Think before you Drive!

Picture Source: http://baristanet.com/2014/12/drive-sober-get-pulled-campaign-crackdown-begins-today/

Summertime is a time where many people gather to enjoy their free time with friends and family. These can also be some of the most deadly times on the roads due to impaired driving. One of the deadliest and most often committed crimes is #drunkdriving. It is a serious safety epidemic in our country and across the world.

During the summer a nationwide campaign composed of thousands of traffic safety partner all join together to protect the public. The 2016 national drunk driving enforcement “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” goes into effect from August 17 to September 5, 2016. Prevention and arrest are the goals of this campaign. Drivers must perceive that the risk of being caught is too high before their behavior will change.

If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement right away. Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost them their life. By increasing law enforcement efforts, raising the publics awareness, and maximizing your local resources, can make a huge difference to save more lives on roadways.

Here are 5 tips to remember for the next time you gather with friends and family and before you go out on the road:
  1. Be responsible. If you know that someone is drinking, do not let that person get into a car and drive away.
  2. Have a designated driver. A good way to figure this out is to decide who’s going to be doing the driving before you go out. Also make sure that person doesn’t drink any alcoholic beverages.
  3. Call a taxi or Uber as a back up. Sometimes you cannot rely on all designated drivers.
  4. Take keys. You shouldn’t be afraid to take someone’s car keys if you know that they have been drinking and that you are going to save their life.
  5. If you know that you have had too much to drink, stay put and sober up.

Learning A Lesson the Hard Way

Almost everyone has been told – never text and walk – especially me. And sadly, most people don’t listen to these warnings – also me.

I’m here to tell you my story of texting and walking.

Like most kids, I play a sport. My sport is swimming. I swim five days a week so you can often find me on my way to swim practice or at swim practice.  On this particular day, I was leaving for practice and was talking to my friend, via text. I swung my bag over my shoulder and started to walk outside, still texting my friend.

As I walked down the steps, still texting and not looking where I was walking, I missed a step and twisted my foot. It hurt, badly but I continued to practice. When I got into my bathing suit and looked at my ankle,  it was red. When I got in the pool and started swimming, my ankle exploded with pain. I had to get out and ice it for the entire practice.  This was not good.kmm

The next day, with the pain still there,  I had to miss school.  I was upset – not about missing school, but the fact that in just three days I was to compete in my swim silver bronze championships.  I train all year round.  I wasn’t going to miss this.

Being the person I am, I swam in the swim meet, but didn’t do as well as I normally do.  All this pain because of one silly mistake I made. If I had put my phone down for just two seconds, I would’ve never slipped and got hurt.

You may say – you could’ve just slipped or it’s just one incident. But it truly isn’t. People all over the world are texting and walking and getting hurt much worse than a twisted ankle, and facing much worse consequences than missing school or doing poorly at a swim meet.

So put the phone down for one minute. It could save your life.

 

Guest post: IRF on #takeyourchildtoworkday2016

Halloween Pedestrian and Driver Safety Tips

halloween safety tips The ghosts, monsters and other creatures walking the streets on Oct. 31 aren’t the most frightful thing about Halloween. Here’s a scary fact: Halloween is the most dangerous night of the year for children walking on roadways across the country.

Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other night of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children are four times more likely to be hit by a vehicle on Halloween. That makes following safe pedestrian and driver practices all the more important as children set out to trick or treat this year.

The Street Smart NJ campaign wants to make sure that costumes are the only thing causing a scare this year. Be sure to follow these tips to make your Halloween happy and safe.

For Pedestrians

• Make sure costumes don’t impair your child’s ability to walk or see. KidsHealth.org warns against wearing masks that can limit visibility.

• Before crossing look left, right, and then left again.

• Use sidewalks. When there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.

• Be visible. The Safe Kids Worldwide campaign suggests adding reflective tape to costumes or having children carry a light or glow stick. A survey by the group found that only 18 percent of parents have their children use safety lighting on Halloween.

• Cross at corners and intersections and use marked crosswalks when possible.

For Drivers

• Obey the speed limit. AAA suggests driving 5 mph below the posted speed limit on Halloween.

• Stop for pedestrians. New Jersey law requires motorists to stop for pedestrians in cross-walks. Violations of the law carry a $200 fine and two points on your license.

• Don’t drive distracted. New Jersey prohibits talking and texting while driving. Fines range from $200 for first-time offenders to as much as $800 for repeat offenders.

• Drive sober. On Halloween Night between 2009 and 2013, 119 people were killed by drunk driving, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration.

Want more suggestions on how to stay safe? Check out our Street Smart Safety Tips page.

This post was written and created by Street Smart NJ Pedestrian Safety Campaign in conjunction with NJTPA.

 

Before and After: KMM’s Field Work Yields Results

Often, things don’t happen quickly in the field of transportation demand management.  Projects can take years to go from conception to design to implementation.  So, I was a little self-satisfied when I saw the new blinking yellow traffic signal and Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk signs on New Brunswick’s Paterson Street near Robert Wood Johnson (RWH) Medical Center.

My colleague drives the route everyday and noticed that the crosswalk traffic light was always green, indicating drivers had the right of way.  Yet, pedestrians would cross the street boldly in front of oncoming cars.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” she exclaimed.

Late last year, I investigated.  My field observations confirmed her concerns.  The light remained green because pedestrians didn’t push the button for the pedestrian crossing signal.  They didn’t use the button because it took 30 seconds for the light to change.DSC00857

Sometimes the motorist would stop; sometimes not.  Sometimes a pedestrian would look left-right-left, sometimes the pedestrian would step into the street without a glance.  Lacking clear directions, pedestrians and motorists had established an uneasy truce.

My report contained a number of recommendations to improve the conditions.  It was presented to various stakeholders.  I thought it might end up on the shelf like other reports.  But, I was wrong.

Recently, my colleague urged me to return to Paterson Street.  I was happily surprised to see that the red and green phases of the traffic light have been replaced with a flashing yellow light.  Two pedestrian crossing signs have been placed in the roadway.  These economical, simple, quick fixes have reduced confusion and created a safer environment in which pedestrians and motorists can co-exist.

I congratulate the stakeholders who made this happen.DSC01005