Beginning on October 10, designated as Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day, Titusville Fire and Emergency Services Department is joining other public safety agencies in their efforts to reduce traffic facilities. "Our department alone responded to over 300 vehicle accidents in 2005" reported Life Safety Specialist Reggie Belle, citing that most often these were preventable accidents. "We hope that our community members will join us in making a special commitment to reduce fatalities and become involved by changing their driving habits and encouraging others to do the same."
- Highway crashes are the leading cause of death of people four to 34 years of age.
- Approximately 13,000 people are killed annually in traffic crashes involving collisions with a fixed object such as a tree, guardrail, utility pole, curb, or light or support pole.
- In 2003, 42,643 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes; the number of persons injured was 2.89 million
- In 2003, speeding was a contributing factor in 31 percent of fatal crashes--with 13,380 lives lost in such crashes. Besides the tragic loss of human life, the economic cost of speeding-related crashes in the U.S. is estimated to be $40.4 billion per year.
- Drunk driving continues to be a serious problem. Alcohol was involved in an estimated 446,000 crashes in 2003, killing 17,013 people and injuring an estimated 275,000 others.
- Teen-agers have the highest death rate in motor-vehicle crashes of any age group. Although driving inexperience and engagement in high-risk behavior play a role in this, another major contributing factor for the high teen death rate is failure to use seat belts to a greater degree than other drivers.
- Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for 16-to-20-year-olds in the U.S. and in 2003, 5,240 16-to-20-year-olds were killed in passenger vehicles. Two-thirds of those who died weren't buckled up.
- Exceeding the posted speed limits or driving too fast for conditions is a factor in one third of ALL fatal crashes! In 2003, 13,380 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.
- Only 13 percent of all speeding related fatalities occur on Interstates. Lower speed roads--collectors and locals--account for almost half of all speed-related fatalities.
- Male drivers and in particular young male drivers account for a large percentage of the fatal crashes involving speeding.
- The severity of the crash roughly doubles for every 10 mi/h change in impact speed.
WHAT 'YOU' CAN DO TO REDUCE CRASH FATALITIES AND INJURIES
As drivers and pedestrians, we all want to reach our destinations safely. Here are some tips from the US DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration campaign, "Share the Road Safely" on doing exactly that.
- Cutting in front can cut your life short! Avoid cutting in front of other vehicles as you may create an emergency braking situation for others around you, especially in heavy traffic.
- Buckle your seat belt! ALWAYS!
- Watch your blind spots and the "No Zones" around trucks and buses.
- Inattentive drivers. While driving, please focus only on the road. If you need to attend to another matter while driving (cell phones, kids, application of cosmetics, etc.) safely pull over in a parking lot or rest stop.
- Avoid aggressive drivers and driving aggressively. Speeding, running red lights and stop signs, making frequent lane changes and tailgating can create dangerous and potentially fatal situations on the road.
- Avoid squeeze play. Be careful of trucks and buses making wide right turns. If you try to get in between the truck and the curb, you could be caught in a squeeze and suffer a serious accident.
- Never drink and drive!
- Watch the "No-Zones". Never hang out in a truck's blind spot or "No-Zone".
- Always wear a helmet!
- Drive to survive! Motorcycles are the smallest vehicles on the road and offer no protection in a crash. Be cautious, pay attention to the signals and brakes of other vehicles, especially trucks!
- Check yourself and your bike. Conduct a safety inspection of your motorcycle before each ride and be sure to wear the proper protective gear.
- Watch your speed!
Truck and Bus Drivers
- Take care of yourself! The most important part of a moving truck or bus is the driver. Get plenty of rest before getting behind the wheel, eat well and stay fit!
- Always maintain your vehicle
- Be aware of your "No-Zone"! The "No-Zone" represents the danger areas, or blind spots, around trucks and buses where crashes are more likely to occur. Be vigilant in watching out for vehicles in the "No-Zone".
- Slow down in work zones!
- Always keep your distance - leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- Fasten your seatbelt. Buckle up for safety and control.
- Always drive defensively and AVOID aggressive drivers!
- Work to help yourselves. Help stranded motorists, notify traffic safety agencies of crashes, unsafe road conditions and other situations that can lead to crashes.
- Watch your walkways. Walk on sidewalks and in crosswalks whenever possible. Pay attention to walk signals and keep a safe distance when standing on corners.
- Know your "No Zones". Be aware of blind spots around trucks, buses and cars when walking near and around them.
- Stopping Distances. Use caution when crossing intersections and streets. You may think vehicles will stop for you, but they may not see you or even be able to stop. Never take a chance with a truck, even if the driver sees you, they may not be able to stop. Truck brakes and gears are notorious for sticking.
- Make Yourself Visible. Wear bright or reflective clothing.
- Watch our for wide loads. Trucks with wide loads may have very limited visibility as well as difficulty maneuvering.
- Wear your helmet!
- Bikers Beware. Always be aware of the traffic around you. Never assume that all drivers see you. Ride defensively.
- Check your brakes and be prepared to stop.
- Ride with traffic. Ride on the right side, with the flow of traffic.
- Beware of the "No-Zone". Never sneak in between a truck or bus and the curb, or you could get crushed. Be aware that large trucks have blind spots in the front, back and on the sides, which make it difficult for the driver to see around them.