Monday, September 19, 2011

Safe Habits Start Early - National Child Passenger Safety Week


National Child Passenger Safety Week, September 18-24, 2011 provides the opportunity to remind and reinforce safe driving and travelling behaviors. Research by the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that when used effectively, child passenger safety seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants (children younger than 1 year old) and by 54 percent for toddlers (children between 1 and 4 years old). Although everyone should buckle up every time they travel in a vehicle, parents and caregivers have a special responsibility to ensure that children are properly secured and protected during travel. That’s why it’s critical that parents with children under the age of 14 get the facts on the child passenger restraint laws that exist in their state and the penalties for not following those rules.

An important part of ensuring a child’s safety is selecting the proper car seat. Seats should be chosen based on a child’s age, height and weight and it always should be placed in the back seat of a vehicle. As a precaution, car seats also can be registered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration so you will receive notifications on defects and recalls.

Car seats are essential safety devices and require proper installation. Be sure yours is correctly installed by getting it inspected by a certified technician at any of the participating locations on Saturday, September 24 during National Seat Check Saturday.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pedestrian Safety is Important to Everyone – Just Ask Reese Witherspoon

Heading out for a morning jog may be more than just a lap around the neighborhood.  Ask Reese Witherspoon who was hit by a car and ended up taking a trip to the hospital instead of completing her run. This incident is important to two reasons. First it is a reminder for many of us that we share the roads with cars, bikes, and joggers. And second, it draws our attention to senior mobility and driving because the driver of the car that hit Witherspoon was 84-years-old.
Sharing the road is the responsibility of everyone – the driver, jogger, cyclists and others. Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind as you head out:

  • SHARE THE ROAD – be aware that drivers are not the only road users. Watch out for walkers, joggers, bicyclists and motorcycles.
  • OBEY TRAFFIC PATTERNS – know the rules of the road and obey them.
  • BE VISIBLE – whether you are a SUV or a jogger make yourself visible to others.

Seniors already make up a large portion of the driving public, and this demographic is continuing to grow. Did you know that by 2025, people aged 65 and older will account for 25 percent of U.S. drivers?  As America ages,  we need to address the challenges of keeping motorists driving for as long as safely possible and ensuring adequate mobility for those that can no longer drive.  That’s why Roadwise Review and Posit Science’s DriveSharp program are such great resources.

The AAA Foundation does not believe that anybody should have their car keys taken away simply because they reach a certain age. Instead, states should have a fair and comprehensive system to screen all drivers applying for new or renewed licenses to ensure they are medically and functionally fit to drive through procedures, such as eye exams and in-person renewal. 

If you are facing the decision with a loved one about when to stop driving, visit www.seniordriving.aaa.com for helpful information about how to deal with the very personal and often difficult challenges related to senior driving.