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August 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!


Texting & Driving...It Can Wait


NSA applauds AT&T for recognizing the significant need for drivers to take a pledge against a practice that contributes to thousands of automobile crashes each year. We hope that others will join us in our commitment to help prevent injuries and fatalities caused by texting while driving by taking the pledge at 


National Law Enforcement Challenge (NLEC) 


Beginning with the 2012 application submission, due on May 1, 2013, all applicants for the national program must use the newly established online application process.


The online application can be accessed at the NLEC web page at and selecting "Apply Online." Agencies will not need to do any additional work to submit their application via the online system but they will need to create an account and establish a username and password. A guide on how to complete your online application is available to assist agencies through the online submission process also available at


Individual State challenge programs are not being required to participate in the online application process. Agencies located in these States should contact their State Coordinator to determine if the state will require a paper application.


Key things to know

  • Paper applications will not be accepted for the 2012 NLEC
  • NLEC applications due no later than mid-night on May 1, 2013
  • Agencies may still need to put a paper application together for their State challenge program


   For additional information regarding the online application visit or contact Sarah Horn at


GM recalls over 38,000 police Impalas in North America 


(Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is recalling more than 38,000 Chevrolet Impala police cars in North America because the lower front control arms could fracture, increasing the risk of crash.


The recall, which does not affect non-police versions of the Impala, covers 36,413 cars in the United States and 1,713 in Canada, according to GM and documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It covers cars from the 2008 to 2012 model years.


GM said there had been no reports of accidents or injuries related to the issue.


A fracture of the control arms, which support a vehicle's wheels, fracture, can lead to loss of control, according to NHTSA documents. Should a fracture occur, some tire "squeal" or "chirping" may be heard when turning at low speeds, according to NHTSA documents.


The problem was discovered after GM got several reports from two police fleets of front lower control arms that had fractured, according to NHTSA documents.


The recall, which entails replacing both front, lower control arms, is expected to begin on August 21, according to NHTSA documents.


(Reporting By Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)


Forsyth County SO Wins International Traffic Safety Award


by Aldo Nahed


FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. - Traffic safety promotional campaign has earned the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office an International Traffic Safety Award.


The award was announced by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) on Saturday, July 21.


The award is related to the Sheriff's Office promotion of traffic safety, said Sheriff Ted Paxton.


The International Chiefs of Police "Law Enforcement Challenge" is a competition between similar-sized law enforcement agencies across the nation and worldwide.


The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office won third place in the "2011-2012 Championship Class."


The Championship Class is a competition of all first place winners from 2010-2011 worldwide.


There were 19 first place winners who competed.


"Considering some of the very large agencies that the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office competed against for this award, I'm humbled that our traffic safety programs surpassed these well respected and large agencies," said Paxton.


Some of the larger law enforcement agencies that competed in the Championship Class were city of Los Angeles, Calif. Police Department which has 9,676 sworn officers, New Jersey State Police, which has 3,014 sworn troopers, Illinois State Police with 1,903 sworn troopers and the Georgia State Patrol which have 792 sworn troopers.


The Sheriff's Office has previously won first place in its size category for the last several years. These awards are given to agencies for their notable efforts in educating citizens, enforcing Georgia traffic laws and contributing to reducing impaired driving, vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities from crashes.


The Sheriff's Office was not able to compete in the "size category" this year due to winning first place last year.


"We look forward to the competition each year," Paxton said. "With the programs and enforcement we have in place, we seem to be doing things the right way when it comes to traffic safety and education."


In November, the sheriff's office will attend the state version of the Law Enforcement Challenge, the "Governor's Challenge," being held in Macon.



U.S. Traffic Fatalities Soar 13.5 Percent in First Quarter of 2012


By Jim Barnett, CNN


An estimated 7,630 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first quarter this year.

  • "It's too soon to speculate on the contributing factors" for the increase, the NHTSA says
  • The warmer weather in the first part of the year is cited by some officials
  • AAA official: "There is more work to be done to improve driver safety"

Washington (CNN) -- Despite efforts to build cars to better withstand accidents and reduce threats posed by distracted driving, traffic fatalities for the first three months of 2012 have shown a "significant increase" compared with government statistics from a year earlier.


An estimated 7,630 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes for the first quarter this year, a 13.5% increase compared with the same period in 2011, when there were 6,720 fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Texas pickup wreck kills 14


An NHTSA spokesman said, "It's too soon to speculate on the contributing factors or potential implications of any increase in deaths on our roadways." The increase follows a downward trend for the past several years.


