Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Enhancing the Traffic Safety Culture – Towards Zero Deaths

When the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety adopted “safety culture” as one of its strategic focus areas in 2007, a major short-term goal was to increase the national, state and local discourse on the subject. Three years later I am delighted with the progress we’ve made. Safety culture has been added to the agenda of numerous conferences and meetings.

Most recently, I attended the Toward Zero Death (TZD) workshop in Washington, D.C. that is part of the effort to develop the first ever National Strategic Highway Safety Plan. A Traffic Safety Culture white paper was prepared prior to the event, the topic was included in the plenary and break-out discussions, and recognized in the draft outline of the Plan. More and more individuals are recognizing the need to enhance our culture in order to achieve the kinds of long-term reductions we in the traffic safety community seek. Click here to read more about the Towards Zero Death strategy.

The continued success of our second National Summit for Rural Traffic Safety Culture brought a cross section of the transportation community together to discuss and further understand the issue, while also seeking ideas for enhancing the situation.

From the beginning, and while recognizing that “there is no silver bullet” and that this will be a long-term process, I have recognized that a key step is to get more and more individuals engaged in the movement, starting with but not limited to the traffic safety community. To that end, if you aren’t familiar with our original research compendium, “Improving Traffic Safety Culture in the United States – The Journey Forward”, I recommend you check it out. A summary and synthesis is also available for this report.

Also, in addition to using this blog to keep you informed of Foundation activities, reports and other traffic safety news, we will be inviting guest bloggers to share their perspectives. Most importantly, we hope that you will get engaged, join the journey and let us know your ideas.

Remember, one death on our nation’s roadways is unacceptable; one death every fifteen minutes is an outrage!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Drunk Driving Still A Threat On Our Highways….

Four out of five people consider drinking while driving a very serious threat to their safety, according to a 2008 survey by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, the Foundation’s own 2009 Index found that 90% of people rated drunk driving to be a serious threat to safety. Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t always translate their knowledge into action. As mentioned in USA Today, a government study released yesterday found that one in twelve drivers admit driving drunk at least once over the course of a year and one in five drivers admit driving within two hours after having an alcoholic beverage. This “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” attitude demonstrates that despite the progress made in stigmatizing drunk driving, it remains a serious issue on our highways. The ultimate challenge for us on this – and other issues like texting while driving – is to change the societal attitude so that knowledge is translated to smarter behavior on the road.

Monday, August 2, 2010

National Two-Second Turnoff Challenge

A recent survey conducted by Seventeen Magazine and AAA found that 9 out of 10 teens engage in distracting behaviors like texting or talking on a cell phone despite recognizing it increases the risk of being in an accident. In response to these findings, the Department of Transportation, Seventeen and AAA national issued a viral challenge to teens across the country. The challenge calls for teens to create a 90-second video to illustrate why it’s important to avoid distractions while driving. The winner of the challenge will have their video shown during the upcoming DOT summit on distracted driving and a $2,000 prize. Seventeen has also declared National Two-Second Turnoff Day to be September 17th. AAA Foundation research has found that taking your eyes off the road for just two-seconds doubles your risk of being in an accident which is the same amount of time it takes to turn off your phone! I fully support these efforts and encourage ALL drivers to turn off the phone and focus on the task at hand - driving safely.