often have named employers who supply drivers with cell phones or encourage their business use while driving.

Research has shown that drivers using hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into a serious crash. Hands-free cellphones aren't much safer  because simply talking on the phone has been found to significantly reduce the brain power focused on driving.

Auto manufacturers have sought to find a middle ground, satisfying their customers' desire to stay connected while driving with the overarching safety concerns. LaHood has sought to nudge them along with a set of voluntary guidelines.

"We want to make sure they understand .
.. that the ability to download Facebook, the ability to access information while you're driving the car, is not exactly a safe way to drive," LaHood said. "There have to be ways for car companies to address these issues, and I believe they're committed to doing that. We want them to step up here and take personal responsibility for helping us save lives."   

 

Legislature protects more roadside workers under Move Over traffic safety law

 

By Bruce Siceloff

Move Over law

On a two-lane road, drivers must slow down and prepare to stop when they see law-enforcement officers, emergency responders and utility crews at work with flashing lights on their cars and trucks within 12 feet of the road.

On a multilane road, drivers must move to an inside lane if they can do so safely, or else slow down.

Under revisions approved by the legislature this week and awaiting the governor's signature, the law covers:    

  • Police, fire, rescue squad, ambulance and other emergency response workers.
  • Tow-truck drivers and DOT roadside assistance agents.
  • Electric, cable, telephone, communications and gas utility workers restoring, installing or maintaining service.
  • State and local highway maintenance workers and contractors.


RALEIGH The General Assembly has expanded the "Move Over" highway safety law again - this time telling drivers to change lanes or slow down wherever utility or road maintenance crews are doing routine work, under flashing amber lights, on the shoulder of the road.

When first adopted in 2001, the law focused on reducing hazards for police and other emergency workers performing their roadside duties.

Stiffer penalties have been added over the years, and the protective umbrella has been widened to cover other kinds of emergency workers - including electric utility crews restoring power after a crash or a storm. More than 32,000 drivers have been convicted of violating the law since 2002; the penalty is a $250 fine.

The latest changes, made final this week in a 113-1 House vote, mark a big shift by extending the law beyond emergencies and other short-lived situations. Now drivers will have to take precautions when they see many kinds of regular and sometimes long-term work under way on the roadside.

"The people working out there on the roads, that is their work zone, that is their office," the bill sponsor, Rep. Shirley B. Randleman, a Wilkesboro Republican, said in an interview. "If anything I can do as a motorist is going to keep those people safe, I'm willing to move over."

Utility lobbies sought broader protections because motorists would not be able to tell, under the old language, whether roadside utility crews were restoring service after an unscheduled outage - which was protected - or doing routine work - which was not.

"They work along very busy highways sometimes, and people come zooming by there," said James A. Rouse III, lobbyist for the N.C. Association of Electric Cooperatives. "And there have been accidents."

He cited a Wayne County roadside accident that killed an electric utility lineman last November.

Donnie Deaver of Seven Springs, 45, a 20-year veteran employee of Dudley-based Tri-County Electric Membership Corp., fell 28 feet to the ground when an 18-wheeler struck the boom of his utility truck. Deaver was working to restore power after a nighttime outage. No charges were filed.

Mike Davis, general manager of Tri-County EMC, is glad the legislature is prodding drivers to take more care around roadside utility workers.

"We are out doing a dangerous job to start with," Davis said. "We take all the precautions we can, but we like to know the public is looking out for our employees, also."

Once the governor signs it, the new law will take effect Oct. 1. State transportation and law enforcement officials welcomed the extended protections.

"I think the Move Over law was needed - I can tell you first-hand, having people I work with on the Highway Patrol being struck on the side of the road," said First Sgt. Jeff Gordon, the patrol spokesman. "Since the law went into effect, I see people slowing down when they pass that emergency vehicle, or they move over if that's doable."

Researcher David Raynor contributed.  

 

Researchers weigh in on the issue of distracted driving 

 

Distracted driving was the hot topic at this year's Lifesavers conference on highway safety priorities in Orlando, Florida. Besides the session on technologies to prevent distracted driving that we spoke at, there were a number of other discussions last week from industry and government leaders to explore the issue and how to best tackle this growing problem. 

There are three key parts to distraction, which David Strayer, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah's Applied Cognition Lab, calls the driver distraction triad: manual, visual, and cognitive. A task such as texting represents the manual distraction, taking your eyes off the road is the visual distraction, and having your mind off the drive is the cognitive distraction. Among the challenges in defining and addressing distraction is that research and studies have come to different conclusions on how distracting a conversation can be. 

Strayer's research using driving simulators has found that there is "inattention blindness" and tasks such as using speech-to-text significantly affects reaction time. Charlie Klauer, a researcher from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, looked at distraction in naturalistic studies using cameras and sensors in participant vehicles. These studies found that the riskiest tasks are visual and manual, not cognitive. The data collected determined there were performance issues while talking on the phone, but it didn't translate into crashes. Klauer says 10-20 percent of the population is responsible for 70-80 percent of crashes and that safety officials should work on that group to help bring down the crash rate. 

 

Anne McCartt, senior vice president of research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), cited her 2005 study conducted in Perth, Australia, which found that drivers using phones are four times more likely to get into a crash whether it's on a hands-free or handheld phone. McCartt's study looked at cell phone records before an actual crash. (U.S. phone companies were unwilling to provide billing records.) 

 

More studies are being conducted in this area, but the issue of cognitive load is not necessarily catching on when it comes to legislation. No state has a complete cell phone ban and only 10 states, plus Washington, D.C., have hand-held cell-phone laws. More automakers are adding Bluetooth and voice control to their vehicles because hand-held cell-phone use is considered more risky.  

But the greatest argument that there is cognitive distraction from cell-phone use is from those directly affected. Throughout the distracted driving sessions at Lifesavers, members of the group FocusDriven told their stories of how cell phone distraction killed a family member and not all were from texting, which is considered the most dangerous form of distraction. Judy and Joe Teater lost their 12-year-old son when a driver talking on a cell phone ran through a red light. Jacy Good is lucky to be alive, but her parents were killed instantly when a driver ran a red light and caused a tractor-trailer to swerve into their lane and crash into their vehicle.  

These are just two of many stories from victims who argue that despite the research, distraction behind the wheel is dangerous and could happen to anyone.