Transportation safety officials point out the crash fatality rate for the first quarter each year is traditionally significantly lower than the rates for the other three quarters, in part because of the effects of winter weather. However, the winter of 2012 was unseasonably warm and people tend to drive more when the weather is better.


"While it is likely not the only factor involved, AAA agrees that warmer-than-average winter weather may have contributed to higher vehicle miles traveled, and ultimately more fatal crashes," said Jacob Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research with the Automobile Association of America. "These data show there is more work to be done to improve driver safety such as limiting distractions, reducing impaired driving and promoting a culture of safety among motorists."


Data provided by the NHTSA indicates that if the current estimates hold, the first quarter numbers would represent the second largest year-to-year quarterly increase in traffic fatalities since the government began recording them in 1975.


Traffic fatalities in the United States peaked in 1972, with 54,589 killed, according to the Department of Transportation. But since then, there has been stricter enforcement of driving laws and programs to change driving behavior that have helped improve roadway safety.


Cuban dissident dies in car crash


Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration shows vehicle miles traveled in the first three months of 2012 increased by about 9.7 billion miles, 1.4% more than 2011.


"After reaching a 60-year low last year, it is disappointing for AAA to see driver fatalities rise," Nelson said in a written statement. "Examination of federal data show that traffic crashes occur more frequently as the number of miles traveled increases."


First-quarter fatalities had been falling since 2006, when there were 9,558 in January through March.

The data on crash fatalities is compiled with information from police accident reports and other sources.


Secretary of State Encourages Safe Bicycling


While groups in Galesburg are looking to make the city more friendly to bicycles and bicyclists, the Illinois Secretary State is urging all bikers, like their counterparts, to follow the rules of the road.


Secretary of State Jesse White's office has a publication available called "Bicycle Rules of the Road" that details the safety measures and traffic regulations pertaining to bicyclists.


White says as far as he's concerned, the measures just make common sense, especially for younger bicycle riders.


"According to the [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration]...more than one in five bicycle deaths occur among school children ranging in age from five to fifteen," White said.


What's more, White says bicycle helmets have proven to reduce the risk of head and brain injuries by an estimated 85 to 88 percent.


He says that's in addition to having things like a front headlight, a horn or bell that can be heard for at least 100 feet, properly adjusted brakes, and side reflectors.


The "Bicycle Rules of the Road" document is available by CLICKING HERE (PDF document). 


Pedestrian Deaths Rise Nationally and in Minnesota - and Drivers Mostly to Blame 


By Susan Perry


2010 showed a 13 percent decrease in pedestrian traffic deaths from 2001, but it's also a 4 percent increase over 2009 - the first such increase in five years.


After almost 10 straight years of decline, the percentage of pedestrians being killed in traffic accidents in the United States is on the rise, both nationally and in Minnesota.


It's a trend that has traffic safety experts concerned.


"Other traffic deaths are fortunately going down at a fairly decent rate," said Gordy Pehrson, traffic safety coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, in a phone interview Thursday. "But we're not seeing the same thing with pedestrians."


According to a report [PDF] issued this week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,280 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured in U.S. traffic accidents in 2010. Although that's a 13 percent decrease from 2001, it's also a 4 percent increase over 2009 - the first such increase in five years.


A similar trend has occurred here in Minnesota. After dipping to 25 in 2008, the number of pedestrian deaths in the state jumped to 41, 36 and 40 in 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively.


Nationally, pedestrian deaths accounted for 13 percent of 32,885 traffic fatalities in 2010. Here in Minnesota, they accounted for almost 11 percent of the 368 traffic-related deaths in 2011. (The official NHTSA statistics are a year behind.)


Distracted drivers

Both drivers and pedestrians bear the blame for these accidents, but mostly drivers.


The leading cause of Minnesota's pedestrian deaths in 2011 - the prime factor involved in 35 percent of the accidents - was the failure of a driver to yield the right of way. Another 24 percent of the accidents were caused by driver inattention or distraction.


In fact, 15 percent of Minnesota pedestrians injured in traffic accidents in 2011 were crossing the road correctly with the light at a signaled intersection.


The NHTSA report is silent on the issue of the causes of pedestrian deaths, although elsewhere the agency has noted that distracted drivers were a factor in 18 percent of all traffic crashes that incurred injuries in 2010.


And yes, texting and talking on a cellphone have now joined eating, grooming, reading maps, adjusting the radio and talking with passengers as the leading causes of driver distraction.


