An event at the Governor’s Residence highlights school bus safety issues and recognizes winners of the state’s poster contest and safety competition.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood responded on Tuesday to what he claims is a "misleading" report released by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), which questions the effectiveness of anti-texting while driving laws with respect to improving traffic safety.
LaHood said that today’s HLDI-IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) report fails to reconcile with previous research supported by HLDI-IIHS showing that drivers are four times as likely to crash if using a hand-held device while driving. The research also fails to square with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) research which shows deadly distracted driving behavior on the decline in cities where laws are coupled with tough enforcement, according to LaHood.
“This report is completely misleading,” he said. “Distracted driving-related crashes killed nearly 5,500 people in 2009 and injured almost half a million more. Lives are at stake, and all the reputable research we have says that tough laws, good enforcement and increased public awareness will help put a stop to the deadly epidemic of distracted driving on our roads.”
In April, the DOT launched pilot enforcement campaigns in Hartford, Conn., and Syracuse, N.Y., to test whether increased law enforcement efforts, combined with public service announcements could get distracted drivers to put down their cell phones behind the wheel. Dubbed “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other,” these pilot campaigns have since shown that police enforcement of anti-distracted driving laws can drastically reduce distracted driving behavior.
To date, police in Hartford have written approximately 4,128 tickets and Syracuse police have issued 4,446 tickets for violations involving drivers talking or texting on cell phones.
“Tough laws are the first step and enforcement must be next,” LaHood said. “We know that anti-distracted driving laws can be enforced effectively because two DOT pilot enforcement programs in Hartford and Syracuse prove it. In the last six months alone, hand-held cell phone use has dropped 56 percent in Hartford and 38 percent in Syracuse, and texting while driving has declined 68 percent in Hartford and 42 percent in Syracuse.”
According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving-related fatalities jumped from 10 to 16 percent of all traffic fatalities between 2005 and 2008. In 2009, for the first time in four years, distracted driving fatalities stopped rising, remaining at 16 percent of overall fatalities. The leveling off in distracted driving-related deaths coincided with the DOT’s national anti-distracted driving campaign and numerous other public awareness efforts, as well as an increasing number of state anti-distracted driving laws.
Today, traffic fatalities are the lowest on record, with 33,808 in 2009. Yesterday, NHTSA released a report showing that in the first half of 2010, that downward trend of traffic fatalities plummeted another 9.2 percent, to 14,996 deaths between January and June.
In addition to launching the DOT’s national anti-distracted driving effort, LaHood has redoubled efforts to crack down on drunk driving and develop advanced alcohol detection technology through Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety; increase seat belt use, which has risen to 85 percent with the help of the Click it, Or Ticket campaign; and promote the proper use of child safety seats, among other safety initiatives.
“When it comes to safety, I will take a backseat to no one,” LaHood said. “I am going to continue working to put an end to the deadly epidemic of distracted driving, in addition to tackling the other safety challenges we face on our nation’s roads.”
To learn more about the DOT’s efforts to stop distracted driving, visit www.distraction.gov.
The initial rollout will showcase companies in such areas as attendance, camera technology, GPS, fleet maintenance, and parent portal.
The New York School Bus Contractors Association holds a variety of school bus safety events throughout the state and renews its call for stiffer penalties for drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.
NAPT and SBF are researching issues related to school bus driver shortage. Transportation directors and hiring managers are asked to complete a survey on the subject. The deadline is Monday.
Tod Eskra takes the reins of the school bus fleet management services firm, which is a member of the TransPar Group of Companies.
This powerful PSA tells the heartbreaking story of 12-year-old Adam Kempf, who was fatally struck by a van while crossing the street to board his school bus in 2012.
During School Bus Safety Week, state troopers are riding on or following school buses to catch motorists who illegally pass them.
A 15-year-old in Pennsylvania said he was hit with a metal rod while waiting for his bus. Authorities say his fabricated story brought in more than $4,000 in donations on GoFundMe.
The new edition of National School Transportation Specifications and Procedures incorporates updates that were adopted at the 2015 industry congress.
Appreciation efforts for Cobb County’s more than 1,000 drivers include a poetry contest, thank-you cards, and breakfasts and lunches.
Emporia (Kan.) Public Schools’ video for National School Bus Safety Week informs the public about safety procedures, including pre-trip inspections, warning lights and stop arms, and student loading and unloading.
Durham School Services has created “Rollin’ With Safety,” which gives students and parents school bus safety tips.
Jefferson County (Ky.) Public Schools cancels some school bus routes three days in a row. The bus drivers’ union says that the district is 50 to 70 drivers short.
Among other PACCAR Parts and Peterbilt Motors Co. awards presented in Orlando, Florida, The Peterbilt Store receives the TRP Bus Segment Dealer of the Year Award.
School districts in Georgia and other states have adopted the "Safe, Orderly, and Respectful" concept for teaching students about school bus safety.