Impaired pedestrians

But pedestrians, too, appear to be more distracted than in the past. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 1,152 individuals were treated in U.S. hospitals for injuries incurred while walking and using a cellphone or other electronic device in 2010 - a number that experts believe is highly underreported. (Who wants to admit in the hospital emergency room that they injured themselves because they were talking on the phone and not paying attention to their surroundings?)

Still, the more important pedestrian-related factor in pedestrian deaths  - the one cited by Pehrson and the NHTSA report - is alcohol. Nationally, 33 percent of the pedestrians killed in 2010 had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or higher, the legal definition of drunk in Minnesota.

In Minnesota, 27 percent of the 33 pedestrians who were tested for the presence of alcohol after their traffic-related deaths in 2011 had blood alcohol concentrations of .10 or higher. Some 44 percent of these drunk pedestrians were aged 20 to 24, and another 40 percent were aged 55 to 69. Furthermore, two out of three of all of these drunk pedestrians were killed between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.


"Impairment is definitely an issue," stressed Pehrson.


Another issue is jaywalking. Some 24 percent of Minnesota's pedestrian deaths in 2011 occurred when the pedestrians were trying to cross a street at an area where there was no crosswalk and/or no light signal.


A lack of personal responsibility

Both motorists and pedestrians "need to understand the laws and the rules - and pay attention," but the bigger onus is on drivers, said Pehrson.


"When a pedestrian is crossing at a corner, whether that crosswalk has markings or not, the pedestrian has the right of way and the driver must stop," he said. "But that doesn't mean that if there's a jaywalker, you have permission to hit them."


"There's a lack of personal responsibility," Pehrson added. "Drivers, generally speaking, probably know that they should stop, but they keep driving because they're in a hurry."


Or distracted. Or both.


Slow down. Pay attention. Stay sober. Know and obey the laws. We've heard those simple rules of the road many times before, but the statistics indicate we are increasingly not following them.


Law Enforcement Nationwide Cracking Down on Drunk Driving 


UNDATED (CNN) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration releases some stunning new numbers on drunk driving deaths. Alcohol related deaths accounted for 1 out of 3 fatalities on the road in 2010.


If you are getting ready to hit the road, be prepared to drive through barricades. Ten-thousand law enforcement agencies across the country are ramping up drunk driving enforcement through Labor Day weekend.


A new report shows drunk driving deaths dropped slightly from 2009-2010 by about five percent. But the drivers that are drinking are increasingly intoxicated. NHTSA administrator David Strickland says, "New agency statistics released today show that 70 percent of deaths in drunk driving crashes in 2010 involved drivers with a blood alcohol level that was nearly twice the legal limit."


The data was drawn from 2010. Here are some other facts NHTSA found: 20 to 24-year-olds are most likely to be involved in drunk driving deaths.


There was one drunk driving death every 51 minutes that year. Folks caught for one DWI are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.


So over the next few weeks, the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign takes aim at these even drunk drivers hoping to get them off the road for good. Police Chief Thomas Manger in Montgomery County, Maryland says, "When you witness, day after day, the damage done to people's lives, you quickly develop a zero tolerance for drunk driving."


So enjoy the summer, just say sober or stay off the roads.


USLIMITS2 Helps Practitioners Set Appropriate Speed Limits


Speeding is a major factor in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions contributes to over 30 percent of all traffic crash fatalities. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Safety is committed to reducing speeding-related fatalities and serious injuries. As part of the efforts to assist States and locals to reduce speeding related crashes, FHWA has recently released USLIMITS2, a web based tool designed to help practitioners set credible and consistent speed limits for specific segments of roads.


USLIMITS2 is applicable to all types of roads ranging from rural local roads and residential streets to urban freeways. The original USLIMITS was developed under a National Cooperative Highway Research Project in 2006. FHWA recently adopted the program with enhancements and made it available with user/customer support on the FHWA server at


User-friendly, logical, and objective, USLIMITS2 is of particular benefit to local communities and agencies without ready access to engineers experienced in conducting speed studies for setting appropriate speed limits. For experienced engineers, USLIMITS2 can provide an objective second opinion and increase confidence in speed limit setting decisions.


Users input factors including route type, section length, annual average daily traffic, 50th and 85thpercentile speeds, statutory speed limit, and crash history, among others. They receive a recommended speed limit and a list of issues that might need to be further investigated. Users can save their project file and/or create Word and Excel versions of their reports.


Access the USLIMITS2 tool at:


Read the original study report at:


To access other speed management tools and resources developed by the FHWA Office of Safety, or for more information on FHWA's speed management program, visit or contact Guan Xu (, 202-366-5892).